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Virtual Assistants

Onboarding Tools for Remote Teams: Enhance Your Hiring Process Today

Outsourcing Tips

Knowing the right onboarding tools to use in your business is key to the successful integration of new hires. Equipped with this knowledge, our aim is that you can choose the tools that will make your job easier, too.

The Need for Specialized Onboarding Tools in Remote Work

Remote onboarding presents unique challenges that traditional in-person onboarding systems may not be able to handle. Specialized onboarding tools can be a game-changer in overcoming these hurdles and providing a smooth integration experience for new hires. 

Challenges of Remote Onboarding

  • Not being physically present, remote hires can feel more isolated and struggle to build relationships with colleagues.
  • Virtual communication can be less natural, and a lack of effective communication can hinder productive collaboration.
  • Managers can experience greater difficulty in assessing the progress of virtual team members because of the physical gap. They may also have trouble gauging how well remote hires are grasping information, engaging, and adjusting to the remote work culture.
  • Facilitating a consistent onboarding experience across different locations and time zones can be difficult.

How Specialized Onboarding Tools Help

Specialized tools that focus on effective onboarding can spell the difference between the success and failure of your programs. Below are some of the areas they improve.

Connection and Engagement

Tools can make virtual team-building activities not only possible but really engaging. Robust online communities with digital social features help break the ice, foster a sense of belonging, and encourage healthier relationships.

Gamification elements can increase engagement even further, motivating hires throughout the onboarding process.

Communication and Collaboration

Onboarding platforms offer features like video conferencing, instant messaging, and task management tools. These elements streamline communication and collaboration among remote team members, trainers, and managers.

Learning and Progress Tracking

Digital tools provide everyone with access to a centralized repository of training materials and documentation. The tools also track progress through onboarding milestones so you can identify areas needing improvement faster and more easily.

Onboarding Workflows

Onboarding software automates workflows, which ensures a consistent onboarding experience for all hires, regardless of location or manager. This means that everyone gets the necessary information and completes essential tasks.

Learning Paths

Some tools offer features that personalize the onboarding experience based on role and department. This is effective in keeping new hires focused on the most relevant information and skills needed for success.

Types of Onboarding Tools

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Onboarding Management Platforms

Centralized onboarding platforms manage the entire process, automate tasks, and provide a structured learning environment with personalized dashboards. They also take care of document management to ensure better legal compliance.

Learning Management Systems (LMS)

LMSs are software applications for delivering learning. Companies use them for educational courses, training programs, and ongoing development programs. They basically cover administering, organizing, tracking, reporting, and automating for learning.

Also referred to as a Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs), LMSs offer a library of elearning modules, courses, and assessments. The goal is to deliver structured and measurable training content.

Social Collaboration Tools

Project management and collaboration tools for team integration don’t have to be boring. With social components, collaboration and performance tracking can be less menacing and more enjoyable.

When communication tools have a more social feel, remote hires can more easily maintain connections and build culture. They still work effectively, and maybe even become more productive because they feel less stressed.

Platforms like Slack or Microsoft Teams, for example, are both fun and facilitate real-time communication and team building.

Key Features to Look for in Onboarding Tools

Two women talking to each other over a video call using a laptop.

The tool you choose should fit your company’s specific needs. These are just a few of our suggestions, so evaluate their importance to you, and choose wisely.

  1. A user-friendly interface and accessibility is important so new hires focus on important tasks and not learning the tool.
  2. Having integration capabilities with existing systems helps you to seamlessly go from onboarding to actual work.
  3. With scalability and customization options, you can easily make the changes you need to continually improve your onboarding program.
  4. Any tool you use should have robust security and data protection features.
  5. Look for tools with integrated support features and a resource library for users.

Top Onboarding Tools for Remote Teams

HR Tools

Workday

Workday is a cloud-based software platform designed to help medium to large-sized organizations manage human resources and financial processes. It offers a comprehensive suite of features that automate and streamline tasks like payroll, talent management, and financial reporting.

BambooHR

BambooHR is a cloud-based human resources information system (HRIS) specifically for small and medium-sized businesses. It offers a user-friendly platform to manage core HR tasks.

Rippling

Rippling is an all-in-one, scalable HR platform for small and medium businesses with growth in mind. 

Comparative Analysis of Workday, BambooHR, and Rippling

Comparative Analysis of Workday, BambooHR, and Rippling.

Learning Management Systems

Moodle

Moodle is an open-source Learning Management System (LMS) for creating online courses, delivering educational content, and tracking learner progress. Youmay need some technical knowledge to operate this platform. 

SAP Litmos

Litmos is a cloud-based Learning Management System (LMS) designed to help organizations deliver and manage online training programs. 

Comparative Analysis of Moodle and SAP Litmos

Comparative Analysis of Moodle and SAP Litmos.

Collaboration Tools

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based collaboration platform. Although it was designed for businesses using Microsoft 365, anyone can use it. It integrates communication, chat, meetings, file sharing, and task management into a central hub. 

Slack

Slack is a cloud-based collaboration and communication platform designed to streamline internal communication and teamwork, streamlining workflows. 

Comparative Analysis of Microsoft Teams and Slack

Comparative Analysis of Microsoft Teams and Slack.

Video Conferencing Tools

Zoom

Zoom is a cloud-based video conferencing platform for virtual meetings, webinars, and online events. 

Google Meet

Google Meet is a cloud-based video conferencing service from Google. It allows users to conduct virtual meetings and presentations, and collaborate online. 

Comparative Analysis of Zoom and Google Meet

Comparative Analysis of Zoom and Google Meet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can small businesses benefit from investing in onboarding tools, or are they more suited for larger organizations?

Small businesses can reap significant benefits from onboarding tools.

With lean or nonexistent HR departments, they can use tools to automate tasks like paperwork and initial training. This frees up valuable time for managers to focus on other priorities, like providing a more welcoming experience for new hires.

Onboarding tools help companies offer a consistent experience for every new hire. This helps when you have significant time gaps between hires and have different people training them. 

New hires can get up to speed quicker when they have easy access to pre-recorded training materials and other resources. This means they can become productive members of the team sooner.

Tools specifically created for onboarding intentionally target the needs of new hires. Using them fosters greater satisfaction and engagement. Studies show that strong onboarding programs can improve retention and productivity significantly

What’s the average cost range for comprehensive onboarding tools, and are there affordable options for startups?

The cost of these tools varies widely depending mostly on features and number of users. 

Some basic tools offer limited features for free so businesses can test them out. As your business grows, you can think about moving to platforms with higher levels of automation and customization. You won’t normally need a special tool until you develop a robust onboarding process.

Other tools have freemium plans that you can upgrade as needed. This is very useful since most businesses will develop onboarding incrementally. 

Paid onboarding software typically costs from $30-$50 per user per month. The more comprehensive plans can cost up to $100 or more per user per month. Only use these if you really need the help and it costs less than having a team member handle onboarding.

If you’re concerned about your budget, consider focusing on single-purpose tools that you can use in tandem. Some free tools like Slack or ClickUp actually cover the basics like task management, file sharing, and communication. 

You can also use a combination of free tools. For example, a project management tool like Trello is great for task delegation. Then you can use a separate free tool like Google Docs for document sharing. 

4 Tips on How to Write a Kick Ass Job Post for a VA

Can onboarding tools be integrated with freelance management systems for businesses relying on a mix of regular employees and freelance hires?

Integrating onboarding systems with freelance management tools is actually a powerful combination for businesses with hybrid staff.

Integration standardizes onboarding and effectively collects all the important information on each hire. They can then easily find relevant training materials and communicate with each other seamlessly.

We recommend bringing in-person hires into your virtual system in any case. They can always access virtual resources, and it helps them understand their freelance counterparts better. 

When you have both teams in one system, you save time and effort while encouraging better compliance. You can also enjoy better collaboration because everyone has access to the same project information, communication channels, and other resources.

Key Features

  • Look for tools with customizable onboarding workflows so you can tailor the experience based on roles and project requirements.
  • Make sure you have robust and secure document management to store important documents like contracts, NDAs, and tax forms.
  • Test the communication tools to see if they meet your chat and video conferencing requirements across locations. 

 

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 

Conclusion

The right onboarding tools can make a significant difference in the success of your onboarding program. Make sure to carefully outline your needs and look into tools that offer the feature that you need the most. This can ease the burden on you so you can focus on the areas that are most needed.

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Virtual Assistants

Onboarding vs Orientation: Key Differences Every Virtual Employer Should Know

People at a table working on laptops.

Knowing the difference between onboarding vs orientation can help you greatly improve your system for bringing in new hires.

In this post, we’ll take you through what each process involves to help you distinguish them. We’ll also go over how to integrate these processes into your systems for more successful virtual hiring.

Onboarding: A Comprehensive Process

Onboarding is the process of integrating new hires into a company, helping them adjust to the new environment. 

The goal of this process is for new hires to become familiar with the company culture, mission, and goals. It should be a smooth and positive experience, leading to increased productivity, engagement, and retention.

Some onboarding activities include:

  • Completing official paperwork 
  • Attending orientation sessions
  • Learning about the company’s products or services
  • Shadowing colleagues and completing training
  • Meeting team members
  • Setting up work accounts and profiles for tools
  • Connecting to support resources 

Key Components of Effective Virtual Onboarding

Four men laughing while freelancing together

Virtual onboarding requires a well-structured approach to ensure that new hires feel welcome, informed, and connected. The following key components can help you create a program that sets new hires up for success.

