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What is Remote Recruiting & How to Recruit Remote Employees

remote recruiting

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In survey results published by Stanford News, 42% of the U.S. labor force is now working from home full-time. This has increasingly led companies to embrace remote recruiting and remote work, along with benefits that include higher rates of employee retention, increased productivity, and lower costs. Such are the advantages of remote work, a survey by law firm Seyfarth found that 67% of employers have requested their onsite employees to work from home during the COVID-19 crisis.

Key Takeaways

1. According to a study conducted by LinkedIn, 81% of talent professionals agree virtual recruiting will continue post-COVID

2. Businesses should start the remote recruiting process by determining your recruiting budget (job boards, candidate assessments, external recruitment costs, social media sponsored posts, etc.)

3. It is important to look at  employer branding: Just like any company evaluates prospective hires, employees will evaluate a company before applying for a position

4. What does your ideal candidate look like? What education, technical certifications, job-specific training, and prior work experience should a candidate possess?

5. Utilize remote hiring technology to your advantage —both before and during the interview process. 

According to data published by McKinsey, “quarantines, lockdowns, and self-imposed isolation have pushed tens of millions around the world to work from home, accelerating a workplace experiment that had struggled to gain traction before COVID-19 hit.”

Despite the challenges posed by COVID-19, recruitment remains an ongoing necessity for all companies. To build their global teams and stay competitive, companies have had to adapt their recruiting, hiring, and onboarding processes. And just as companies have shifted their operations remotely, recruitment methods have subsequently evolved to accommodate these changes.

Due to enforced social distancing —and more professionals seeking flexible working options — the push to remote recruitment is here to stay. And according to a study conducted by LinkedIn, 81% of talent professionals agree virtual recruiting will continue post-COVID.

While it’s true that making the transition to remote recruiting will take time, it has already become a reality for many companies around the world. This guide will show you how to streamline your recruiting procedures to become digitized, tech-enabled, and remote.

To read more about hiring remote workers, see our Hiring Remote Workers: Tips to Hire the Best Talent

Quarantines, lockdowns, and self-imposed isolation have pushed tens of millions around the world to work from home, accelerating a workplace experiment that had struggled to gain traction before COVID-19 hit

What is Remote Recruiting?

Remote recruiting refers to the process of sourcing, interviewing, and hiring employees remotely, which is conducted via virtual technology. And now that many companies are transitioning to a remote (or virtual) setup, recruitment and hiring are changing dramatically. In an article published by Forbes, Marc C. Perna notes that “digital hiring tools were already on the rise, but the pandemic has accelerated their use. As companies rethink how they hire, AI and automation are coming to the forefront as necessities for growth in a post-pandemic workplace.”

In essence, remote recruiters have the same objectives as a standard recruiter: to match suitable candidates to job opportunities on behalf of employers. The major difference is that remote recruiters are globally fluent — they typically focus their efforts on global markets where skilled, self-motivated candidates are more readily available.

Remote recruiting can be a useful option when direct sourcing (i.e., looking within your own ranks) is not fruitful. 

Many of the processes involved in remote recruiting are similar to those of ‘traditional’ recruiting. These include:

  • Liaising with clients (employers) to assess their ideal candidate profile
  • Creating job advertisements 
  • Recruiting events
  • Applicant screening
  • Assessment tools
  • Interviews 
  • Contacting referees 
  • Company tours and ‘meet and greets’ (conducted virtually). 

Job Offers

Whilst many employers are familiar with remote job postings and applicant screening procedures, it is vital they maintain effective hiring practices for compliance purposes: That is, candidates need to be hired in accordance with local tax and employment legislation.  
In addition to standard remote hiring processes, you can utilize the following remote recruiting strategies to connect with and hire suitably qualified candidates:

  • Self-recorded video interviews
  • Live video interviews 
  • Virtual hiring events
  • Virtual tours

Once you’re clear on the position (or positions) that you need to recruit for, it’s time to familiarize yourself with the remote recruiting and hiring process. The key steps involved in effective remote recruiting are set out in the seven tips set out below. 

Step 1: Identify Your Remote Recruiting Budget and Resources

When it comes to allocating costs for remote recruitment, a company’s HR department generally has the responsibility to set a certain budget. Whilst it’s easier to follow a recruiting budget when partnering with an external recruitment firm, there are typically other costs that need to be factored into the recruitment process. These costs include the following:

  • Job Boards and Advertising
  • This includes expenses that are attached to posting your open position on job boards, as well as paid recruiting accounts like LinkedIn premium.
  • Candidate Assessment
  • Costs can include paid tests and competitions, including tests that are purchased and administered by other consultancies.
  • External Recruiting
  • Any costs associated with external recruitment firms, headhunters, or candidate sourcing software. 
  • Recruitment-Focused Employer Branding
  • Branding materials associated with recruitment, such as career fairs and career conferences. 

