4 Tips for Recruiting the Remote Workforce in a Post-COVID-19 World


In the blink of an eye, the threat of COVID-19 turned the concept of the remote workforce from a pipe dream to a necessary reality. Within a few weeks, over 16 million U.S. knowledge workers switched from office to remote work in an effort to flatten the curve. While the shift to remote working was rapid, it also felt inevitable—in fact, even before organizations were adapting to pandemic conditions, employee demand for remote working opportunities grew by 44% in the last five years alone. And many workplaces who needed to adapt quickly have found themselves likely to continue to cultivate a remote workforce. A recent Gartner poll shows that 74% of CFOs expect to move previously onsite employees remote, even after the height of the COVID-19 crisis has passed.

The remote workforce is here to stay, and it will be more important than ever for staffing firms to identify and source candidates who will succeed in an ever-changing environment. Here are four tips that will give you a competitive edge when recruiting the best candidates for a remote workforce. 

Tip #1: Identify candidates that have the soft skills needed to succeed

The top fear reported by employers is that remote workers will be less productive and communicative on the job compared to when they were in office. While the hard skills for a specific job will stay roughly the same—whether an employee is in office or working remote—soft skills can have an immediate impact on how successful your remote workers will be in a remote work environment. Some of those key soft-skills include:

  • Ability to work independently and manage time effectively: While some employees flourish under regular supervision to meet deadlines, others prefer to work independently and manage their own schedule. Identifying a candidate’s working style is key to understanding their ability to manage their day.
  • Ability to communicate and collaborate well with others: With so many forms of communication (chat, video conference, email, phone) it’s even more important that candidates are able to communicate clearly and efficiently to keep businesses running as normal.
  • Tech-savvy: Does the candidate feel comfortable with the technology they need to use to be successful when working remotely?  If an issue arises, can they react and troubleshoot to either fix the issue themselves or get help for fast resolution?
  • Self-motivated and takes initiative: Without direct oversight by an onsite manager, candidates must be willing and able to problem solve and take initiative to look for creative solutions to problems that may arise day-to-day

Tip #2: Ensure right-fit placements by building an assessment framework

An individual who works remotely is someone who works outside of a traditional office environment without in-person, direct supervision. These types of roles can include not only remote office jobs where employees work at home, but such occupations as truck drivers, traveling nurses, and virtually ANYTHING where an employee works without direct, in-person supervision. How can you possibly assess candidate soft skills (and hard skills) across such a wide range of job types?

It is easier than you might think. The best way to assess candidates for soft skills is to evaluate their behavior based on their past performance in recent jobs. By implementing an online reference checking solution like Bullhorn Marketplace Partner SkillSurvey into your hiring process, you can quickly and easily get data-driven insights on your candidate’s past performance to help your clients make more informed hiring decisions. SkillSurvey’s team of I/O psychologists have created hundreds of job-specific, competency-based surveys that map to the soft skills that are critical for success in each role. Feedback on these competencies is provided by the candidate’s references, who give you reliable insights from personal experiences—having observed how candidates exhibited these traits in past roles. Plus, SkillSurvey will be rolling out a new “ability to work remotely” cluster that will further shine a light on those skills needed to succeed in a remote work environment.

Tip #3: Source proven all-stars

Remote working will also present new opportunities for sourcing candidates. Many candidates may have been hesitant to physically relocate for a position before COVID-19. However, now that many positions are becoming remote, recruiters will now have a larger pool of candidates to choose from when sourcing for these roles. Organizations are also planning to “expand their use of contingent workers to maintain more flexibility in workforce management post-COVID-19” according to a recent Gartner analysis, which means recruiters will also be responsible for filling large numbers of nonstandard roles as companies adapt.

Now more than ever, speed is of the essence. It’s important for recruiters to have access to a pipeline of quality talent so they can match the right candidate to the right opportunity—fast. SkillSurvey Source does just that. Since we know strong candidates know other strong candidates, SkillSurvey Source allows you to invite references—and even referrals—to join your talent pool. An easy-to-use smart dashboard allows recruiters to visualize up-to-date candidate information and gives recruiters the power to save specific pipelines based on key criteria. Now you have a customizable, powerful talent database at your fingertips.

Tip #4: Integrate your tech stack to meet shifting timelines

While some organizations in the US are reopening their offices for the first time, others are just beginning to see COVID-19 spikes in their communities. Staffing firms will find themselves consistently needing to adjust to the shifting timelines that are being provided by their clients as they respond to local government safety requirements. In order to be as efficient as possible, it is incredibly important that firms are integrating as much of their tech stack as possible to create agile processes. SkillSurvey integrates seamlessly with your Bullhorn ATS & CRM, allowing you to assess a candidate’s ability to work remotely without adding any extra time to your day.

Sign up for a demo webinar to learn more about how SkillSurvey can give you a competitive advantage when recruiting candidates for a remote workforce.

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