Pre-Boarding

Before the first day of orientation, consider sending new hires a welcome package. You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot of money sending them company swag. However, a personalized note to go along with your handbook or training materials builds excitement and gets them prepared.

Plan to make the first day of orientation special. Be intentionally welcoming and encourage connection. For example, you can have three key team members come on to personally encourage new hires. This helps to foster a sense of belonging right from the start.

Structured Learning

Take the time to organize training and development plans so new hires have a clear roadmap for learning. Offer a mix of online resources so they can learn at their own pace in addition to live sessions.

Schedule separate virtual introductions with managers and mentors to help new hires understand their role within the larger team. This is a good time to introduce the buddy system, where someone is assigned to answer questions and provide informal support.

Intersperse learning times with team engagement activities where you can facilitate connection with other team members. This doesn’t only break up the monotony, but also integrates them with the team and company culture faster.

Communication and Feedback

Maintain open communication channels and regularly check in with new hires. Encourage them to ask questions and let them know you love feedback. Make sure they know who to approach, too.

The Role of Technology in Virtual Onboarding 

A person with documents and a pen typing on a laptop.

A variety of digital tools and platforms play a critical role in facilitating effective virtual, or remote onboarding. Some exist specifically to help virtual team members overcome the physical distance barrier. They help managers to create a smooth integration experience.

Streamlining

Technology bridges the gap by automating administrative tasks. This frees up HR professionals to focus on the more strategic aspects of onboarding.

Virtual onboarding tools support these aspects by facilitating clear and consistent communication among the parties involved.

Engagement 

Advanced tools allow virtual teams to engage in interactive learning and team building experiences. They also make it easier to track progress and revisit sections as needed.

Modern collaboration tools help new hires connect with colleagues remotely in a way that fosters a sense of team spirit.

Performance Tracking

You can use technology to track progress through onboarding milestones and provide feedback mechanisms. These help you assess learning and identify areas where virtual hires need additional support.

Orientation: The First Step in Onboarding

Orientation is actually the initial step in the longer onboarding process. This is where new hires get acquainted with the company and their role. 

Onboarding vs orientation can be tricky. Onboarding focuses on a wider range of activities specific to the role and long-term success. Orientation, in contrast, focuses on general company information. 

For instance, as mentioned above, new hires get a broad overview of the company culture, mission, and values. Orientation also covers company policies, benefits, and administrative procedures. This is also where you make initial introductions to the team and key contacts.

Integrating Onboarding and Orientation into Your Virtual Hiring Strategy

Avoid Disappearing Virtual Assistants with executive assistant tools.

The easiest way to develop a seamless transition is to set expectations that distinguish onboarding vs orientation. Orientation usually takes only an hour or so. Tell new hires that you’ll give them a brief overview of everything. Anything after this will be part of onboarding.

Start orientation with a warm welcome and introductions to key people. Then, run through your remote company culture, just for awareness.

Don’t worry about being brief. You can get better integration results later by engaging new hires in various activities infused with your company culture. These activities happen throughout the onboarding process . 

Move into getting new hires access to any systems they need to use. Then set clear expectations for their role and responsibilities. Let them know what you want to see from them after the first few weeks and months on the job.

Onboarding will, then, follow smoothly as you conduct other meetings and begin the activities. 

Virtual Onboarding vs Orientation Customizations

Here are some tips for translating in-person orientation and onboarding for virtual teams:

Video Resources

  • Take advantage of video tools to send personalized welcome clips instead of just emailing a note. You can also send an animated virtual card, of course, with some music. This can supplement your initial welcome message.
  • Schedule virtual coffee chats to build rapport and answer questions in an informal setting. Encourage new hires to bring their favorite snack and drink and share about them to break the ice.
  • Include virtual recognition programs to celebrate new hires’ achievements and contributions to the team.
  • Virtual onboarding can actually be more effective because you can clearly separate learning times from getting-to-know-you sessions.
  • Pre-recorded training modules give new hires better opportunities to go through the material when it’s conducive for them.

Live Video Calls

  • If you have a physical office, don’t eliminate the office tour for virtual hires. You can either create a video or take them through the departments on a live video call. Have teams greet them like anyone coming in person to make them really feel like they’re part of it all.
  • Host live meetings like Q&A sessions so new hires can connect with leadership, ask questions, and raise any pressing concerns.
  • Don’t rely solely on documents with bios and contact information to introduce existing team members. Facilitate introductions through video calls so they get a more personal experience.
  • Even if you have pre-recorded training materials, always schedule video calls to address questions and discuss progress and challenges. Live demonstrations help a lot for new tools to ensure new hires feel comfortable using them.

Communication

Be clear and consistent with communication because virtual environments can lead to information gaps. Use asynchronous communication tools like chat and project management platforms to facilitate information sharing.

Check in with team members more often because you won’t be able to do random visual assessments. Let virtual hires know you care about their well-being and provide support for maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Standard Operating Procedures for an executive assistant job description.

How can I measure the effectiveness of my virtual orientation program?

You can use quantitative and qualitative data to measure the effectiveness of your virtual orientation program.

Quantitative Data

  1. Track how long new hires spend on each module of the program. This helps you track engagement and interest as well as areas that might be too long or lack detail.
  2. Track the average scores of hires on any quizzes or knowledge checks you give throughout the program. This can help you assess knowledge retention and identify areas for improvement.
  3. Track attendance at ongoing events to see which participants find them valuable.

Qualitative Data

  1. Gather feedback after the program to understand the overall experience, the clarity of the information presented, and collect suggestions for improvement.
  2. Monitor ongoing feedback through team managers to understand the general sentiment of comments and discussions in the workplace. 

How long should the onboarding process last for virtual hires?

The ideal onboarding process length varies depending on what your team members need. Generally speaking, it can be from one week to about a month, with periodic check-ins throughout the year. 

A company with a strong, collaborative culture might require a longer onboarding process. Virtual hires working closely with established teams may also need additional time to get integrated. 

Roles with steeper learning curves or more technical requirements might also need more time for proper training. This also applies when learning new tools.

Can we skip the orientation phase if the hire is experienced?

In some cases, the orientation phase of onboarding for a virtual hire can be shortened for experienced hires. We do not recommend, however, that you skip it entirely. 

Even experienced hires need to learn about your company’s specific culture, policies, procedures, and tools. Orientation also helps virtual hires meet their team members and understand the dynamics of working with them.

Orientation covers important best practices and expectations within teams for communication, time management, etc. It also covers other role-specific information or workflows unique to your company.

 

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 

Conclusion

Knowing the key differences between onboarding vs orientation can help get new hires properly integrated into the team. Equipped with this knowledge, every virtual employer can guide new hires to high performance and job satisfaction smoothly and quickly.

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Virtual Assistants

Onboarding Training Strategies to Effectively Train Your Virtual Hires

People sitting around a table writing in notebooks and listening to another person.

What is onboarding training and why is it an essential part of the hiring process?

The reality is that freelancers, independent contractors, and other remote hires can be great workers. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will automatically be a good fit for your company culture or a team player. 

A proper onboarding process goes a long way to bridge that gap, and that’s what we’re exploring here. 

Why Onboarding Training is Crucial for Virtual Teams

Impact on productivity and retention

People tend to work better if they have all the information and tools they need to get the job done. 

Onboarding is a means of setting hires up for success so that they can be a valuable member to the team. Proper training and engagement also helps them integrate smoother and identify with company vision and values.

The lack of such processes is a contributing factor to higher turnover and low worker retention rates. 

Building a strong company culture remotely

This refers to the beliefs, attitudes, values, and behaviors that govern company operations. Onboarding serves to orient remote hires about how to relate to clients, interact internally, and ‌conduct business in general.

Proper integration, team building, and support are essential to foster a healthy, happy, and collaborative environment for all. 

Understanding the Unique Challenges of Virtual Onboarding

Two women talking to each other over a video call using a laptop.

Overcoming communication barriers

One of the things the past few years has made apparent is the challenges of remote communication. Assign communication protocols and collaboration tools and software for each team member to use. 

Ensuring technology readiness

Make sure everyone knows how to use proprietary software and any company or industry specific tools that you use most often. These can include bookkeeping software, time trackers, editing and design tools, and client communication and collaboration software.

Creating a sense of belonging and team cohesion

Managing a remote team is more than just ensuring they get the job done by the deadline. 

A good coach knows that introducing a new player doesn’t mean the team improves right away, however skilled that player may be. They need to learn each other’s play styles and adjust accordingly. 

You can help them integrate by introducing them to the team as early in the process as possible. Get them familiar with their roles, what each member contributes, and how they communicate. You can also host team building meetings and fun days. 

Key Components of Successful Onboarding Training Programs

Two people at a table laughing in front of a laptop.

Pre-onboarding preparations

You need to begin by setting clear expectations and preparing all the necessary resources. Be ready to provide a breakdown of the tasks and the scope of work for this position. Prepare the tools and software. Notify and prepare the team and managers for the hire. 

Structured onboarding process

Aside from the task list, you also need to effectively communicate timelines, activities, and milestones. These are the goals, objectives, and key checkpoints where you can set up meetings to track progress, receive feedback, and do temperature checks.

