Federal data continues to show near-record numbers of job openings across the country. In April 2022, 33.4% of business owners were still struggling to hire paid employees, according to the most recent Small Business Pulse Survey from the US Census Bureau.
If your company has an open seat for working from home — or could be — a remote worker can help fill it. But before that happens, you’ll need to manage more than basic barriers, like equipment or cybersecurity. Here’s what you need to know to hire a remote employee.
1. Understand logistics
If you hire an employee in a new state from where your small business currently operates, you will be subject to that state’s employment laws and payroll taxes. You will also need workers’ compensation insurance in each state where you have employees.
The larger your team grows, the more you may need to hire an HR staff member, consultant, or vendor, eating into your budget for new roles.
“If you want to keep it simple, stay in your state,” says Megan Dilley, director of communications at Distribute, a remote work consultancy.
You can also turn to a freelancer-for-hire service like Fiverr or Upwork to simplify the hiring process.
Tessa Gomes, a Hawaii-based wedding planner, hired a team of five contractors through Upwork earlier this year.
“It makes so much more sense than trying to do it individually,” Gomes says. “It’s like [my] the pool of human resources has just increased tenfold.
2. Define your business and role
When writing your job description, make sure it includes details about your remote work environment.
” The definitions [of ‘remote’] are all pretty blurry,” Dilley says. “So as much as you can, be very clear and transparent from the start.”
For example, if you expect employees to clock in at 9 a.m. EST every day, come into the office twice a week, or travel for a quarterly meeting, state that. on the list of positions.
Also improve your business website and social media profiles. Consider adding information about your employees and work environment.
Every company needs to make sure their online presence explains “who they are, their brand, what their culture is like, how they treat their people, DEI,” says Victoria Neal, HR knowledge advisor at the Society for Human Resource Management .
You can list jobs on LinkedIn and other job boards, but Neal recommends trying to share jobs via social media or email among followers. your work already.
“A lot of employers really use their current user bases” to find new hires, she says.
3. Rethink your interview process
Since interviewers may no longer see candidates in person, you’ll need to brief them on new things.
“Virtual recruiting and virtual interviewing can eliminate some biases,” says Allan Platt, CEO of business consulting firm Clareo. But he adds that they can introduce a whole new set of assumptions, for example about candidates’ internet connection and home office setup.
To help with that, Platt says his company’s interviews are highly structured and candidates are assessed on consistent matrices.
“How we structure and organize our interviews when we conduct remote interviews is really important,” says Platt. “Candidates evaluate us as much as we evaluate them. They’re looking for any clues they can get.
You can also change the structure of your interview. For example, remote workers must be excellent communicators who can meet deadlines. Asking behavioral interview questions and assigning work examples can help you find candidates who demonstrate these skills.
4. Prepare for the first day
Before your new hire joins the team, make sure your workplace is running smoothly asynchronously. Online tools for remote work like Slack can help employees help each other out, so a new hire’s manager doesn’t have to answer every question, especially if their working hours don’t match. .
From day one, you can help your new hires feel welcome and fully prepared by planning an onboarding program. If you don’t already have documentation for common processes, try creating it before your new hire begins.
Schedule frequent meetings with your new employee at the start. As these meetings dwindle, Dilley encourages over-communication as the norm.
Also spend some time reflecting on your own state of mind. If you’re used to having constant contact with a new employee, especially in their first few weeks, be prepared to give up some control.
With remote work, “trust is assumed, not earned,” Dilley says, “which is a little different than what people were talking about before.”