Remote working is not a new phenomenon in the global work culture. In fact, before the coronavirus pandemic introduced the world to the new normal of social distancing, working remotely had already been prevalent. The trend has been steadily increasing around the world as more companies are starting to accept the concept of working together while being geographically distant.
There is no denying the fact that it is a win-win situation for both the companies and their employees. For the former, it gives them access to a bigger, more diverse talent pool at reduced costs. While for the latter it means greater flexibility and better work/life balance. Be as it may, the arrangement comes with its own set of challenges.
Seeing is believing in our current world of unsurpassed connectivity and visibility. However, when face-to-face, physical interaction is removed from the equation, companies must fill the gap with other means. How do you make sure that your next remote hire is a natural fit to the company and team culture? The question becomes even more relevant when your recruit could be working remotely in a different country, oceans apart. How do guarantee that there is no disruption to the brand values and the mission of the company with the new addition? This is where the accuracy of assessment protocols and mechanisms when hiring a recruit remotely come into play.
What is company culture?
First things first. Before you start looking for it in a potential employee, you must clearly understand and define what the culture of your company is. Beyond the brick and mortar physical shape of an organization, the culture is the real glue that holds a group of people together and binds them to one another. It is a set of beliefs, ethics, and values that are shared by all those who choose to work in your company.
The overall culture of an organization is a sum of the shared beliefs and values of its employees. It is a product, created from the ground up from the collective preferences and ethics each member brings with them. In such a situation, bringing in a recruit is like introducing a foreign species to an ecosystem. Not only is the process costly and time-consuming, but if the values and beliefs of the recruit are not in sync with the company ecosystem, the results can be disastrous.
Your brand is the first impression
Your first interaction with a recruit happens before you meet them. The online presence of your organization is the first impression on your prospective hires. Just as consumers are conscious about which brands they associate with, recruits also expect more from their employers these days. More than 75% of recruits check out their prospective employer on social media to get a feel of the organization.
In such a situation, it is essential to create a unique and distinctive brand on the digital channels that accurately reflects the culture and values of the organization. This in turn, will ensure that only those recruits whose values align with the brand, will apply for the position.
Ask revealing questions
Asking the right questions during the interview are crucial. This is your only chance of getting to know the person who will come to associate with your organization’s brand. Rather than focusing on their skills and expertise, this is the time to maneuver the recruit to reveal aspects of themselves that are not apparent. Try to find out about their lifestyle, preferences, and personality as these will help in determining if they are a cultural fit. These could be about scenarios that require an answer to tackle challenges and obstacles. Some of the questions you can ask to assess whether a potential hire is culture fit are:
- Describe your preferred work style. Are you a team player or do you prefer working alone?
- Describe the work environment or culture that brings out the best in you and channels your productivity.
- When working as a team, describe what role best suits you.
- How do you prioritize and manage the tasks assigned to you?
- How do you handle conflict? If your colleagues disagree with your opinion, what do you do?
- Are you a multi-tasker or do you prefer to see one task to completion before taking on something else?
- Describe a challenging situation and how you managed it.
Ask follow-up questions
The job of the hiring manager does not end once the recruit has furnished a response. On the contrary, this is where the real evaluation begins. They need to analyse the response and determine if the recruit is a good fit for the organization’s culture. This is not an easy task, it requires skilled listening and the ability to extrapolate from the hiring manager.
To evaluate properly, the hiring manager not only needs to ask the right question, but they also need to follow up. Once they have received a response, they need to come up with a follow-up question that requires additional information from the recruit. When assessing a candidate, the hiring manager needs to be objective, keeping in mind the day-to-day requirements, the team dynamics, and the overall culture of the organization. The response of the recruit needs to be assessed within these parameters.
Avail psychometric insights on offer
When making such an important decision, there is no such thing as too much information. You do not want to repeat the process, so just make sure you get it right the first time. Luckily, there is a plethora of online assessment tools that can help you get insights into the work style and personality of your recruit.
Through these psychometric tests you can find out the competencies of the recruit, the sort of environment they thrive in and crucially, whether they are a culture fit for your organization.
Give them real-life scenarios
Once you are clear about the culture of your organization, you can then have a clearer picture of what role you want to fill. Is it for a new role or are you replacing someone? In either case, it is imperative that you are aware of the job responsibilities and the KPI’s on which the recruit will be assessed. Skills and capabilities are essential, but it is equally important to be upfront about the team culture and role expectations right from the start as it avoids any confusions down the road.
A recommended way to go about it is to give online assessments based on actual scenarios. This can give you additional context on the thought process of the recruit and how they are likely to behave in possible work situations. This will give you a gauge on how well the recruit can fit in your organization.
To get a better understanding of their suitability, you can use the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result) to gauge the suitability of the candidate. Some examples of real-life situational questions you can ask the new hire are:
- What would you do if you made a mistake that no one noticed? Questions like these can be used to assess the integrity of the recruit and whether his/her values align with those of the company.
- How would you go about doing a task you’ve never done before? This type of scenario will help you to find out how the recruit handles unexpected tasks and their willingness to leverage their problem-solving skills to learn a new task.
- Describe a time you failed to do a task. What lesson did you learn? In this scenario, employers are looking for the willingness to learn from one’s mistakes, an ability to be flexible and to overcome obstacles and learn.
- How would you deal with an angry and dissatisfied customer? These are useful questions to assess their conflict-resolution abilities and their ability to defuse volatile situations using their communication skills.
- Tell us about your proudest accomplishment. This is to find out about the type of work that the recruit finds fulfilling and the steps he/she is willing to take to meet goals
Furthermore, by focusing only on the performance parameters and not on the rapport between the recruit and the hiring manager, you can get a decisive read on their suitability. An important note to keep in mind is that you are not judging a candidate based on their likeability. Rather, they are being judged on their ability to match the needs of the team and to do a specific task as a member of the organization
In conclusion, hiring is a lengthy and costly affair. Getting your assessment about the recruit right becomes even more important when you are hiring remotely. Since there is no chance to physically interact with the recruit during the initial phase and you do not want to go through the whole process again, it’s paramount that you get it right the first time. You do not want to introduce someone who initially won you over but later on starts exhibiting a negative attitude that can threaten the whole company culture. Hence, communication is vital in ensuring that the culture and values of the organization are in sync with those of the recruit. Get to know the recruit, give them real-life scenarios to find out how they respond. Use psychometric tools to know more about the inner workings of the recruit.
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