The Six Big Challenges of the Remote Worker Hiring Process

February 2023

Dan Hunter


According to Zippia, 26% of U.S. employees work remotely; by 2025, that number is expected to grow to 36.2 million. Remote work has its share of advantages and disadvantages for businesses. The hiring process is one aspect of remote work that can be particularly difficult. There are six especially significant challenges to hiring remote workers. Gaining awareness of these challenges can allow anyone to enhance their process and overall experience.

The Process May Take Longer

Bringing in a new remote worker often takes longer than would be ideal. For one thing, hiring remotely greatly expands the candidate pool, as living locally is no longer a necessity. While this change is an overall advantage, it can extend the length of the hiring process. In addition, it may take longer to evaluate candidates, as forging connections is harder when interviews are not in person. Even scheduling interviews can be trickier when people are located in different time zones.

Remote Work Doesn't Suit Everyone

While remote work has become more common, only some workers have experience working remotely. Others, of course, do have experience but are not well-suited to the remote work style. It’s essential for hiring managers and candidates to explore whether a specific candidate will be effective or happy working remotely. Careful consideration of the drawbacks of remote work is necessary for both parties.

Candidate Assessments Have to Be Modified

When hiring remotely, certain qualities become more important. This necessitates a subtly different approach in terms of evaluating candidates. For example, working remotely means a closed-grain managerial style is impossible, which means remote workers have a greater need for self-discipline. Other qualities that become more important for remote workers include strong communication skills and a proactive, willing attitude.

Communication Is Harder

The biggest challenge of remote hiring is the most obvious: communication. Getting on the same page when all communication is digital is more complicated. The subtle cues of body language that naturally exist when people are in the same physical space disappear. While video conferencing is a valuable tool, it cannot replicate in-person communication. There is no way to resolve this difficulty perfectly.

Imparting Company Culture Is Tough

Subtleties surrounding the particular culture of a business or a specific team can take a lot of work to pick up, even in the best of times. Remote work adds further difficulties. In every business, there are subtle norms concerning tone and level of formality in interpersonal communications. Typically, these norms are only sometimes explicitly expressed. However, trying to do so may be necessary when hiring remote workers.

Integrating the New Hire With the Team Is Harder

A successful team depends on a sense of togetherness. But that camaraderie and team spirit are harder to generate when a new hire is working away from the office. Again, it comes down to the fact that being in the same physical space helps people connect enormously. Integrating a new person into the team can be particularly difficult if all (or at least most) of the other team members have experience working under the same roof with each other.

Remote work certainly can be a positive development for employers and workers, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a downside. Like with other challenges in business and life, there is no use wishing these difficulties away. Dealing with them as effectively as possible is necessary for the management and remote workers.

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