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The definitive guide to recruiting and online training for remote teams

Recruiting and training remote teams has never been more crucial than now. With many companies moving to remote work spaces or hiring for remote team roles, having some insight to get started will set your business apart.

9 Apr 2020 by Rocco Brudno

Hiring and training new team members can be a difficult process for any company. But what if you’re doing that entire process remotely? The difficulty increases. As online training experts, we've honed the craft of delivering training remotely. And we know a thing or two about the remote recruitment process as well (just ask our US team).

Creating a successful routine for recruiting and training remote teams can be tedious at first. But with a little planning and a few tips, you’ll be on your way to recruiting and training remotely. Read our guide below to learn more!

Online recruiting for remote teams

Recruiting remotely employees is largely the same as recruiting in person. You still have to find a talent pool to advertise your role with. You still have to pre-qualify candidates for a role before they get to the offer stage. And you still have to make sure they’re the right fit for the team and the company. However, there are some key differences that make or break an online recruiting process for remote teams:

  • Vetting a candidate based on their online presence before virtually meeting them.
  • Video interviews require planning (back-up link and app if first choices don’t work, etc.).
  • Establish a higher level of trust with a candidate.
  • Making sure they’re proficient at communicating (essential for remote teams).
  • Testing their abilities on a project typical for their role. This helps you assess how much online training they'll require.
  • Learning why (and if) they want to work for your team and company.

Depending on your industry, you may have other requirements to meet for online recruiting candidates as well. But most of the above tips will guide you through hiring remote candidates. We’ve detailed each below so you can start incorporating them into your recruitment process.

Vetting a remote candidate before you interview

Since you can’t always verify remote candidates based on their connections, it’s important to see their online presence. If you’re a company that produces music, you might not want a candidate that posts negative things about the music industry on your team. Likewise, if you find that someone’s online presence resonates with your brand, that can be a compelling reason to hire them!

Some easy methods to vet a candidate are:

  • See what they’re like on social platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.
  • Search their full name and see what comes up.
  • Research the companies they’ve worked for previously if applicable.

If everything checks out, then you’re ready to move onto the remote interview!

How to interview for remote work

Remote interviews are less about the interview itself and more about the setup before and after. We recommend using whatever video conferencing too you have in-house for the call. You should also send an email and calendar link so the candidate has options to select from.

Be considerate when scheduling a time of their candidate's time zone. For Coassemble, hiring between two countries and five-time zones gives a small window for us to interview a candidate. Make you arrive early to verify the link and platform are up and running before the call. If not, send an email to make sure the candidate is aware before hopping onto a broken link/call invite.

During the interview, try to be social before getting into it. Because you’re not meeting in person, this can help break the ice as you get to know them. Once you get into it, ask questions that help you understand how they’d fit in the role remotely. The most important thing to find out is how they tackle remote specific problems.

Building trust with video: When you’re working with a remote candidate you won’t see in-office, it’s important you trust them. A great way to build trust is by having video chats frequently with potential team members. You want to have a great sense of who they are before you bring them on to meet the rest of the team. Sometimes hosting a “virtual happy hour” with a top candidate can let you chat with them and learn their character over a drink.

How to establish communication in remote interviews

Making sure a candidate is able to communicate efficiently and effectively remotely is important during the hiring stages. Companies like Zapier find communication crucial to a remote employee’s success with a company. As you go through the remote interview process with you, think about how they keep in touch. Are they very responsive? Do they clearly exchange information with you via text, email, and video/audio calls? These are all signs of how they’ll operate remotely so they’re good to know before extending an offer.

How to test remote candidates with a project

This doesn’t have to be complicated, but it’s important to validate a person’s ability to operate in the role you’re hiring for. If it’s for web development, ask them to work on a relevant piece of code to assess their process. If it’s a writing position, ask them to draft a sample article based on a topic of your choosing. You get the idea.