Integration of company values and culture

This is something that you should do even during the interview process. It’s about letting hires know the company’s beliefs and how you expect them to conduct themselves in light of that.

This includes how they should communicate to colleagues and clients and how they handle mistakes and conflicts. By setting this expectation, they also know how relaxed or professional you expect them to be. 

Continuous support and feedback mechanisms

It’s important to provide point persons and emphasize standard communication lines. That way, hires have the support they need if they come across barriers or have follow-up questions.  

Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Your Virtual Onboarding Training Program

Creating your program from the ground up is tough, especially if you don’t have experience with remote hiring. You can use this guide as a template to create your own personalized, optimized process for your company. 

Avoid Disappearing Virtual Assistants with executive assistant tools.

Pre-Onboarding Phase

What to communicate before the first day

This involves, but is not limited to:

  • Finalizing the hiring documentation, including onboarding documents
  • Going over the list of duties and responsibilities
  • Asking additional questions that you may not have been able to during the interview process 

Setting up technology and access

This includes login information (usernames and passwords) so they can access the appropriate accounts, software, and tools. 

The First Week: Orientation and Foundations

Welcome activities and ice-breakers

This part is mostly about building rapport. Here, the one in charge of onboarding leads the introductions and may host games and team familiarization/ team building activities. 

Overview of company, mission, and culture

The next part involves providing more information about the company. This includes:

  • Type of company and industry
  • Company history 
  • Specific long and short-term goals and objectives
  • How the company plans to attain them
  • Company beliefs and values 

Initial training sessions and resources

The first few training sessions focus more on role orientation and familiarization with tools and software. They act as an overview of general roles, responsibilities and relationships between other job roles. 

An older man giving a thumbs up to a younger man on a video call.

The First Month: Role-Specific Training and Integration

Detailed job role training

This involves more in-depth training related to specific tasks, skillsets, and applied knowledge. This is where you train them on specific methods and processes they need to implement. 

Assigning a mentor or buddy

Think about it like a customer service representative. They help with navigating services and are readily available to answer questions customers may have about or around their purchase.

Just like a CS rep, an onboarding guide acts in the best interest of both the company and the hire. They can not only help with their transition into the company but also help build rapport and exemplify a spirit of collaborative growth. 

Regular check-ins and feedback

There are multiple reasons you would do this:

  • It gives you an opportunity to check if their work meets the job prompt and company standards. 
  • It can reveal potential gaps in your training process. 
  • You provide a space where your hires can inquire and contribute via constructive criticism. 
  • You can ask them about their experience with the company so far and if they have comments on how to improve your onboarding process. 

Ongoing Development and Engagement

Continuing education opportunities

Keep your hires updated on any training opportunities within or outside the company. These can include seminars, webinars, free training on new trends or software updates, and other resources like blogs and business podcasts.

By investing in your hires, you are investing in both the quality and care given towards the output. 

Creating channels for communication and feedback

If you don’t have one already, you should set up a way for your hires to communicate with their mentors or managers.

Give them a space to ask questions, relay concerns, and offer suggestions. This can be through Trello, email, Slack, etc. 

Encouraging social interaction among team members

This involves creating an environment that fosters collaboration, relationship and community. You can do this through regularly scheduled team checkups and even company game days. 

Common Pitfalls to Avoid in Virtual Onboarding Training

5 hands piled on top of each other as a symbol of teamwork.

Insufficient preparation and support

A lot of the time, companies focus their resources solely looking for the right hire. While important, there is a need to prepare them for the role.

A skilled actor still relies on the director and their vision to produce the expected results. When you don’t give your workers the right information, tools, resources, or communication channels, the logical conclusion is poor performance.

However, that isn’t necessarily fully on the workers’ end. Just like actors working with poorly written scripts, they can only act upon what you give them. 

Overloading information

We get it. Business must go on. The sooner you can get working on projects, the better. However, make sure workers have enough time to learn and process all the onboarding training you’re giving them.

Otherwise, it’s the equivalent of forcing a student to cram before giving them an exam. It’s a risk that can’t guarantee excellent performance and doesn’t help them in the long-term. 

Neglecting company culture and hiring engagement

Company culture provides a level of cohesion that unites people towards a common goal with a set of operating standards. Failure to communicate this to people you intend to bring onto a team will most likely create friction and delays. 

You also have to consider morale. If your new hire feels like the odd man out, that can lead to tension, poor performance, and even turnover. It can also lower the morale of the entire team by disrupting the workflow. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best practices for conducting virtual onboarding for a global team with different time zones?

When working with hires from various time zones, adjusting is a given. It’s important to communicate with your team and find a compromise for synchronous meetings. You can also try recording meetings or set multiple meetings based on time zones. 

How often should we update our virtual onboarding training program?

We recommend looking over it as often as you hire someone. Because every person is different, you will likely find areas in need of improvement with each training. Alternatively, you could change it if/when hires provide constructive suggestions during a feedback session. 

What are some creative ways to make virtual onboarding more engaging and less transactional?

Here are two suggestions:

  • Gameify it through methods like interactive quizzes covering company history, facts about the founders/members, etc.
  • Use storytelling and visual guides like slide presentations and infographics 

Note that this is pure opinion and there really isn’t a true right or wrong way to make it engaging. We say go for whichever you enjoy or what best fits your company culture and environment you wish to foster. 

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 

Conclusion

An onboarding training program is more important than some realize. It helps transition hires smoother and gives them a better sense of belonging. Through this process, hires become better prepared and motivated to continue working and growing alongside their team and your company, 

Was this helpful? Check out more from us if you’re interested in learning more about outsourcing and hiring tips.

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Virtual Assistants

Onboarding Documents Checklist: Essential Paperwork for Hiring Virtual Employees

A job applicant handing over her virtual assistant resume cover letter.

If you don’t yet use any onboarding documents after hiring virtual assistants, this post is a good place to start. This checklist will give you a good idea of all the paperwork you need to prepare. Remote onboarding is essential to get new hires off on the right foot so they can hit the ground running.

Understanding Onboarding Documents for Virtual Hires

Onboarding documents are a crucial part of integrating new virtual hires into your company. They provide hires with essential information about your company. For example:

  1. Company culture documents help virtual hires understand your values, communication styles, and work environment.
  2. Work process documents provide a roadmap for completing tasks, using specific tools, and following established procedures.
  3. Expectations put everyone on the same page with regard to work quality, communication frequency, and deadlines.

These documents facilitate smooth integration once you make a hire. A clear understanding of the role and the work environment help hires become productive members of the team faster.

Legal Considerations and Compliance

A lady with a gavel on her desk writing on paper.

Standard Compliance

Onboarding documents shouldn’t contain discriminatory language. They should also not request information that could be used for discriminatory purposes, like citizenship status, unless required by law.

Make sure that you comply with all data privacy regulations that apply for you and the hire. This includes getting consent to collect and store their data and having clear policies on data retention and security.

Specific Documents and Agreements

Clearly define the working relationship in the documents. Onboarding for independent contractors might not include benefits information typically provided for employees, for instance.

Confidentiality agreements are crucial for protecting sensitive company information. Ensure your NDA complies with local regulations to ensure that it holds up in court.

Regulations regarding background checks can vary by location. Make sure you have the virtual hire’s consent and also comply with any local laws around these checks.

Regularly review and update all the documents to reflect any changes in company policies or local regulations. Have virtual hires electronically sign or acknowledge receipt of all these changes.

Location-Specific Considerations

You might be hiring from different countries with varying employment laws. Review your documents to ensure compliance with all applicable local regulations. For example, look into laws around work hours, minimum wage, and vacation time, and other benefits.

You might also need to withhold taxes differently for virtual hires in different locations. Consult a tax professional to ensure compliance.

Successful Virtual Team Integration

A man and a woman doing an individual, personal check-in before their team virtual meetings.

Onboarding documents play a vital role in successfully integrating virtual team members. 

Bridging the Physical Gap

Without face-to-face interaction, virtual hires can miss certain details. Proper onboarding ensures that they have the same level of understanding about the company, culture, and processes as in-person hires.

Documents provide a consistent foundation of knowledge for all virtual team members, too, regardless of their onboarding timeframe.

Facilitating Team Cohesion

By emphasizing company culture and values, you can help virtual hires feel included and connected to the team.

Clear documentation facilitates a shared understanding of company goals, project objectives, and individual roles within the virtual team.

Documents can outline preferred communication tools and etiquette, fostering smoother collaboration and reducing miscommunication, too.

Boosting Individual Performance

A roadmap for tasks, tools, and expectations helps virtual hires become productive team members quicker. 

Clear instructions and resources also empower them to find answers independently, minimizing the need to interrupt you and their teammates.

Comprehensive Checklist of Onboarding Documents

A person writing on paper.

1. Legal Documents

Contractual agreements are legally enforceable agreements entered into by two or more parties. They must willingly agree to the terms and conditions outlined in the contract. 

An employment contract, for example, defines what duties, compensation, benefits, and termination clauses the parties agree to. Other examples are sales contracts and lease agreements. 

Intellectual property agreements are legal contracts that address the ownership, use, and disclosure of intellectual property. They protect creations like inventions, art, and confidential information.

Examples include patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets.

Non-disclosure agreements, sometimes called confidentiality agreements, are legally binding contracts. They establish a relationship that protects sensitive, non-public information shared between parties.

Examples include what the receiving party can and cannot do with formulas, customer lists, marketing strategies, and ghost writer identities.

