July 16, 2020

Vishal Tiwari

Beyond Skills: How to Make Great Remote Hires

Hiring remote, global talent can be challenging. The usual signals you rely on when hiring in-person don’t apply. Educational credentials, past companies worked for, and locations may not be as recognizable making candidate comparison problematic.

So how do you make sure a remote prospect is up to the task and won’t simply slow you down?

Overcoming sourcing challenges with rigorous vetting

When the usual means of identifying talent are likely to fail you, a new process is required. At Attain, we’re working to solve this problem with a system that provides unbiased feedback about a candidate’s skills in all of the areas critical for their remote-work success.

The foundation of this approach is a highly structured vetting process that incorporates sophisticated automated testing as well as detailed, in-person technical screening.

Our testing aims to determine key facts about the experience, skills, motivations, and professional level of a candidate. For example, one interviewed developer may prove to only support accomplishing scoped, individual tasks while another shows to go beyond and build in a way that takes into account the full technical stack of an application. Rigorous testing shows this difference and provides for accurate matching with client requirements.

Identifying analysts, managers, and project leaders

One of the key issues in hiring is understanding seniority and leadership capabilities. Though they can be related, they are both distinct qualities in a candidate. Using interview questions alone to determine actual levels of seniority or leadership could be slippery.

Seniority is first determined by years of experience in a discipline or field—though you quickly realize that it cannot solely be based on the number of years that you’ve done something. The quality of that experience also needs to be taken into consideration.

Did you do the work in a complex—or a simple environment? Was it large or small? Were challenges thrown at you constantly that caused you to grow—or was it routine, and “easy?” Did you have to do your work independently, or was there a team, or support structure around you? How much independent or novel thought did you have to conjure and use in those years? Did you just workin your role for one company, in one environment, or multiple companies in multiple environments? Did you see projects through from inception to post-launch—or were you only brought in for certain aspects of them? What problems did you encounter—how did you solve them—and what did you learn that can be applied to other problems?

In technical fields, seniority can be judged on the basis of being able to provide multiple novel technical solutions to a problem—contrasted with one or two purely academic solutions. Being able to anticipate downstream problems or pitfalls for your proposed solutions also can demonstrate a level of seniority. Using a breadth of ancillary tools to solve problems helps also distinguish a senior person from one more junior.

In hiring, sometimes we use “seniority” to reflect a level of maturity or level of judgement that the candidate reflects. To test this we use a myriad of tools including:

1) Assessing Cognitive Ability

Cognitive ability is the number one predictor of job performance across all employment levels and industries. Cognitive ability assessments are a form of pre-employment testing used to evaluate how well candidates use a wide range of mental processes, such as working with numbers, abstract thinking, problem-solving, reading comprehension and learning agility.

Our cognitive skills assessments include a mixture of gamified assessments like puzzles, codebreakers, and pathfinding games and are highly effective method for predicting job success.

2) Evaluating Learning Agility

Evaluating learning agility is another effective employee selection in the recruiting process. American author, Alvin Toffler, broke down learning agility well when he said:

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”

In other words, learning agility is the ability to be in a new situation, not know how to handle it and then figure it out anyway. An agile learner can apply his or her past learnings to new scenarios that they have yet to experience.Learning agility is a crucial ability that you can measure to gain a true understanding of how applicants function and adapt in ever-evolving work environments.

3)   Testing Situational Judgement

Another great way to enhance employee selection is to assess situational judgement. SituationalJudgement Tests present candidates with various scenarios that they might experience if they’re selected for the specific role they’re applying for.At Attain, we’ve worked with our clients to come up with typical tasks on the job and assess how well applicants prioritize, follow instruction, and handle these situations.

4)   Remote Culture Fit

Previously, “cultural fit” covered a myriad of dimensions of an organization’s culture but much of the discussion post-Covid has moved to “remote fit” as an integral component of fit. Ensuring someone has good work ethic, collaborates well in a distributed team, proactively communicates and assesses problems, and can work in your time zone has become the foremost criteria for remote friendly and remote-first organizations.

More from Attain