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Why distance shouldn’t be a barrier to hiring the best candidate

You have found the best person for the job, but they are 500 miles away and can’t relocate. What’s the next move?

As companies move further into the digital space, remote working is becoming a more realistic – and beneficial – possibility for both candidates and employers. Technology has made flexible, long-distance work simple. Conference calls, video chats and online hangouts keep people connected, even when working from different locations.

Telecommuting can help organisations that are struggling to secure talented people for certain roles. By widening the search, businesses can pick from the best without compromising on geographical location. As the idea of office space shifts, remote working stands out as a favourable option for both employer and employee.

The benefits

Eliminating distance as a restrictive factor allows companies to select from a wider pool of talented people. It also helps create a greater sense of diversity in a team, drawing on different backgrounds and perspectives.

Empowering employees to work in a way that suits them can also suit your business. It allows for a more adaptable workplace that encourages innovation, collaboration, and can even minimise absenteeism. Recent research suggests that remote working results in less stressed, more efficient employees. Other studies indicate that companies can save money in the long term by encouraging remote working.

The challenges

As organisations come round to the idea of remote teams, the hiring process continues to throw up challenges. It’s based upon a traditional approach to engaging employees that is cautious about working outside the conventional bounds of the office. For a new method of working to be successfully introduced, the mindset behind it must be changed.

It is no longer the case that meetings and team stand-ups are the only road to productivity. Research suggests that people who work remotely are far more productive than their counterparts in the office, as they are able to work to their own schedule to achieve a better work/life balance.

Many employers also equate remote working with relinquishing control over their team. Guiding a company towards remote working requires a process; this is where a different approach to hiring comes into play.

The process

The interviews you conduct should determine specifically whether the candidate is suited to working remotely. Interviews are usually focused on whether the person will be a good cultural fit, but when it comes to remote candidates, their ability to work successfully at a distance is far more significant.

You should assess whether the candidate is independent, motivated, dedicated and flexible. They should be passionate advocates of their ideas, so that they are able to provide input and influence from a distance. Experience working remotely in the past is a bonus.

Once a candidate is in place, nurturing close working relationships is key to success on both sides. Encourage collaborative teamwork and constant communication to ensure the natural flow of ideas. Tools such as Slack and Google Hangout are invaluable to remote teams, while building a strong culture of feedback and support is vital for keeping everyone in the loop.

While it’s not a method that suits all roles, remote working is quickly becoming advantageous to organisations looking to create dynamic and forward-thinking working environments.

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