2. Tax Forms

The specific tax forms you need for virtual hires depend mainly on location and employment classification. 

For example, an employer in the US hiring an independent contractor usually won’t need to file a 1099-MISC. However, the virtual assistant should complete a Form W-8BEN to declare their foreign status. This can be helpful for record-keeping and potential audits.

Remind virtual hires that they are responsible for filing their own tax returns in their home country.

3. Company Policies and Handbook

Make sure that you provide each hire with copies of your company’s code of conduct, privacy policies, and handbook. Have them sign an acknowledgment form, too. This form should state that they: 

  • have read and understood all the contents of these materials, and 
  • agree to abide by all the rules and regulations described. 

How to Organize and Manage Onboarding Documents for Virtual Teams

Color-coded file folders organized neatly on shelves.

We are big fans of digital systems because they offer additional functionality and ease. 

For example, digital document storage allows you to access search functions. This makes it easy for everyone to quickly find specific information within documents.

Digital onboarding also allows you to seamlessly incorporate visuals like infographics and short videos into your onboarding materials. This enhances both understanding and engagement.

Developing a Centralized System

Digital organization offers centralized storage that makes it easier for everyone to access the materials. It also helps you manage different versions, which makes it easier to keep all the documents updated.

Create a well-organized folder structure to categorize the documents. We suggest filing them by department and type of hire, or document type. This can be contracts, benefits information, and security protocols. 

Whichever categorization system you choose, always use clear naming conventions, and use them consistently. Include details, too, that help identify and differentiate the files. This keeps confusion at bay. 

Streamlining the Onboarding Process

Prepare a digital welcome kit that contains the essential documents, like the handbook, policies, and contact information for key personnel. 

Consider creating a flow for the onboarding documents or using an actual onboarding management platform. This one-stop shop can help new hires access what they need, when they need it. 

Explore onboarding tools to streamline the process. Workflow automation, for example, can help you with document requests and reminders for completing specific steps in the onboarding process.

Maintaining and Updating Documents

Regularly review your onboarding materials and process to ensure they reflect the current company policies, tools, regulations, etc.

Encourage new hires to provide feedback on the onboarding process at every stage. Ask them to expound on the clarity and usefulness of the documents. This helps you continually improve the onboarding experience and its effectiveness.

Develop templates for the commonly used documents, such as checklists and offer letters. This helps you save time while ensuring consistency and efficiency. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Large piles of documents on a table.

Can I use the same documents for freelance and full-time virtual hires?

You can keep the same core structure for freelance and full-time virtual hires, but some sections need to be tweaked.

You can have the same overview of your company culture, mission, values, and team structure. The communication guidelines and collaboration tools you use are relevant for both. Your policies for data security, password management, and acceptable use of company technology likewise apply.

Freelance Hires

We recommend an independent contractor agreement outlining the scope of work, project timeline, payment terms, and termination clauses. Clearly define project deliverables, deadlines, communication frequency, and revision processes specific to the contracted work.

Full-Time Hires

You should have an employment contract specifying job duties, compensation, probation period, and termination procedures. Specify your company’s benefit packages, such as health insurance and paid time off. 

Define as well how income taxes and social security contributions will be withheld from their paycheck. Outline general job responsibilities, performance expectations, performance reviews, and typical work hours.

What’s the best way to securely store sensitive onboarding materials for virtual hires?

Cloud-based document management systems (DMS) offer secure, centralized storage for all your documents. With granular access controls, you can easily grant different levels of access to authorized personnel from anywhere.

Many DMS also provide audit trails so you can track document access and activity. This helps maintain accountability and identify any potential security breaches. Look for DMS solutions that use data encryption both at rest and in transit. 

Examples of DMS are Google Drive, Dropbox Business, Microsoft OneDrive for Business, and Zoho WorkDrive.

Make sure that you also require two-factor authentication (2FA) for all user accounts. Maintain regular backups, too, for easy data recovery in case of system failures or cyberattacks.

 

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 

Conclusion

Clear onboarding documents and proper procedures for issuing them and enforcing them set everyone up for success. Both your company and the people you hire get the protection they need, too. With all of those concerns out of the way, everyone can focus on enjoying the work and staying productive.

Categories
Virtual Assistants

Video Interviewing Tips to Identify Top Virtual Employees Effectively

A smiling man talking to a lady on a video call on his laptop.

Every business owner who wants to hire virtually needs some good video interviewing tips. These tips from our arsenal at Outsource School will help you find the candidate that you need for the job. We’ll go through setting the stage, conducting the interview, and a few other bonus tips.

Setting the Stage for Success

Choose an Appropriate Environment

An appropriate video interviewing environment projects a professional image and ensures a smooth flow. 

Choose a background that’s free of clutter and busy images and anything that could give away sensitive information. Silence your phone and avoid distractions during the interview.

Plain and solid colors are ideal, even if you’re limited to using a virtual background. Make sure that any images are professional and high-quality so they don’t appear blurry or pixelated.

Make sure that you have enough light, natural light if possible, and position yourself facing the light source. Avoid harsh lighting, and block out light sources coming from behind.

Technical Setup

Hardware 

Use a reliable computer that has enough processing power and memory to conduct and record a smooth video call.

Adjust your camera to rest at eye level, or slightly higher for the best view. This also helps you to maintain eye contact with the camera to create a sense of connection. Ensure that you are getting a quality image so you present a professional image. Consider external speakers as well if your built-in ones make it difficult for you to hear the other party.

Make sure that you can conduct the interview in a location free of background noise and the threat of interruptions. If you don’t have access to a high-quality microphone, use a headset so that your voice can be clearly heard. Your built-in mic may be enough, but test it with a colleague to be sure. 

Internet

Choose a location with strong internet, and use a wired connection if possible. If Wi-Fi is your only option, ensure you have a stable and reliable signal to avoid issues. When your video is freezing or lagging during the interview, you can’t expect to insist that candidates promise good internet.

Do a test run before the interview to ensure that everything is functioning properly.

Software

Choose a reliable video conferencing platform with adequate security features. Make sure you’re familiar with the functions, too, before the interview. Check for updates to avoid undue technical glitches.

Professional Dress 

Our video interviewing tips call for a balance between professionalism and practicality. Your outfit should reflect your business’s values and culture. Be comfortable, like choosing breathable fabrics that allow for some movement, but not unprofessional. 

As with your background, opt for solid and subdued colors and subtle patterns instead of large or busy patterns. Avoid low-cut tops, sleeveless shirts, tank tops, sweatpants, ripped jeans, and any other overly casual attire. Avoid large, dangling jewelry, and other potentially distracting accessories.

Conducting the Interview

A man communicating with a woman via video call on his laptop.

Pre-Interview Preparation

  • Clearly communicate your company culture to all applicants. Describe the work environment and use language that reflects your core values. This will attract candidates who are a better fit. 
  • Set the tone for a positive experience by sending personalized interview invitations. Include the interview format and any other expectations you have for the interview.
  • Make sure you have reviewed the resume of the candidate who’s up for an interview. For call-backs, you may also want to check their social media and references first. This will help you remove any candidates who seem good, but only on paper. 
  • Prepare interview questions that speak directly to the requirements that you posted in your job description. Go through these at least once right before you start the video call. Practice them with a colleague if you’re new to interviewing. 
  • Read a joke or listen to a happy song before you jump on the call. Your mood will show on your face! 
  • Practice good posture in front of the camera so you know how to maintain it throughout the call. This is one of our favorite video interviewing tips, even though it’s rarely talked about. Use natural hand gestures if you need to emphasize your points, but avoid fidgeting or leaning far back in your chair.

Engagement During the Interview

  • Greet the candidate warmly by name as soon as they join the video call. 
  • Thank them for coming and acknowledge any time zone differences to show consideration.
  • Engage in a bit of small talk to help break the ice. For instance, you can ask about something light like how their day went. 
  • Maintain a positive tone throughout the interview. 
  • Take care not to turn this conversion into an interrogation. You won’t learn much about the candidate that way.
  • Encourage them to elaborate on their thought processes, experiences and problem-solving approaches. You can do this by asking open-ended questions, acknowledging their responses with positive reinforcement, and using verbal cues that show your interest.
  • Ask behavioral and scenario-based questions to learn how they would respond in specific situations. These give insights into relevant skills like teamwork, leadership, problem-solving, creativity, decision-making abilities, and communication style under pressure. 
  • Intentionally leave time at the end of the interview for the candidate to ask you questions about the role, the team they’ll be working with, or your company. This transparency allows them to assess if the role aligns with their values and interests.

Post-Interview Follow-up

  • Always follow up with candidates after the interview. Don’t wait more than 2 days to send them an email. Even if it’s a rejection, thank them for their time and interest. If you might hire them for a similar position in the future, let them know that you’d like to keep them on file if they agree.
  • If you’re following up for a second interview or are ready to hire, tell the candidate what impressed you the most. Then tell them you want to move forward, and give them clear next steps. Let them know that they can ask any remaining questions they might have as well.

Special Considerations for Pre-Recorded Interviews

A smiling woman talking on a headset while typing on a laptop.

Preparation and Execution

In some cases, you might prefer to send questions out and have candidates record their answers. If so, make sure you give clear instructions on what format to use, the time limit, deadline for submission, and any other specifics. 