Once you’ve been able to see them work, you’ll be able to determine how’ll they’ll perform in the role. You’ll also get an idea of how they utilize the resources they have while working remotely. This is crucial in seeing if a remote candidate is able to work well outside of an in-office environment. You'll also be able to gauge how much online training they'll need to start really thriving in their role.

“Why” remote candidates want to work with your company

Our last tip for online recruiting for remote workers is finding out why a remote candidate wants to work for you. Ask them what interests them about your company and culture. Send them a video showcasing the fun side of your company and what it’s like to be a team member.

In fact, the more culture-driven your company is, the easier it can be to engage a remote candidate. In this interview between and GitHub, Coby Chapple discusses the importance of culture when hiring remote workers. Getting candidates involved can build a stronger connection when you decide to hire them.

How to deliver successful online training to remote employees

After you’ve hired the right candidate, it’s time to get them onboarding. But how do you deliver training to a remote employee? The process has never been simpler thanks to online training platforms. Below we’ve laid out an incredibly easy approach to onboard any remote team member.

Introducing remote team members to your company

A great way to get new team members started is to schedule video calls between them and the heads of departments and team members they’ll be working with. If anyone doesn’t have the time, ask them to record evergreen videos that can be used for new staff. The important thing is making sure your new remote employee feels welcome and knows they have people to help them.

💡 Pro Tip: We have even more tips for making remote teams feel engaged in our article on teams working remotely. We provide some great tips for guiding remote employees and helping them succeed.

Online training for remote roles

This is when using an online training platform comes in clutch. A great way to deliver training for a role is to consider three factors:

  • What department will that role be working under?
  • How much experience does your employee have?
  • Do you know what tools, policies, and company info they'll need?

From those answers, you can build a lesson plan. We suggest making evergreen content lessons for topics involving:

  • Communications and general company policies.
  • Departments and their roles in the company (ie. marketing, sales, CS, etc.).
  • Information about the company (ie. founders, history, goals, etc.).

These topics will mostly remain neutral to any role. That means you won’t have to make unique pieces for every new remote employee you hire. It’s also important to consider the accessibility of online training for remote employees. Not all platforms are web-based, meaning your team will have limited access options for their training.

And that frees up time for you to create role-specific training content. Think about tools that role will be using—is your new team member familiar with Slack? If not, a quick video tutorial will go a long way to their efficiency six months into the job. If it’s a role the company has had previously, consider including tips from previous employees to share their knowledge.

💡 Pro tip: check out our course on how to use Slack to get some ideas for your own lessons. We also compiled a list of the best tools for working remotely that can help enable any role to succeed.

The best way to enable a team to grow successfully is by building a trend of sharing team insights. By creating content that focuses on your individual team members and the benefit of training, you’ll guarantee engagement. We’re so confident in this model that we literally wrote the book on learner-first training.

This is also a great way to leverage engaging online training content to build a community with remote teams. Our own leader and CEO Ryan Macpherson provided some great advice for managing remote teams. Consistently engaging remote staff ensures everyone is communicating and working fluidly as a team.

How to measure your online training for remote employees

After your new remote team member settles in and finishes their online training, you’ll want to measure their results. For some roles, this could be a few months after they’re hired to see how they apply their knowledge. For some, you may have to wait longer to see the results of a training course.

Determine with your team leaders what expected outcomes would look like and their respective timelines. It can be helpful to give your new staff some tips for working remotely as well

By regularly measuring your remote team’s online training results, you can also assess the effectiveness of your training content. Are learners not actively engaging with lessons? Maybe try a different media to deliver the information. eLearning Industry drafted this great article on why remote team feedback is crucial to online training success.

Providing continued online training for remote employees

We want to finish by encouraging you to not stop providing online training after your remote employee is onboarded. We’ve found that employee engagement and retention increases when teams have access to training programs. There are always opportunities to grow your remote team at scale. Whether it’s progressing into their own role or pushing into a new one, employees always find more to learn. And your company benefits from investing in your team because they’ll return that investment 10x fold.

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