Key Strategies for Remote Hiring
Here at Trusty Oak, we provide U.S.-based virtual assistant services to busy entrepreneurs with our team of experienced virtual assistants all over the country.
We assist all kinds of businesses, from family-owned shops to CPAs, financial advisors to attorneys, speakers and authors to podcast hosts. We handle administrative and marketing work for our clients so they can focus on their core business, helping them succeed and grow.
We have a team of hard-working, skilled virtual assistants that just keeps growing to support our clients. We often get asked how we find these rockstars, particularly in a remote capacity. Remote hiring can be tricky, but we’ve found some key strategies that have helped us grow our team to over 30 assistants. Throughout 2019, we’re hiring around 2-3 assistants per month to keep up with incoming client needs.
Whether you’re working on building your own remote team or are simply curious about Trusty Oak’s hiring process, this blog post will give a brief overview of how we do things. We’ve identified some key strategies and tools that help us determine whether an applicant is a good fit for remote work with Trusty Oak—here’s how it works.
Finding the Right People
First of all, we get applicants in two main ways: either through organic search or referrals. No matter how an applicant finds us, they submit their resume and information through the form on our website.
While we’re always accepting applications, we do hire based on clients’ needs. This means we often have wonderful applicants who may “sit” in our hiring pipeline for a while until we have a client need that matches their availability and skill set, but we work hard to keep these individuals updated so they never feel forgotten.
We use our HubSpot CRM to keep track of all applicants. We’re careful to keep in close contact with all qualified applicants and have systems in place to make sure no one falls through the cracks. We identify any specialties, expertise areas, and general skills by asking the applicant to complete a self-assessment.
Related: Tools for Remote Onboarding and Hiring
Strategies for Remote Interviewing
Once we’ve identified an applicant who we’d like to move forward with, we start the screening and interview process. The goal of our screening process is to get a full picture of the candidate in all forms of communication available in a remote capacity—email, phone, and video interview—as well as a detailed background check. We look for key things throughout the application process, including good communication, responsiveness, and professionalism. We know how applicants communicate and interact with us is a good indicator of how they will be with clients.
Phone interview: We begin with an initial phone interview to get a feel for the applicant’s professionalism and values. We use the first phone interview as an opportunity to review their resume and goals. We start with asking about a candidate’s long-term goals before we ever dig into experience and skills. This is an intentional choice to see if we align in shared values and goals first before worrying about skill set. If both parties feel good about the phone interview, we move on to a video interview.
Video interview: Since we’re remote, the video interview is a crucial step. Video calls allow you to get to know someone a little faster, see how they present themselves, and get a glimpse into their communication style. This interview helps us gauge how the applicant will handle video-based client interactions, as well.
Reference checks: After the video interview, we follow through with checking on references. We don’t leave it open-ended with references, either: we ask some very specific questions. We send out a TypeForm survey with several questions and carefully consider the answers.
Background check: Finally, we do background checks through a wonderful company called Verified First. It’s a fair-priced, thorough background screening. We have fast and accurate background information on all of our applicants before they start working with clients.
Mentoring a Remote Hire
One of the unique things about Trusty Oak—one that virtual assistants consistently rave about—is our mentorship program. Once a VA is hired with Trusty Oak, we take the time to get them trained and confident by pairing each new hire with one of our existing team members. This peer-to-peer mentoring gives the new VA a chance to ask questions and get acquainted with someone on the team. We may be remote, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have team building, mentorship, and collaboration.
We use Slack, Trello, Zoom, and Loom throughout the onboarding and initial training process to make the new hire feel welcome. Every tool we use furthers our goal of personalizing and connecting the experience for our team members. We have VAs in the UK, some who travel abroad, and others scattered across the U.S., but we strive to keep a feeling of connectedness with our internal processes and tools.
Related: Use Loom to Create a Winning Culture Within Your Remote Team
Finally, we have regular check-ins and mentorship in our processes for all team members. When a new VA has finished their onboarding and their formal peer-to-peer mentorship is over, they’re not on their own. Each VA is assigned to an account manager who checks in monthly and offers support, problem-solving, and coaching. Our virtual assistants do a great job of keeping a pulse on how things are going with a client and work closely with their account managers to identify delegation and growth opportunities.
Remote hiring doesn’t have to be an impersonalized, confusing process. With the right tools and a few key strategies, remote hiring can be as straightforward as traditional hiring practices.