Make sure you have a clear rating criteria prepared so you can evaluate submissions properly and fairly. Schedule enough time to review each recording thoroughly. Don’t just skim through. Take notes and assess each response based on the established criteria.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some effective strategies to assess a candidate’s cultural fit through a video interview?

Ask specific questions about the candidate’s understanding of your company culture and values. You could also try framing questions around your company’s core values. 

You might also give them hypothetical scenarios that reflect your team’s work style or typical challenges. Then, ask the candidate how they would approach the situation. This reveals their problem-solving skills and how they might collaborate with people on your team.

Make sure you dig deep into the candidate’s motivations beyond just the job description. See if their interests and goals align with the overall company culture and goals, and the team’s mission and direction.

What are the best practices for maintaining security and privacy in video interviews?

Choose a reputable video conferencing tool with proven security features like encryption and two-factor authentication. Research the platform’s privacy policies and data security practices. Only share meeting links with the candidates scheduled for interview. Make sure the channels you use to send them are also secure. 

Make sure that no sensitive information shows on camera, and tell candidates to do the same. Share only what’s necessary with the candidate, and avoid disclosing confidential information unless absolutely necessary. 

Make sure that no one can eavesdrop during the interview or access your files. Update your operating system, software, and browser before conducting interviews. 

If you would like to record the interview, inform candidates and get their explicit consent in writing. In most cases, an email will do. Let them know what you will use the recording for and how long you will store it.

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 

Final Video Interviewing Tips 

By following these video interviewing tips, you can ensure a positive experience for both yourself and the candidate. Remember that a professional video interviewing environment helps you get great interview results. From there, you can make more well-informed hiring decisions. A little preparation can go a long way in making a positive impression!

Categories
Virtual Assistants

Interviewing Tips for Managers: Building Your Remote Workforce Effectively

A computer screen showing a woman on a video call.

We get asked all the time about interviewing tips for managers who want to hire the best of the best. In this post, we give you just that, from the preparation stage through the actual interview. Our hope is that by using these tips, you can attract and select the best candidates for any position. 

Pre-Interview Preparation

Getting ready before the interview is a crucial step. This is where you develop the strategy you need to find the gems among all the applicants.

Understand the Position

The first thing you must do is get a good grasp of the position that you’re hiring for. Make sure that you know exactly what you need done and who you need to do it well. 

Ask for Help

Ask the people within the department you are hiring for what they see regarding that position. Often, it’s those on the ground who have the best insights into what and who is needed. 

Review the Candidate’s Resume

You may have read all the candidates’ resumes when they submitted their applications. We still recommend that you go through each one again before each interview, and keep it in front of you. This keeps all the details fresh in your mind as you spark to them.

Set Up the Interview Environment

Choose a quiet, professional space free from distractions. A conference room or empty office works well. Ensure comfortable seating so you don’t start fidgeting in the middle of the interview. Adjust your camera before you begin to make sure the candidate has a clear view of you.

During the Interview

With proper preparation, you should be able to conduct the interview smoothly. 

A man remote onboarding another man via a video call using a laptop.

Open the Interview

As soon as the candidate joins the meeting, greet them warmly. Introduce yourself and any other interviewers present. Briefly discuss neutral topics, like how their day has been so far, or the weather, to ease them into the interview.

Question Techniques

Question techniques are important to get the information you need during an interview. 

One common question technique is to ask open-ended questions, which encourage interviewees to elaborate. This is how you get more details about their experiences, skills, and thought processes. 

Behavioral and Hypothetical Questions

Ask the interviewee to describe specific situations they’ve encountered in the past and how they handled them. This can be a great way to assess their problem-solving skills, decision-making abilities, and how they might behave in similar situations in the future.

Similar to behavioral questions are hypothetical questions, which ask about situations that a interviewee may not have faced before. This focuses on critical thinking assessment, creativity, and how they approach challenges. 

Clarification Questions

Always insert clarification questions or follow-up questions whenever you feel like you need more information about a response.

Moreover, remember that the best interview technique is to be flexible and adapt your approach based on the interviewee’s responses and the information you’re trying to gather.

Observing and Listening

Active listening helps you observe and listen effectively while interviewing a candidate. Prepare by minimizing distractions, like putting away your phone and clearing any workspace clutter. 

Maintain eye contact while talking to show interest and encourage the candidate to elaborate. Remember that if you’re on a video call, you need to look into your camera lens to make it seem like you’re looking at the person. 

Nonverbal Cues

Use nonverbal cues while the candidate is talking and maintain an interested facial expression. Avoid interrupting them, and don’t feel like you need to chime in as soon as there’s a pause.

Before moving on to another question, briefly restate what you’ve heard to ensure understanding and encourage further details.

Take Notes

Make sure that you are jotting down important details as you speak with a candidate. Even if it’s just phrases here and there, you need to take notes so you don’t forget. You’ll use these later to help you choose the best fit.

Avoiding Common Pitfalls

Three men smiling as they look at content on a laptop.

Pre-Interview

Make sure that you set clear expectations about the position and the interview before you schedule a meeting. This is done through a detailed job description.

Both parties must come to the virtual table with a clear understanding of the tasks, skills, and experience needed for the role. This includes preferred communication methods, tools, work times, and time zone differences.

Interview

Don’t shortlist candidates based on the lowest hourly rates. Always prioritize qualifications and cultural fit. The right person will bring value beyond the cost. Take time to vet candidates thoroughly, including learning what makes them worth their quoted rate.

A multi-step interview process helps you get to know each candidate enough to assess their qualifications properly. 

Post-Interview

Don’t assume that a new hire will be able to hit the ground running without any training or support.

Sure, they should have the needed skills, but they will not know everything they need to work within your company specifically.

Invest in creating onboarding sessions and materials so they have clear instructions, relevant resources, and a go-to person when they have questions.

Post-Interview Process

After the interview, there’s still work to be done. Don’t skip these steps!

Review Your Notes

1. Go over your notes as soon as possible after the interview, while your memory is fresh.

This will help you reconstruct your conversation and capture the nuances like nonverbal cues that added context. If you wait too long, your own notes may not even make sense to you because you forgot what you meant.

2. Put your thoughts into categories.

By doing so, you can evaluate each candidate based on the different aspects you asked about. The categories could be skills, experience, answers to specific questions, work style, and other interesting details.

3. Use a color or symbol coding system to highlight key points.

This makes it easier when it’s time to compare the different candidates. Compare candidates’ strengths and weaknesses side-by-side, too. This will help you identify who stood out for specific criteria.

4. Check that each candidate’s skills and experience match up to what’s on your job description.

Do the same for what you were aiming for in terms of behavioral insights. 

Candidate Follow-Up

A man using the phone behind two computer monitors.

Make sure you follow up with candidates after their interview, whether you’re still considering them or not. Let them know the status of their application within 2 days at most to be considerate of their time.

1. First, always express gratitude for the time they spent and for their interest in the position.

Mention one or two specific things you enjoyed learning about them to personalize the message. Generic follow-ups are a huge turn-off and you don’t want to lose the best candidates.

2. Next, tell the candidate what their next steps are in the hiring process.

If you’re not moving forward with a candidate, let them know you’ve decided to pursue other options. If you like them but just not for this position, tell them you will keep them in mind for future openings

3. If you haven’t made a decision about a candidate yet, tell them when you’ll reach back out.

In the meantime, let them know you’re available to answer any questions they might have.

Make sure you keep all your communications professional.

Staying Objective

When choosing the right candidate to hire, make sure you’re evaluating them based on a proper rubric. Standardizing your criteria ensures that you will be fair and not forget important details. This way, you can check off the required qualifications, skills, and experience, and find the best fit.

Try not to deviate too much from the set interview questions as you probe further and ask follow-up questions. This way, you can maintain consistency and keep in line with the outlined job description. 

Be aware that you might be tempted to favor someone because of certain factors. For example, you might hone in on a level of education, previous employment, or strong performance in one area. Do not allow this to sway you into overlooking weaknesses in other areas. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How can managers ensure fairness and inclusivity in virtual interviews?

Make sure that you use language that focuses on the skills, experience, and values that you’re looking for. Stay away from anything that points to demographics and other unconscious biases rather than requirements. A diverse interview panel also helps to mitigate individual biases and lend a more well-rounded perspective to the interview. 

Ensure that your video conferencing platform is accessible to candidates with disabilities. Provide clear instructions to interviewees on how to join the interview and prepare alternative methods in case of technical difficulties. This is particularly important when you’re interviewing across multiple borders.

How can managers build rapport with candidates during virtual interviews to accurately assess soft skills?

Managers can best draw out evidence of soft skills by building rapport with candidates.

Start by making candidates feel comfortable and heard so that they will be more likely to relax and open up. This way, they will give you more genuine responses. Through conversation, you can gain insight into their communication style, interpersonal skills, and emotional intelligence, too.

Maintain a professional but engaging demeanor throughout the interview. Smile, use an enthusiastic tone, and maintain eye contact with the camera rather than the video feed of the interviewee. Practice active listening and acknowledge candidates’ responses with positive reinforcement.

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 

Final Interviewing Tips for Managers

Consistency is key. Whichever interviewing tips for managers you choose to use, make sure you apply them across the board. If you’re testing them out, don’t mix methods when interviewing for the same position. Instead, try a different set for the next position you hire for.

