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Develop a New Skills Selection Process: Talent Acquisition for Remote Employees

Posted by Jessica Miller-Merrell

talent aquisition

The remote work trend shows no sign of abating and for good reason: study after study shows us that a remote workforce decrease costs and increases productivity. According to Flexjobs.com, remote work grew 115 percent among U.S. employees during the past 10 years.

As a result, HR professionals everywhere are having to adjust our approach talent acquisition. Hiring a remote team is quite a bit different. We’re having to solve for different skill sets over and above what the typical role requirements are. Plus we have to factor in the reality that the employee isn’t going to be shoulder to shoulder with their boss on a daily basis.

Six Skills Remote Workers Need to Have 

Here are six skill competencies remote job applicant should definitely have:

  • Self-discipline: This is relatively self-explanatory. Remote workers have to be able to function on their own. That means being organized, deadline-driven and accountable even when your team isn’t around you to make it happen.
  • Communication: No matter where your remote worker is out in the world, they have to be able to check in and communicate with the mothership (aka their boss.) Being clear about goals, progress, projects and the like is essential to a well-functioning remote team.
  • Adaptability: Change and ambiguity are part of a remote role. Someone who requires a rigid structure will likely find the fluidity both daunting and discouraging. An effective remote worker is someone who enjoys and embraces flexibility.
  • Results-oriented: Not having a manager or leader on-site is widely-regarded as one of the bonuses of remote work. That means an employee has to be laser-focused on results so that, regardless of location, their value is evident.
  • Tech-savvy: Not being three floors away from an IT team means that any technical snafu wastes valuable productive time. If the applicant isn’t capable of solving minor to medium tech issues, they may not be a good fit.
  • Collaboration skills: Collaboration can be daunting enough when you’re in an office but adding miles between team members makes it even trickier. You’ll want to make sure any applicant is highly collaborative—as in, they seek collaboration, not just tolerate it.

After you’ve made the adjustment to your candidate requirements, it’s time to think about your talent acquisition strategy. For any remote role, you may get 500-1500 applicants. Out of that number, 80% won’t be a fit right off the bat.

How to Attract Remote Job Seekers to Your Openings 

First, create a killer job description. An excellent remote job description has all the qualities of an in-house role plus specifications around the amount of flexibility, hours, company policies, travel, schedule requirements, etc. Is this remote-friendly or remote-first? Is there an on-call element? Does your applicant need to be in the US? Be clear now to avoid confusion later.

Second, a pre-assessment is a must. Given that the employee won’t have the benefit of being coached in-person, it’s critical to test for hard skills. Additionally, make sure they’re capable of operating effectively from afar. That’s why eSkill has over 600 standard tests, 5,000 combinable topics or the option to create your own content. If it’s your first time building a skills assessment, our Assessment Experts will help you through every step.

In addition to weeding out those individuals who aren’t a good fit, this process also bubbles up your best candidates. Here’s where you really test their remote skills—things like responsiveness, organization, and communication. You can do this using a small project or a submission of some sort. It’s also helpful if they’ve worked remotely before. SHRM has some fantastic examples of interview questions to integrate into this process.

In a world where a huge percentage of people *think* they want to work remotely, your talent acquisition process has to be deliberate and your job description well-defined. The best way to ensure you’re consistently offering up the best talent pool is to ensure you’re finding candidates that are technical fit and a remote culture fit.

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About Jessica Miller-Merrell


Jessica is listed as the 2nd most influential recruiter online and as the 8th most powerful woman on Twitter. She is the author of Tweet This! Twitter for Business, a how-to business guide for Twitter users. She also writes for a number of leading publications, including Fortune, HR Magazine, SmartBrief, and HR Executive Magazine.