  • Online Careers Page
  • It’s vital your online careers page appeals to job seekers and encourages them to reach out to your company. The expenses attached to your online careers page are generally centered on its redesign, development, and maintenance.
  • Salary Expenses of Your Recruitment Team
  • This applies if you elect to not use external recruiters. These expenses are generally quite high when you factor in the amount of time it takes to fill one position; especially if your company does not have a dedicated hiring department.

Step 2: Focus On Employer Branding

Just like any company evaluates prospective hires, all employees will judge a company; and this is why employer branding is so important. If your company has a negative public image, then you’re unlikely to attract the most in-demand talent. This attractiveness of companies to workers  is sometimes known as the Employee Value Proposition

With an ever-increasing number of employees now working remotely, the notion of an ‘employer brand’ has taken on a new meaning. Despite this, maintaining a strong employer brand enables your company to be recognized – by clients and prospective employees – and increases your brand awareness. Your remote-first employer brand should emphasize one thing above all others: empowering remote workers with the best work experience.

Nicole Ferry from brand agency Sullivan states that “a strong employee value proposition aids not only in retention and satisfaction, but can also impact business outcomes – increased quality of talent, lower hiring costs, lower turnover rates, even revenue.”

According to a survey conducted by branding experts Papirfly, 75% of candidates research a firm’s reputation and employer brand before applying for a job. The survey also indicates that 69% of candidates would not accept a job in a firm with a bad reputation — even if that meant they wouldn’t have a job

To read more about how an employer can optimise the employee experience check out What is Employee Experience and Why Should It Be a Priority? 

When it comes to remote employment, employees seek many of the same benefits they would in a traditional workplace setting. These benefits include work/life balance, a positive and inclusive workplace culture, recognition of their achievements and hard work, and trust in their company’s leadership. 

To foster a strong employer brand in a remote-first culture, employers should focus on:

  • Providing remote employees with flexibility over their work hours
  • Reassuring remote workers that they have the same career growth and learning opportunities as their in-office counterparts
  • Combating loneliness and isolation by investing in tools like Zoom and Slack; and encouraging virtual team-building exercises
  • Building stronger teams through virtual ‘meet and greets’, collaborative projects, and team-building activities.

Step 3: Determine What’s Required From Your Ideal Remote Candidate

Before you recruit any employees, ensure that hiring managers and/or external recruiters are clear on the hiring brief and the requirements for the new role. For any new hire, you need to outline the skills and experience that your ideal candidate should possess. This includes both hard and soft skills, formal qualifications, job-specific training, and prior work experience. Once you’ve outlined these skills, this can be accurately reflected in the job advertisement and your interview questions.

In an article published in Forbes, Rebecca Skilbeck notes that “a strong understanding of what the “ideal” candidate looks like will streamline the recruitment process from advertising, right through the assessment, testing and interview steps.”

To assist you to attract the best talent (and your ideal candidate), consider the following suggestions:

  • Determine the technical skills and qualifications the person will need to do the job well
  • Ask yourself, what company values do you expect your remote employees to align with?
  • Work out you would like your remote employees to communicate and collaborate with your team
  • Determine whether you want your remote employees to work in certain time zones?
  • Work out if you have specific expectations as to the amount of work that your remote employees should do (e.g. how many hours per week?)
  • Ask candidates how they stay focused and self-motivated whilst working remotely.

Step 4: Create an Eye-Catching Job Description

When crafting a job advertisement, keep in mind that its main purpose is to offer job seekers a complete overview of what the remote job entails. To do this, start with a short, engaging description of the job, focus responsibilities on growth and development, and create a sense of urgency for the position. Whilst you should always avoid superlatives, ensure that your job description is attention-grabbing; as this will help you to stand apart from your competitors.

For any remote position, you must create an advertisement that is transparent regarding the responsibilities and expectations of the job. Above all else, you need to convey that the job is either fully or semi-remote.

A remote job advertisement should have the following:

  • A company brief – This should include your company’s mission, values, and policies relating to remote work
  •  An eye-catching (yet realistic) job title that communicates the role of the position
  • Keywords such as ‘remote’, ‘work from home’, or ‘virtual’ in the job description’s title
  • Details of the position – You need to communicate whether the job is fully or semi-remote, whether it’s full-time or part-time, and any geographical or time zone restrictions
  • The major responsibilities involved with the job. 
  • Required experience and qualifications. This could include formal qualifications, job certifications, previous job experience, and soft skills like communication and problem-solving abilities.

