Thanks to the latest technological breakthroughs, telecommuting is gaining wider acceptance and is here to stay. It’s no longer restricted to a specific age group; in fact, almost 90% of employees have voiced their preference for remote working. The recent spread of the Coronavirus outbreak has transformed working from home from a luxury to a fundamental necessity for business continuity. This has drastically grown the need for remote screening of prospective IT candidates by hiring firms.
For businesses that are relatively new to remote talent acquisition, it may seem unusual to hire without a physical meeting. At our technical recruitment agency for remote employees, we are well versed in this practice and have accumulated much knowledge about evaluating remote software development candidates. Here is what we have learned.
Source Your Information
Previously, obtaining references for prospective employees was often a time-consuming task, which could sometimes not be completed until after the new employee had already commenced work. However, with the advent of swift communication methods, it is now possible to receive feedback from previous employers or educational institutions within a matter of hours.
If possible, it is recommended to connect with an applicant’s previous employer via phone, as this allows for targeted questioning regarding the candidate’s job performance. These queries could pertain to how the candidate handled stress in their previous role or their technical expertise level. This method of communication is more effective than relying solely on generic feedback from a reference.
Evaluate Technical Competence
Until recently, conventional IT hiring methods involved conducting a whiteboard examination to evaluate potential candidates’ abilities. We’ve already examined the challenges presented by such a practice, but in essence, it requires applicants to rely on their memory instead of being able to display their critical thinking skills with the abundance of resources available to them.
If you are seeking an impartial assessment of a prospective candidate, there are various online testing services accessible, such as Code Signal and Codingame. In another alternative, you might prefer to conduct your own analysis by verifying if the candidate utilizes Github. In that case, it would be beneficial to examine their community interactions and review their code submissions.
Instead of solely relying on accreditation or certifications, it is suggested that you appraise a developer’s skills by assigning them a short project or task to execute. This might involve debugging an existing issue or incorporating a new functionality to a program. Additionally, you could invite them to join your team for a collaborative screen sharing and pair programming session. Doing so will enable you to directly witness their aptitude and appraise their performance in a practical context that’s germane to your enterprise.
In Depth: Moving Beyond the Interview
Studies have shown that cultural compatibility is a more dependable indicator of a fruitful partnership than technical ability. To maintain a sense of camaraderie among team members and ensure their ability to contribute to the organization’s success, it is crucial to align their professional aspirations with those of the enterprise. For instance, a candidate who desires to work remotely during traditional office hours has different work habits and values than a digital nomad who prefers a more independent schedule. Even if team members need to convene only once a week for a meeting, it is imperative to devote time in the interview process to clarify working hours and expectations.
Being informed about the diverse resources available to aid remote candidates in performing well during video interviews is crucial. This ensures that the candidate can be seen clearly on a neutral background. If you desire further insight into the candidate, you could request that they conduct the interview from their usual work environment. Furthermore, you could ask for a virtual tour of the candidate’s home office to assess their organizational skills, productivity, and ability to maintain a clear distinction between their personal and professional life. For additional suggestions on how to conduct a successful video or phone interview, please refer to this article.
Different Personas to Consider
In the early days of Apple, when Steve Jobs was leading the recruitment efforts, he required that all potential hires meet with current employees before he made a final decision. While Jobs’ brilliance was widely recognized, unfortunately, this practice of candidate interviews has become standard in the hiring process. The old saying “you can judge a man’s character by how he treats those who can do nothing for him” is becoming increasingly applicable, so candidates are being introduced to members of staff from various departments within the organization to observe how they interact with them.
Acquiring Knowledge from a Distance
The current prevalence of working from home due to the pandemic does not fully represent the concept of remote employment. It is essential to acknowledge that long-term home-based work presents its own distinct impediments and may not be suitable for everyone. Therefore, when hiring a software engineer, it is advisable to seek a candidate with prior remote working experience to ensure they are prepared to undertake the position.
Lack of prior experience in remote work or only recently beginning the practice due to COVID-19 is not necessarily a disqualifier for a candidate. However, it is important to inquire about their approach to handling any potential challenges. Some questions to ask include how they plan to manage distractions, prioritise tasks, and determine their course of action if they require assistance with nobody else around. Requesting that the candidate explain their strategy using a hypothetical scenario is an effective method of evaluating their suitability for a remote work position.
Leave it to the Experts
As specialists in this sector, we are committed to ensuring that businesses like yours are connected with developers and other technical professionals who have undergone a stringent screening process and possess the requisite remote work experience. When we provide you with a candidate’s CV, rest assured that the individual we recommend is not only skilled in their field but also well-suited to your company’s culture and competent in remote working. Moreover, we can assist you with any human resources requirements you might have. If you’re currently seeking IT staff, allow us to lay the groundwork for you.