Sometimes, it also helps to have other people interview with you or go over resumes and notes. You might consider also incorporating skills assessments to provide objective data.

 

Categories
Virtual Assistants

Managing Remote Teams Effectively: Expert Insights from Audiobooks and Podcasts

managing remote teams effectively

Flexible work setups have allowed employees to do their work anywhere that’s convenient. However, while the benefits of remote work include greater work-life balance and cost savings, remote work can also pose challenges for some workers. To address these issues, managing remote teams effectively is crucial in ensuring that both the company and its employees thrive in this flexible work environment.

According to a Forbes report, remote employees may feel lonely as they grapple with work, which can lead to burnout. These workers may also encounter roadblocks in communication and engagement, hampering their productivity. This prompts the need for an effective way to manage remote teams, but how?

Remote work management thus requires a specific approach that many leaders may feel they aren’t equipped to handle. Fortunately, one way to address these emerging challenges is by learning and listening to key tips from industry leaders, which are readily available via podcasts and audiobooks.

Below, we take a closer look at why podcasts and audiobooks are the best options for leaders and what key lessons can be learned from some titles.

Why audiobooks and podcasts? 

Rising Popularity of Audio-Based Learning

Audiobooks and podcasts have been enjoying popularity over the recent years as more users maximize smartphone and tech innovations. In contrast to traditional books, listening to these audio-based platforms is a hands-free activity that enables users to do other things while remaining engaged in a particular topic.

According to a consumer survey released by the Audio Publishers Association, 46% of the US population listened to an audiobook from March 2020 to March 2021. Meanwhile, Edison Research reported that 42% of Americans have listened to a podcast in 2023. Since audiobooks and podcasts are easily accessible through a smartphone, these platforms can easily grow further with the rise of digital consumption in a tech-driven world. 

Impact of a Fast-Paced Digital World

Additionally, living in a fast-paced digital environment can make it difficult to allot extra time for other activities like reading. A Gallup poll found that Americans read an average of 12.6 books in 2021, down from 15.6 in 2016.

Although the actual reason behind this decline is uncertain, it can be partly attributed to the rise of other forms of smartphone entertainment and, in the case of busy managers, the lack of time to pick up a book and read.

Audiobooks and Podcasts as a Solution

Thankfully, audiobooks and podcasts are filling the gap, especially since these platforms provide information even while listeners are commuting, working, and doing other chores. Listeners can thus leverage the benefits of accessing audiobooks and podcasts through smartphones to learn useful tips and insights for their careers.   

Convenient Access for Busy Managers

As we all know, being a manager means having to juggle a busy schedule with team management. Fortunately, audiobooks and podcasts allow you to conveniently access professional advice even when you’re on the go.

The digital library Everand hosts a rich catalog of resources you can listen to, such as David Burkus’ Leading from Anywhere and Dave Stachowiak’s Coaching for Leaders. The app also lets you set a sleep timer so the audio can stop when you want it to – perfect for when tasks are piling up or if you’re about to sign off for the day.

Utilizing Public Libraries for More Resources

Similarly, Library Journal notes that public libraries are a popular option for audiobooks and reports that audiobook circulation has increased significantly over the past couple of years.

If you’re on the lookout for more options, you can check your local library’s database to see if they have specific titles available, including Camille Fournier’s The Manager’s Path and Julie Zhuo’s The Making of a Manager

Leadership Lessons from Audiobooks and Podcasts

These audiobooks and podcasts are just some resources that can help you better manage your remote team. Let’s take a look at some specific leadership lessons from audiobooks and podcasts that can help with managing your remote team:

Key insights from podcasts and audiobooks

Developing new working habits is essential

Embracing and adjusting to a remote working culture can be difficult for some of your employees, especially newer ones who are used to working from the office.

In Laura Vanderkam’s The New Corner Office, she mentions key experiences and insights from those who have been working remotely way before WFH setups became the norm. The book emphasizes the benefits of creating new work habits and rituals that can foster productivity, engagement, and stronger connections among your team members.

By leveraging the wisdom of those who have years of experience in working from home, the book offers tips on how you can turn the remote setup to your team’s advantage. 

Clear communication is key

Kevin Eikenberry and Wayne Turmel’s audiobook The Long-Distance Leader underscores the importance of using proper online channels where you can establish clear communication with your employees, especially in a remote setup. That way, you’re able to manage your team better.

Plus, it allows you to effectively cascade information like work instructions to avoid mishaps and crucial mistakes that can affect your company’s bottom line and reputation.

The book also highlights the importance of holding informal, one-on-one conversations with your team members to build an authentic connection that can make your colleagues feel safe and comfortable around you not just as their boss, but also their friend.

Establishing boundaries is essential 

A survey by The Conference Board revealed that 47% of remote workers in the US raised concerns about the blurred boundaries between their work and personal lives. When these boundaries are blurred, it’s easy for your employees to feel burnt out or pressured, which can hamper your overall productivity.

To avoid this, you can listen to Karen Mangia’s Working from Home to get useful insights such as encouraging your employees to prioritize self-care after work. The book mentions the importance of establishing clear boundaries between personal time and work, as well as tips on staying focused, managing distractions, and taking breaks that you can share with your workers.

Simply avoiding sending work-related messages or emails to your employees after work hours can go a long way in helping you build strong relationships with your colleagues.

Psychological safety is important

Prioritizing the well-being of your employees is one way to foster a healthy remote working environment. The Managing Remote Teams podcast hosted by entrepreneur Lukasz Szyrmer touches on useful topics such as psychological safety in the workplace.

It enables you to learn how to create a welcoming virtual space where you can encourage your workers to speak their minds and share their opinions without fear of being dismissed or invalidated. When your team feels nurtured and heard, it’s easier to motivate them to work harder.

Burnout can affect everyone

According to WorkLife, a podcast hosted by Professor Adam Grant, burnout in the workplace affects everyone. This is especially true in a remote setup where workers can experience higher rates of stress, according to a CNBC news report.

Burnout can impact employee performance and motivation, which can, in turn, hamper your business’s overall productivity. This podcast offers insights on tackling burnout, such as organizing online mindfulness training and providing emotional support to help your employees feel that they’re not alone despite working remotely.

Foster a sense of connection

Larry English’s Office Optional emphasizes the importance of maximizing online tools to foster a sense of connection among your employees.

The book cites many ways for you to build this sense of connection, such as providing clear goals for your team, offering development opportunities, and recognizing employees’ hard work.

Workers can feel motivated to perform better if they feel rewarded. Following these insights means you can promote a sense of unity among the team despite the physical barriers and boost their motivation to work harder.

Ensure clear policies on flexible arrangements

Remote Works, a podcast launched by software company Citrix, delves into the different aspects of working remotely. One particular topic that the podcast has discussed is how to make flexible work manageable for you and your workers.

If you’re thinking about implementing a flexible working arrangement for your employees instead of the usual 9 to 5 schedule, the podcast suggests that you ensure clear policies so that flexibility doesn’t affect company workflow.

For instance, you can allow your workers to work flexibly, but at the same time establish rules about submitting deadlines, sending updates regularly, and joining regular meetings so you can track progress and productivity.

Use the right technology for remote work

Hassan Osman’s book Influencing Virtual Teams is a useful guide for managers looking to have an impact on their workers. One way of doing so, according to the book, is through effective feedback and communication, which is made possible through reliable tech tools.

The book provides helpful advice on using technology that can support a remote work setup and improve teamwork through the right tools.

For example, selecting a platform like Zoom or Google Hangouts for your virtual meetings may require you to consider if it’s user-friendly and can foster fun interactions that can develop relationships among your team members. The book also highlights the crucial role of managers in coaching their employees to improve performance and productivity.

Remote work setups can be rewarding, but they also pose diverse challenges. Listening to these audiobooks and podcasts can help you effectively manage your remote team better. For more articles like this, visit the Outsource School website

 

 

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 

Categories
Virtual Assistants

What to Look for When Hiring: Essential Qualities in Virtual Assistants

People at a table working on laptops.Have you ever wondered what to look for when hiring virtually

Outsource School founders Nathan and Connor have, and their search is how the company was born. Now, they help business owners understand the fundamentals of virtual hiring.

In this post, we’re sharing with you the essentials of what to look for when hiring. This way, you can zero in on the best for your next virtual team member.

Communication is Key

Strong communication is one of the most important skills for any virtual hire to have. This is how you can bridge the physical distance in today’s increasingly remote work environment. Without face-to-face interaction, you need clear and concise communication for successful teamwork.

Trust and Rapport

First off, strong communication fosters trust and rapport within virtual teams. Moreover, virtual hires need to articulate ideas effectively, present information, and ask clarifying questions. This is because they communicate mostly through non-voice means, which can be tricky. 

Productivity

We find that strong communication minimizes misunderstandings and delays, leading to a more productive work environment. This is because teams can identify and address issues collaboratively, which also leads to better problem-solving outcomes.

Virtual hires who can communicate well with clients also build trust with the company. Furthermore, teams that focus on communicating effectively can ensure clear project expectations and delivery. That’s the recipe for happy clients.

Positive Team Spirit

Open and honest communication also fosters a positive team spirit and minimizes potential conflicts. Communication skills plus a great attitude makes for teams that pay close attention and understand the nuances of what’s being said. When in doubt, they ask clarifying questions instead of guessing or just not caring. 

