Successful ways to recruit and hire remote workers for Permanent & Contract staff

Posted on 4/06/2020 by Diane Scally


Here at Creative Recruitment we have gathered and compiled insights into our client’s current hiring challenges.  We have collated this information into a short guide to help those of you looking to hire remote permanent and contract staff.

Hiring plans
Clients are cautious in planning their business hires for autumn 2020 and beyond.  Digital and ecommerce focused clients have continued in their hiring plans, even during the current lockdown.  Inevitably, some clients have sadly put permanent hires on-hold.   Most clients are now bridging the gaps in staff shortages with contract or interim freelance staff, which has the added advantage of identifying future permanent staff.  

One of the biggest challenges for Business Managers, HR Leaders and Talent Managers during lockdown has been how to hire and engage with staff in this new remote/virtual environment.  

The Interview 
The increase in adopting face-to-face over Skype, Zoom, Teams etc. rather than mobiles and telephones during the lockdown has been significant.  

We are also hearing that clients are utilising virtual office tours and staff videos to engage with prospective hires or remote workers. This is a great way to showcase and introduce a company’s environment, culture and co-workers.

Video Conference
Interviewing remote candidates can seem challenging.  During the interview remember that a candidate may feel more anxious than in an office environment.  Employers need to offer more support and reassurance in these unnerving times.  

Simple planning and preparation will ensure both parties are relaxed to enable a positive natural experience.

  • Outline the format of the interview to the candidate and staff involved.   
  • Ensure that all parties have the relevant software and hardware in place.  
  • Test the sound quality and check the room is well lit.  
  • Check your background for clutter.  
  • Make sure the Wi-Fi or internet connection at your location is reliable to avoid any technical issues

Ensure the interviewers have a consistent assessment / questioning technique to assess the candidates and have the technology to support virtual interviewing.  Implement workarounds to virtual meetings as connectivity issues might be an issue on the day.  Ensure telephone / mobile numbers are gained as a technical backup.  It is worth having a colleague to take notes during the interview to enable you to evaluate eye contact and body language without interruption.  

If the role is a creative position and requires a portfolio, it would be pertinent to have questions on any individual pieces of work to hand to discuss with the candidate during the video interview.

While it may require patience, effort, support and planning as a company you will benefit from hiring the right candidate.  Instigate and explain the remote structure for the lock down period. 

It is worth remembering that not all permanent employees are suited for remote careers and it might be worth considering candidates for a contractual period.  

Clients stressed the importance of these skillsets in the candidates they are hiring: 

  • independent
  • motivated
  • trustworthy
  • intelligent
  • creative in their approach
  • tech savvy

Remember that a highly skilled worker who may thrive in an office environment may not always have the motivational skills to work remotely in isolation.   Find out a candidate's prior experience and challenges working remotely.  Ask for specific scenarios when they have worked independently, strategies they have used to manage their time, or an example of when they were responsible for proactively communicating the status on a project.  How they handle distractions and interruptions. 

Establish if a candidate is technically set up for remote work as they may require hardware or software to achieve your goals.  Explain company work hours, rest periods and the importance of screen / work breaks for the mental and physical wellbeing.


The Job Description
The job description is now a key tool within the hiring process.  Not only to give the candidate an exact outline of the position, it needs to convey the companies brand, ethos and core values.  It is now more crucial than ever that the job description is not only informative, concise but with no ambiguity surrounding the position to target the finest talent for their vacancy and business growth as well as to ensure a seamless and happy hire. 

This is the perfect time to review old job descriptions.  Change the tone of voice and update information on your brand to include your companies mission statement, goals and objectives. 

Include your company policy for and during the lockdown period to explain how the position will be structured for the successful applicant.  What you as a business will put in place during and after the lockdown for their initial first few weeks and months of employment.  Who will be the candidates mentors / line managers, HR contacts?  How you have prepared or are preparing for when social distancing restrictions are in place and the bright future of life outside of lockdown! 

Remember to include in your job description information relating to:

  • Company culture.
  • Brand within the marketplace.
  • The company’s long-term strategy and overall goals and objectives if not included with your mission statement.
  • How this position fits within the company / group possibly include a company structure.
  • Career progression.
  • How the candidate will be assessed during and after lockdown including appraisals, key performance targets.
  • Company benefits.
  • Company training.
  • Probationary period (and what this will look like now).

Pre-employment checks including right to work checks 
This checklist gives a brief overview of basic employment checks.  Some Employers carry out pre-employment checks before or after offering a contract or permanent employment.

Right to work in the UK are a legal requirement to be completed before the new employee commences employment. Right to work in the UK original copies of their passport, visa or biometric residence permit. For further information see Home Office and Immigration Enforcement 

Identity checks:

  • original copies of their passport, birth certificate or driving licence
  • a bank statement or utility bill to confirm their name and where they live
  • a Certificate of Registration, or a Biometric Residence Permit, and / or immigration documents where relevant.

Criminal record checks (if required by company) – the main one is now called a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check


Remote Welcome / On-boarding
We are hearing that new hires are being onboarded with virtual welcome drinks / lunches; as well as one-to-one and one to team meetings. New recruits are being added to internal marketing literature / mailers to welcome them to the company.   

Delayed Starts
Some companies are appointing candidates with a delayed start date.  Whilst this is understandable from the business perspective, a company could run the risk to losing a quality candidate, so it is crucial that the delay is explained, not too lengthy and candidate engagement is planned.


Finally, if you are at all unsure of how to tackle the challenges outlined above and want to ensure you successfully hire top talent remotely during this pandemic and beyond, please get in touch to discuss how Creative Recruitment can be of help 

via email or 
call us on 0207 247 3458.