The facts are powerful. One in four employees will work remotely in 2021.

Although the effects of the pandemic have subsided, many companies are choosing to allow their employees to work remotely, either part of the week or all of the year.

This trend presents employers and job seekers with new challenges.

The employer’s perspective

You may be new to leading a remote team. Or you even prefer it because you also enjoy the many benefits of working from anywhere.

But building, motivating, and rewarding a team with multiple locations (and sometimes multiple time zones) isn’t without its challenges – especially when you’re hiring young graduates.

However, working remotely gives you the opportunity to find and hire the best talent regardless of location. Here are some practical tips.

  • Procurement: Look for candidates who are knowledgeable about online interactions. Take a look at the LinkedIn profiles and pay special attention to the digital communication style and frequency of the candidates. Since you won’t be able to walk down the hall for meetings or questions, you’ll want to find talent who excel at remote interaction.
  • Job interview: Ask lots of questions about situations where someone was working with minimal supervision. (For example: Do you have an example of a time when an employer or professor was unavailable and you had questions about a project?) During ZOOM interviews, pay particular attention to the punctuality, technology readiness and body language of the candidates.
  • Onboarding: Develop a remote training program that enables new hires to meet other team members, learn more about the company, and continuously contact you with any questions. Consider sending a simple welcome gift (such as a meal voucher) to replace a first day lunch or happy hour. Make sure every employee has the right equipment for their job and be ready to invest in the tools they need.
  • Communication: Use cloud-based tools like Monday.com, Google Docs, Slack, Teams, and others to make sure your team communicates regularly. Hold virtual face-to-face meetings at least once a week and encourage everyone to turn on their cameras. New graduates tend to be less proactive in asking questions than seasoned professionals (due to uncertainty or inexperience).
  • Positive reinforcement and celebration of success: You may not be able to take your team to a party if they exceed goals, but you can publicly acknowledge special occasions and individual and team achievements. Do something fun and unexpected and develop “new rituals” for a distant workforce.

Leading a remote team can be a challenge at first. Training and motivating new graduates takes time and dedication and flexibility, to do so in a remote world (especially if you are late for the tech game) is not without its problems. But ultimately, every manager has to adjust to the new work model. Look on the pleasant side. Remote work gives people more balance in their lives. You can source the right talent from across the country (or the world). And many companies report that employees are more productive and happier when they are flexible.

The candidate view

It can be difficult to stand out from thousands of other candidates, especially if you have limited work experience. First, read the employer tips above. In addition:

  • Make sure your LinkedIn profile is excellent. Unfortunately, most schools don’t teach the importance of LinkedIn in making professional connections. Clean up all of your social media profiles to showcase yourself as a true professional and hustler. Use your privacy sessions to hide anything that you don’t want potential employers to see.
  • Prepare yourself optimally for remote interviews. The first impression lasts forever. Be on time, test your technology before you call, and make sure your body language exudes confidence and zeal. Don’t forget to smile and send a thank you at appropriate times.
  • Use LinkedIn to build relationships with these companies and people on your “target list”. Many jobs are never advertised and come from such relationships. Engaging with hiring managers assertively and proactively will help you stand out in a crowded market.
  • Think about the times in your life when you have demonstrated proactivity, independent thinking and responsible time management. Hiring managers will want to know that they don’t have to micro-manage remote workers and that you are a real asset to their team. Use these examples throughout the interview process.

In summary …

Remote work is to be said here and may ultimately be the norm. It takes commitment, willingness and optimism. If you step into it and think, “How can I get this to work?” instead of “This will never work” you have taken the first courageous step.

– Article by Nancy Shenker, the founder and CEO of theONswitch Marketing. Nancy now leads a completely remote team, including a college student and two graduates (including one in Canada). As a former executive in corporate brand marketing, she has managed and mentored hundreds of college graduates and professionals over the course of her career. She is the author of “Don’t Hook Up With the Dude in the Next Cube: 200+ Career Secrets For 20 Somethings”.

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