Assessing Communication Skills in Potential Hires

During the application stage, make sure you review cover letters and resumes before scheduling interviews. Analyze how well each candidate presents themselves in writing. Look for clear, concise language, proper grammar, and effective articulation of skills and experience. 

Keep a List

Throughout the interview process, keep a list in front of you of what to look for when hiring. This will guide you and help you track candidates’ answers. Develop a set of standardized communication-focused questions to ensure a fair and consistent evaluation process across all candidates.

These questions should prompt the candidates to describe past situations where they used communication skills effectively. Then, encourage the candidates to elaborate on their responses. This allows you to assess their thought process, articulation skills, and ability to provide clear explanations. 

Communication Cues

Pay close attention to how candidates express themselves. Observe their verbal and nonverbal cues like eye contact, body language, and tone of voice. If you want to get a deeper look, ask candidates to give a short presentation during the interview. This can be simulations of real-world scenarios relevant to the position.

You can use that to evaluate the candidates’ ability to structure information, present ideas clearly, and handle questions from a panel. This also helps you to assess technical communication skills relevant to the job. To assess written communication, give candidates short writing assignments relevant to the job role. 

People enjoying talking and working together at a table.

Examples of Essential Communication Skills 

Oral

Verbal communication skills are always part of what to look for when hiring for any position. Even with non-voice positions, you will still be talking to these people.

However, especially for client-facing voice roles, aim for candidates with clear and concise delivery. They should be easy to understand, avoiding jargon or overly complex language. Look for a confident and professional tone, too, which inspires trust. 

The best candidates will pay close attention to what others are saying, acknowledging and responding thoughtfully to questions and concerns. They can also adjust their communication based on the audience and situation.

Give special notice to candidates who ask thoughtful questions to clarify information, demonstrate curiosity, and engage in productive discussions.

Written

In terms of written communication, look for strong grammar and punctuation as well as reading ease. The best candidates can convey complex information in a clear and concise manner. They can also adapt their writing style depending on the recipient. A bonus is a strong vocabulary and ability to use words precisely.

Be sure you don’t overlook nonverbal communication skills. Pre-select candidates who make appropriate eye contact to show attentiveness and engagement. Their body language should be positive and open, too. Look for facial expressions congruent with verbal communication. Check that candidates exhibit proper video conferencing etiquette, too, such as muting their microphone when not speaking and dressing professionally.

Additional Skills

The special few will have additional skills.

First, they will show the ability to approach disagreements respectfully and work collaboratively to find solutions.

Second, they will be able to effectively lead meetings. This means keeping discussions focused, ensuring everyone has a chance to participate, and summarizing key points all throughout.

For some positions, the ability to deliver clear and engaging presentations to a larger audience might be important. 

Technical Proficiency and Adaptability

Assessing a candidate’s adaptability to new technologies and troubleshooting skills is crucial for remote and in-person positions alike.

Behavioral Questions

During the interview, ask behavioral interview questions that prompt candidates to describe situations where they had to learn a new technology or troubleshoot an issue. 

Technical Assessments

Consider incorporating technical assessments tailored to the role. This could involve providing simulated software interfaces or common technical challenges faced in the position. Then, evaluate the candidate’s ability to navigate or troubleshoot them.

Live challenges can assess candidates’ ability to adapt to solving new problems and using unfamiliar frameworks. Evaluate their thought process, efficiency, and approach.

Soft Skills

In terms of hiring soft skills, look for indicators that candidates are adaptable. For example, they should show a genuine interest in learning new things and have the ability to explain technical concepts clearly. They should have the capacity to find solutions using available resources and show determination to overcome challenges.

Note that for entry-level positions, a willingness to learn might be more important than extensive technical knowledge. Also, while technical skills are important, don’t categorically overlook less skilled candidates. They might actually align better with your company values, which is important.

In line with this, note that certifications are not always a guarantee of competence. Use them only as indicators of a baseline level of knowledge, and possibly a commitment to professional development.

Four men laughing while freelancing together

Emotional Intelligence and Soft Skills

In the world of virtual teams, physical distance can create barriers to communication and collaboration. This makes emotional intelligence (EQ) more crucial for success.

Emotional Undercurrents

Virtual team members rely more on interpreting verbal cues, tone of voice, and written communication style to understand emotional undercurrents. Strong EQ equips them to decode these signals and respond appropriately. EQ also fosters trust and rapport despite physical distance.

Virtual team members with high EQ can create a sense of connection through active listening, empathy, and positive communication. This leads to a more cohesive and collaborative team environment.

Clarity and Empathy

Of equal importance is how EQ fosters clear, concise, and considerate communication. This reduces misunderstandings and communication breakdowns that can be common in virtual settings.

Moreover, virtual teams with high EQ can navigate disagreements constructively, approaching conflict with empathy and finding solutions that address everyone’s concerns.

In addition, EQ helps virtual team members manage their own emotions and be sensitive to the emotions of others. This can reduce stress levels and prevent burnout, which can be more prevalent in isolated work environments.

Motivation

Leaders with high EQ can motivate and inspire virtual team members, even from afar. They set a clear vision and communicate goals effectively. They also recognize and appreciate individual contributions and create a positive virtual work environment.

Leaders with strong soft skills can empower their teams and create a sense of ownership over projects. This helps them delegate tasks more effectively and encourage teams to deliver results independently.

Essential EQ Skills for Virtual Teams

Understanding one’s own emotions and how they impact others is crucial for effective communication and self-management. The ability to put oneself in another’s shoes and understand their perspective is essential for building trust and rapport in a virtual setting.

Strong social skills allow virtual team members to build relationships, collaborate effectively, and navigate complex social situations that might arise online. EQ fosters the ability to build and maintain positive working relationships with virtual colleagues and clients, even through digital channels.

Evaluating EQ

Evaluating EQ can be tricky, but if you know what to look for when hiring, you can find the indicators. Ask situational and behavioral interview questions that prompt candidates to describe situations where they used emotional intelligence skills. Ask probing questions to understand their thought process. This reveals their self-awareness and emotional reasoning. Then, analyze their response for empathy, conflict resolution strategies, and emotional regulation. 

You can present candidates with hypothetical scenarios that might relate to the specific job role. Ask them to describe how they would approach and manage the situation. Evaluate their problem-solving skills combined with empathy and communication strategies. Pay close attention to soft skills displayed throughout the interview that can be indicators of emotional intelligence. 

A smiling woman wearing headphones looking at a laptop screen and waving.

Cultural Fit, Work Ethic, and Integrity

Physical distance can create challenges in fostering a sense of team spirit and belonging. This is where culture compatibility becomes even more important for remote teams. A strong company culture is built on a foundation of shared values, beliefs, and goals. When remote team members understand and embrace these values, it fosters cohesion and a sense of working towards a common purpose.

Company Culture

Culture compatibility promotes open and honest communication, too. This is essential for collaboration and navigating potential misunderstandings that can arise more easily in remote settings. A shared culture creates common ground and fosters a sense of psychological safety where team members feel comfortable expressing themselves.

Feeling like part of a team and aligning with company values boosts employee engagement and motivation. Remote workers who feel valued and supported are more likely to go the extra mile and contribute their best work.

When team members share similar work styles, expectations, and communication preferences, it reduces misunderstandings and potential conflicts. This encourages productivity. Still, a culture that values diversity of thought at the same time and encourages healthy debate can spark innovation and creativity. Culture compatibility ensures this diversity is channeled constructively towards achieving team goals.

Assessing Culture Compatibility

Before you can assess fit, articulate your company culture so candidates can self-assess their fit. Ask behavioral interview questions that reveal candidates’ work style, communication preferences, and values. You can also involve team members in the interview process so they can interact with candidates and gauge cultural fit firsthand. 

Assessing Work Ethic

You always want to hone in on candidates who have a strong work ethic and the right attitude towards remote work. To find them, ask candidates to describe past experiences demonstrating their work ethic.

As always, don’t settle for surface-level answers so you can really understand their thought process and motivations. Make sure you contact their references to get insights into candidates’ work ethic and reliability.

Ask candidates about their reasons for wanting a remote position. Ideal responses would indicate a desire for flexibility, self-management, or greater focus. These demonstrate an understanding of the remote work environment.

Be wary of candidates who seem primarily motivated by a desire to avoid a physical workplace. Look also for indicators of the ability to manage time effectively and work independently. 

If feasible, consider offering a short trial period where candidates work remotely on a specific project. This allows you to assess their work ethic and remote work style firsthand. 

a man on a videocall with a woman

Assessing Integrity 

Where physical supervision is limited, integrity becomes more critical to prioritize in potential hires. Trust is the cornerstone of successful remote collaboration. Ask questions that draw out examples of integrous conduct. Look for attitudes that foster a sense of reliability and dependability, which are essential for working effectively on teams.

Look for honesty, a cornerstone of integrity, which encourages open and transparent communication. Team members with integrity feel comfortable raising concerns, sharing ideas, and admitting mistakes.

Honest and ethical employees are less likely to cut corners or engage in misconduct that can lead to costly errors or legal issues. They also embody the company’s values, so look for that, too. Remote teams that display integrity are more likely to build strong relationships. Look for signs of eagerness in this area.

 

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 

Conclusion

When you know what to look for when hiring, it becomes a smooth and even enjoyable process. By implementing a combination of these strategies, you can gain valuable insights into a candidate’s communication skills. This is how you identify individuals who can excel in your virtual work environment. Remember also to structure the communication skills assessment to be a positive experience for candidates. Provide clear instructions and avoid creating undue pressure.

