Amid lockdowns and social distancing policies to curb the #COVID19 — coronavirus outbreak, the tech ecosystem has to adapt to a situation where working remotely is the new norm. Hiring is the first topic in our series on talent.io’s best remote practices for anyone involved in tech team hiring and management to adopt.
Tech recruiters, remote work does not have to undermine your objectives. The tech industry is perhaps uniquely well-positioned to support distributed teams, and the current crisis can be the opportunity to get on board and ahead of the game on making remote hires. This alternative can turn out not only to be the present but also the future for tech teams and hiring in tech.
After reading this, you should feel comfortable in building your tech team remotely starting from today! Once COVID-19 is over, this capability will still be a very competitive advantage to have and to master.
Take the chance to clean up the structure of your hiring process and individual interviews. A clear structure makes a great traditional hiring process — it is all the more crucial for remote recruitments.
The biggest difference between in-person and a remote interview process is logistical.
So let’s take a look at preparing the interviews.
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Take special consideration of the candidate’s ease of access and expectations to avoid technical difficulties. Concrete actions to be prepared for your remote interviews include:
1. Provide your candidates with all the information they need in your email communication and the interview calendar invite:
2. Double check your tech beforehand: mic, headphones, wifi connection, etc.
3. Make sure the notes you take are accessible online for the next steps of the process.
4. Be the first to show up in the virtual room to make the candidate more comfortable.
This will put you in a good position to assess your candidate’s technical skills.
It is important to be extra patient whilst testing your candidate’s technical skills remotely. Timelines can need to be readjusted to allow for tech hiccups, refreshes, etc. Our recommendations are:
How about trying to mimic the autonomy of your tech team’s remote work environment with the coding challenge?
Sean Hynan, Talent Lead at Form3, suggests giving your candidate free reign to go away, build something and come back to you in their own timescale, to understand how they work. For this strategy “there are no deadlines on the project, some people come back within a week, others within a month, but we don’t mind that at all.”
Here are a few other coding tools you can use:
➡️ https://coderpad.io/: used by companies such as Quora, Yelp, YCombinator, Dropbox to conduct remote technical interviews.
➡️ https://codeinterview.io/: a cloud-based pair programming tool.
➡️ https://www.hackerrank.com/: allows you to create your own coding challenges and pair programs.
➡️ https://codeshare.io/: a free team coding resource, with video options for interviews.
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You will need more time to get to know your candidate remotely than you might take face-to-face. Which means having more calls than usual dedicated to cultural fit and personality.
Mo Brahim says, “increase the stages of interaction. You need more engagement with the candidate to ensure you are comfortable with the person.” You should look at:
If you take deliberate steps early on to get to know the candidate on a personal level and accept input from other members of the team, you’ll be able to get a good grasp of your candidate’s potential fit.
The good news is that some issues from traditional interviews might no longer be a problem (candidates getting lost trying to find the entrance?!). Remote interviews can also be far more accessible and encourage more diverse applicants, such as individuals with impaired mobility. Nonetheless to be fully inclusive and get the best candidates you need to exercise flexibility:
Offer to use the candidate’s preferred communication channel. WhatsApp video, Skype, FaceTime, other platforms.
Be willing to adapt to the candidate’s agenda. Often candidates who go fully remote have specific time constraints such as different time zones or childcare.
Make sure the candidate is within their comfort zone. As Tricia Philips, Director and Management Consultant at KPIM says, “remember for example that some people aren’t comfortable on camera” This is not a reflection of their technical skills or their fit as a team player, so take this into account when you are reviewing an interview.
The foundation to a great remote hiring process is empathy and compassion.
Many applicants might be experiencing remote work and hiring for the first time. It is vital to understand their uncertainties and make them feel at ease to get the best out of such interviews.
Working remotely is not something everyone appreciates or is comfortable with! That’s OK. To avoid any surprises, you should:
1. Be very clear about the scope of the job with your candidate as soon as you start conversations. Establishing their willingness to work remotely is essential.
2. Assess your candidate’s autonomy during the process. How do they communicate and time-manage as an applicant? Perhaps a chance to bring in Sean Hynan’s suggestions for a deadline-less coding test!
3. Explain in detail what the environment of the company is like. Christophe Popov, Entrepreneur, Technology Consultant and CTO, tells us it is “all about developing trust with the person.”
Recruiting 100% remotely might be fairly new to you but some teams are already doing it successfully and have already shared resources on the topic. Here are two of our favourites:
We hope these tips will help you deal with your recruitment strategy in the short term, and also strengthen your hiring processes for the future.
As Mo Brahim says “you could be expected to fall back on a remote onboarding process at any time”.
We’d like to thank our experts Tricia Phillips — Director and Management Consultant at KPIM, Aaron Asaro — CTO at Kopernio, Mo Brahim — CTO at Profile Pensions, Christophe Popov — Entrepreneur, Technology Consultant and CTO, and Sean Hynan — Talent Lead at Form3 for sharing their valuable insights!