Once you’ve created an effective job advertisement, the next task is promoting it to as many qualified candidates as possible. The ideal way to do this is through job boards that are designed for remote positions. Some of the best remote job sites include Remote OK, We Work Remotely, Flexjobs, LinkedIn, Facebook, and your company’s blog can also be effective means of promoting your remote jobs. 

Step 5: Consider Niche Job Promotion Platforms

Whilst a job advertisement is critical in attracting candidates, there are other methods you can utilize to fast-track the hiring process.

Not only does LinkedIn allow you to post a job advertisement and search for candidates, but you can also publish a thought-provoking article that draws attention to your company. And if your company is seeking to attract passive candidates, you could even ask one of your top-performing employees to be a guest on a webinar. If they mention key aspects like your company’s work-life balance, team collaboration, and career advancement opportunities, you’re likely to receive an influx of interested candidates.

If your company’s goal is to attract quality candidates AND generate brand awareness, it’s worth focusing on platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn, GitHub, Facebook, and Instagram. With Facebook and Instagram, you can resonate with a more engaged audience and showcase how dynamic your company culture is. These platforms also allow you to reach both active and passive candidates, as well as people who are already fans of your brand. And if the job isn’t the right fit for them, they can refer your post to other people who may be searching for a job.

Step 6: Utilize Technology to Your Advantage

When recruiting for any position – including remote positions – the process should be structured and time-efficient. Hiring managers and external recruiters need to use their resources correctly, as opposed to focusing their efforts on lesser value tasks.

It can take a large amount of time to create and promote job advertisements, screen candidates, and conduct virtual interviews. Fortunately, technology can alleviate many of the time constraints associated with remote recruiting. When used the right way, technology – such as AI screening and job board software- can streamline much of the recruitment process, which allows you to focus more of your time on higher-quality candidates. This has the potential to reduce recruitment costs, whilst improving the time it takes to hire and the quality of the hire.

Step 7: Leverage Technology During the Interview

In an article published by Forbes, David Windley notes that “a great recruiter is a great interviewer, and now you must be an expert at virtual interviews.”

Interviewing for remote positions with video technology offers greater flexibility for both employers and candidates. Video interviews are superior to phone interviews because they allow candidates to express themselves with more authenticity; which gives employers a better insight into a candidate’s personality and communication skills.

If your company is hiring for a role with a large pool of applicants, a video interview can also be an excellent means of narrowing down a shortlist of prospective hires. Additionally, video interviews can be performed at a time that is more suited to a candidate’s work, family, and education commitments.

Whilst a video-driven hiring process may not be common for your company, the Covid-19 pandemic has essentially forced the hiring process to go virtual. A recent Gartner survey found that 86% of organizations are conducting virtual interviews to hire candidates.

When conducting a video interview, hiring managers and recruiters need to prepare for any issues that could potentially disrupt the interview. They should also inform candidates if the video freezes or if they experience an unexpected interruption. Consequently, there should be a backup plan if the technology fails. As such, you must always have the candidate’s email address and phone number.

To make the most of your next video interview, here are some helpful tips:

  • Test both your video and audio beforehand. Mute any notifications you have on your computer
  • Conduct the interview in a room that’s free of distractions
  • If the candidate is having any log-in difficulties, be patient and give them a few minutes’ grace period
  • Have a list of prepared questions
  • Help candidate’s to feel more at ease by maintaining eye contact and giving them your full attention.


Since the global pandemic, companies have had to adapt their recruiting strategies as they move towards a remote-first culture. To attract and retain top talent, companies need to be mindful of their brand awareness. As such, they need to maintain a tech-enabled, flexible approach to their remote recruiting.

In findings published by Gallup, “leaders and managers need to be aware that, as working remotely becomes more common, companies that can’t accommodate it will become unusual. And those cultures, over time, may also struggle to keep their in-house workers engaged.”

By realigning your recruitment strategy to be more tech-savvy, your company can build a global team of talent. In turn, you can benefit from higher rates of employee retention, increased productivity, and lower costs.

How Horizons Can Help

As the only global Professional Employer Organization (PEO) with a dedicated, in-house global recruitment team,  Horizons sources, hires, and onboards your global and remote workforce. We take the time to assess the recruitment needs of your business, develop an appropriate candidate profile, and then present you with elite candidates that meet your needs.

No matter where your business is located, our team will connect you to the world’s brightest talent. Our team interviews candidates, performs background checks, customizes competitive job offers, and creates compliant employment contracts.

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