With the current “shelter in place” mandates in several geographies, recognizing the benefits and reality of remote work as an option and addressing the needs of those workers is absolutely critical. Already, nearly 5 million independent workers describe themselves as “digital nomads,” or workers who choose a “location independent, technology-enabled lifestyle” that allows them to work from anywhere in the world.
Additional studies have found that over 4.7 million U.S. workers work remotely, accounting for nearly 4% of the workforce, according to Payscale. And many candidates are requiring a remote work option when looking for a position. Flexjobs found that 80% of workers say they’d turn down a job that didn’t offer location flexibility. Even during a stressful and traumatic time such as this, employers may find that remote workers are more productive and less stressed, and those who are forced to work this way now may want to continue once things return to normal.
Regardless of what industry your organization is in, the world of work continues to evolve and change. Hiring teams will need to make decisions about when and where to use a remote workforce, how to hire that type of workforce, and how to support them after onboarding. Once the “when and where” are determined, organizations can evaluate their hiring practices to make sure they are equipped to truly reach remote candidates and the growing number of candidates who require flexible working hours.
Start with company culture
Let’s start with the company culture. Companies can begin by ensuring they have the infrastructure and resources needed to support a remote workforce, including communication tools, accessible shared drives, and a culture that is open to remote workers. The company should then update its careers site to showcase its support of remote workers through proper technology. Companies can also evaluate position requirements and adjust job postings to showcase location flexibility and to accurately reflect a day in the life of an employee in any particular role.
Additionally, recruiting programs using AI solutions to source and contact active and passive candidates should be very upfront about the nature of remote work, and/or the limits of work-from-home flexibility, in order to cultivate high-quality, truly interested leads.
Every touchpoint an organization has with a candidate, from initial job posting to final interviews, should reflect the dedication of the company to its workforce, whether in person or remote.
Cultivate a mobile mindset
It’s hard to ignore mobile technology when more than 5 billion people were connected to mobile internet services as of 2018. It can be one of the most powerful tools in your organization’s hiring and operating strategy for a remote workforce.
Remote and on-demand communication becomes an essential part of an organization’s operations when there is a large percentage of remote workers. Creating an abundance of accessibility helps to unleash new levels of efficiency, collaboration, and productivity. Next, how does this also affect the hiring strategy?
Expecting all applicants to come through the career site won’t always work. Text-to-apply solutions can be an added mobile tactic in your hiring strategy. Text-to-apply can work in a few different ways, but it is typically a short-code phone number that you can place as a call to action in recruitment marketing material, or anywhere you advertise open positions. Instead of potentially needing access to a desktop or laptop to fill out a website form, candidates can complete job applications via text message.
Use automation and AI to recruit
AI tools for recruiting can help you increase your talent pipeline and candidate quality and improve your ability to hire or make placements more quickly. Some recruiting AI, when integrated with your applicant tracking system (ATS), can even engage with your text-to-apply candidates to collect information and automatically create candidate profiles for inbound applicants.
Conversational AI is the most advanced type of recruiting AI or recruiting chatbot available today, as it can understand the context of a conversation, follow new conversation threads, and acknowledge what’s being communicated. When used correctly, conversational AI engages candidates in a human and natural way to help build trust with candidates. This is especially important when hiring remote workers, knowing their interaction with others in the company will rarely be face-to-face.
AI can help you find better candidates, but it can also help your hiring team’s work feel more rewarding and meaningful. With a mix of both human and digital labor on your hiring team, each can be matched to their respective skills for an internal workforce fully optimized for every task. Automation of AI in recruiting relieves employees of the tedious parts of their job that take considerable time and effort away from focusing on actual candidate interactions and connections.
Vinita Venkatesh is currently vice president of product marketing at Mya Systems and brings nearly 15 years of domain, product marketing, product management, and product strategy expertise from well-known brands including Workday, Rubrik, and Replicon.