Proper Planning Helps Overcome the Unique Challenges of Remote Hiring

by Granville Triumph

The pandemic has forever altered the nature of work, and many organizations are adopting a “remote first” strategy when hiring. Remote talent acquisition firms are doing a bustling business, and companies are hiring HR professionals who specialize in the recruitment of remote personnel.

Clearly, remote hiring is different from traditional processes. Here are some of the unique challenges that organizations face when filling remote positions.

Large Numbers of Applicants

One of the benefits of a remote first strategy is that it gives organizations access to a larger talent pool. When location is no longer a factor, organizations can seek out qualified applicants virtually anywhere in the world.

The flip side is that organizations must wade through a massive number of applications in order to find the ideal candidate. Experts say that there are more people who want to work remotely than there are remote jobs. Plus, there are people who will apply for a job simply because it’s remote, even though they are not qualified. Hundreds or even thousands of applications may pour in for a single position.

To make the review process more manageable, organizations should carefully craft job listings. Rank requirements from most important to least important, highlighting those that are nonnegotiable. HR staff and hiring managers will be able to sort through applications and resumes more quickly.

Evaluation of “Soft” Characteristics

Once the pool of applicants is narrowed based upon technical skills, hiring managers must determine which candidates have the right mix of “soft” characteristics. Traditionally, that meant candidates had to have the temperament to fit in with the company culture and the demands of the job. With remote positions, an additional set of factors must be considered.

Does the candidate have the ability to stay productive while working remotely with minimal supervision? How does the candidate respond when faced with an obstacle, such as technology problems or a lack of understanding about how to perform a particular task? Does the candidate have strong communication and collaboration skills over a variety of platforms? 

Interview Logistics

The final step is to arrange candidate interviews. This needs to be done as quickly as possible before qualified candidates accept other positions. However, remote interviews present logistical challenges. Time zone differences can make it difficult to schedule interviews, particularly when multiple team members are involved in the interview process.

Most organizations are set up for remote communication and collaboration because of the pandemic. However, candidates won’t necessarily have these capabilities or use the same platforms as the hiring firm. They’ll want to make sure they have the right applications installed and test microphones and speakers before the interview begins. Organizations should provide clear instructions to facilitate this process.

Even then, technology problems can and will occur. Connections will fail, and background noise can make it difficult for both interviewer and interviewee to hear questions and responses. It’s important to consider that technology might be the problem before rejecting a potential candidate.


A remote first hiring strategy can be beneficial to organizations, opening up a larger pool of candidates and making it possible to find highly specialized skills regardless of location. Remote work ultimately saves money by reducing real estate costs, and employees are generally more satisfied and productive.

However, remote hiring also creates a unique set of challenges. Organizations should evaluate their hiring processes and make any adjustments needed to ensure an optimal experience for all involved.

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