The Challenges (and Joys) of Hiring from Home

Work, and life, as we know it isn’t going to snap right back to the way things were, but history shows us that someday soon we’ll be asking ourselves, “Did it really happen? Was it really so bad?” But for now, we’re in the business of surviving. Those of us who are healthy have the challenge of navigating the world we’re in right now—masks, lines at the grocery store, kids at home, and so, so much hand washing. We’re also trying to work, figuring out not only how to get through our day-to-day, but also how to help our companies successfully navigate uncharted waters.

Agile companies are already adapting, recognizing that their ability to respond quickly with grit and positivity is key to their resiliency. At Searchlight, we help our clients hire remote teams and frequently organize interviews across time zones, but it’s rare to see a company hire without at least one in-person meeting. A few ways to effect successful remote hiring:

  • Create strategies and policies that leave space for flexibility—we know now that the way we work can change in a matter of days. Leaders with forethought leave room to respond to the unexpected. Make sure your policies don’t get hung up on outdated requirements.
  • Embrace technology—I never thought that Zoom would save us, but after my fourth straight week of Sunday family dinner on a screen, I get it. Technology can’t replace human connection or instinct, but we can lean into what it can do for us. Spend enough time using communication technology so you feel comfortable gauging the level of “awkward” that’s actually normal.
  • Listen to your team– One of my best hires was someone who on paper didn’t look right for the role. My colleague advocated for her heavily saying if it doesn’t work out you can always replace her. I hired her and it was literally one of the best decisions I’ve made. 
  • Invest time—hiring is a little bit like dating except you propose after a few dates. Hiring without an in-person meeting may feel like a mail-order bride. Take the time to have an additional conversation. These are extraordinary times and people are impacted and fragile. You can often see who someone is by how they handle life in a crisis. They can bring those skills and resiliency to help your company. 
  • Listen to your instincts—don’t forget that your gut is still in play. We’ve spent decades honing our instincts, making the move to remote hiring doesn’t mean we let go of them completely. Just because this feels like a brave new world doesn’t mean that we have to re-invent the wheel.
Note: This article originally appeared on LinkedIn here on 4/21/20.
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Kelly Herrick

Kelly Herrick is the founder of Searchlight, a digital recruitment firm specializing in media, advertising, and emerging technology. Originally from Texas, Kelly has made NY her home and lives with her husband, son, dog, and three cats in Westchester.