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Virtual Assistants

Ultimate Hiring Tips for Entrepreneurs: Mastering the Art of Sourcing Virtual Talent

Two people shaking hands to agree to outsourcing.

If you could get all of the best hiring tips in one place, would you grab the chance? If you answered, “Yes,” then you’re on the right page! This post aims to give you our take on the ultimate tips for entrepreneurs to find the best virtual talent. 

Understanding the Hiring Process

Let’s begin with clarifying the distinction between a recruiting and hiring definition. These are both crucial steps in the process of acquiring new talent for your organization, but they serve different purposes. 

Recruiting

Recruiting is an ongoing process of attracting a pool of qualified candidates. It involves activities like building your employer brand, sourcing potential candidates through various channels, and generating interest in your company and open positions.

Recruiting strategies encompass both inbound and outbound efforts. You might attract candidates who apply directly to your job postings, or you might proactively seek out top talent through targeted outreach.

The goal of recruiting is to create a large pool of qualified candidates with the potential to be successful in the role. This may involve considering candidates with a broader range of skills and experiences, assessing their fit with your company culture, and generating their interest in your organization.

Hiring

Hiring is a specific and short-term process focused on selecting the single most qualified candidate to fill a current vacancy. It involves evaluating the applications and qualifications of candidates from the recruitment pool, conducting interviews, reference checks, and ultimately making a hiring decision.

The hiring process involves a more rigorous evaluation of a candidate’s skills, experience, and fit for the specific job requirements and remote company culture. This might involve assessments, skills tests, and in-depth interviews with various team members.

The goal of hiring is to identify the candidate who best aligns with the specific needs and requirements of the open position. This includes not only technical skills and experience, but also soft skills, cultural fit, and demonstrated potential for success in the role.

The Impact of Employer Branding on Attracting Top Talent

Your reputation precedes you, and it significantly impacts your ability to attract top talent. A strong employer brand acts as a magnet, drawing in highly skilled and experienced individuals who are actively seeking new opportunities. Top talent is more likely to apply to your company if they perceive it as a desirable workplace.

A well-defined employer brand also differentiates you from competitors. Candidates who identify with your company culture and values are more likely to prioritize your positions over others.

A well-crafted employer brand is transparent and authentic, showcasing the reality of what it’s like to work at your company. This fosters trust with potential candidates and allows them to make informed decisions about applying.

Importance of Writing Enticing and Inclusive Job Descriptions

Compelling job descriptions grab the attention of qualified candidates and spark their interest in the role and your company. Inclusive language expands your candidate pool by avoiding gender bias or unnecessary experience requirements. This allows you to focus on the skills and abilities needed for the role, not stereotypical assumptions about who can excel in it.

By using inclusive language, you attract a wider range of qualified candidates. This increases the likelihood of finding the best person for the job, regardless of background. Inclusive job descriptions also demonstrate your commitment to diversity. This appeals to top talent who value working in a fair and equitable environment. 

Hiring Tips for Strategizing the Process

Two women talking to each other over a video call using a laptop.

Knowing Your Company’s Value Proposition

A company’s value proposition is a concise statement that communicates the unique benefits and value your company offers to customers and potential hires. It’s essentially  why someone should choose you over your competitors. 

A well-defined value proposition acts as a guiding light. It quickly conveys what your company does and why it matters. It resonates with potential hires who are looking for a company whose mission and values align with their own. This leads to better recruitment and retention of top talent. When hires understand the value their company delivers, they are also more engaged and motivated to contribute to its success.

The first of all our hiring tips is to clearly articulate your value proposition on your company website and marketing materials. Ensure all existing and potential hires understand it and how their work contributes to delivering that value. Every interaction is an opportunity to communicate and drive home your value proposition. 

Leveraging Current Team Members in the Hiring Process

Your people have professional networks filled with potential candidates you might not reach through traditional channels. By encouraging internal referrals, you tap into a pre-vetted pool of qualified individuals familiar with your company culture. They are therefore more likely to be a good fit for the team dynamic and role requirements. 

Current team members can also provide valuable insights during the interview process based on their firsthand experience. Moreover, when teams feel involved in the hiring process, they become more invested in the company’s success. Referrals can also foster a sense of team ownership and pride in the team’s growth.

Use the following hiring tips to leverage your teams in the process:

  • Establish a formal referral program with incentives to encourage people to recommend qualified candidates from their networks.
  • Involve current team members in the interview process to provide unique perspectives on cultural fit and technical skills required for the role.
  • Solicit feedback from your team members after interviews to gain valuable insight for more informed hiring decisions.
  • Target referral requests to team members with relevant networks based on the open position to avoid overwhelming them.
  • Publicly recognize and appreciate team members who consistently refer strong candidates.

The Role of Social Media and Online Platforms in Vetting Applicants

Social media and online platforms can be a double-edged sword for vetting applicants. While they offer a wealth of information about potential hires, there are also drawbacks and privacy concerns to consider. 

Social media profiles can provide a more well-rounded picture of a candidate than just a resume. You might glean insights into their interests, work ethic, communication style, and soft skills. Online platforms can sometimes corroborate information listed on a resume, such as previous work experience or educational background.

Publicly available content can reveal a candidate’s professional affiliations, industry involvement, and personal brand, too. Look for red flags that might indicate a culture clash or integrity issues that could impact the job.

Respecting Privacy

Be mindful of privacy settings and only access publicly available information. Respecting candidate privacy is crucial. Remember that a social media presence rarely fully represents a candidate’s abilities or work ethic and can therefore be misleading. Be wary of unconscious bias based on a candidate’s online persona. Focus on relevant skills and experience, not personal opinions or social media activity unrelated to the job.

For transparency, clearly communicate in your job postings whether or not you’ll be reviewing social media profiles. Develop a consistent and standardized process for reviewing online information across all candidates. Only consider online content relevant to the required skills and experience for the position.

Crafting the Perfect Job Listing

4 Tips on How to Write a Kick Ass Job Post for a VA

One of our most valuable hiring tips is how to craft job listings that attract qualified candidates and accurately reflect the role. Before you begin, consider how potential candidates would search for a job like this. Include relevant keywords in the title that accurately reflect the responsibilities and required skills. Research popular industry terms and include variations to improve search visibility.

Title and Description

Make sure you write a title that clearly communicates the core essence of the role. Avoid both generic titles and excessive jargon that may confuse applicants. Aim for titles between 4 and 8 words so as not to deter potential applicants from reading further. Highlight the most appealing aspects of the position. This could be growth opportunities, impactful work, or a dynamic work environment. 

Use compelling words to convey the activities involved in the role to spark the applicant’s interest. For example, instead of asking for a Marketing Associate, try “Growth Marketing Specialist.” Change Customer Service Representative to “Customer Happiness Hero.” Try “Business Intelligence Analyst” instead of Data Analyst.

Additional Elements

When possible, weave elements of your company culture into the title to attract candidates who resonate with your values. Showcase the human element of the role. Highlight opportunities for collaboration, creativity, and personal growth. People want to feel like they’ll be working with others and making a real impact.

Instead of just listing duties, use action verbs to paint a picture of a typical day in the role. Move beyond responsibilities and emphasize the achievements made possible by the role. Write with enthusiasm for the role and your company. Your excitement will be palpable to potential candidates.

Interviewing for the Best Hire

We can’t call these ultimate hiring tips without talking about the importance of the vital interview stage.

Before the interview, clearly communicate your company’s mission, core values, and areas of focus for the role. Make sure candidates understand the job description, responsibilities, and required skills for the role. Don’t forget to send clear instructions to the candidate regarding the platform, format, and any materials they should prepare. 

During the interview, create a welcoming and positive virtual environment. Greet the candidate warmly, establish rapport, and smile! Maintain eye contact through the camera to simulate in-person interaction and show attentiveness. Pay close attention to the candidate’s responses, ask clarifying questions, and allow them time to elaborate on their experiences.

Ask questions that speak directly to your required skills and experience. Clarify why each candidate is interested in the position. Target strengths related to the job, and look out for weaknesses, considering whether they can be areas for development and growth.

Prepare behavioral interview questions and understand how candidates would respond using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Look for problem-solving skills and achievements. Take note when candidates give thoughtful answers and additional questions for you.

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

Schedule a free sales call to learn more

Free resources you might like: 

Final Hiring Tips

Be intentional about fostering diversity and inclusion in virtual teams. Top talent is more likely to gravitate to your company if you offer open opportunities. Be flexible in your approach to making the final decision. Try to accommodate candidates’ needs where it doesn’t compromise your needs. 

After choosing the best fit, don’t just ignore everyone else. It’s never an easy conversation, but you should communicate to them that they didn’t make to cut. Make sure you are professional and gracious when delivering a rejection. This begins with doing it as soon as possible. Respect for their time and effort is important. Always thank candidates for applying.

If you can, mention a specific strength or qualification that caught your eye. This shows you reviewed their candidacy seriously. Be honest and concise. If applicable, let them know you’ll keep their resume on file for future openings that might be a good fit. This way, your company will be spoken of within their networks in a positive light.

If you follow these hiring tips, we know that you will be closer to finding that gem of a hire that can propel your business forward.

Categories
Virtual Assistants

Hiring Definition Guide for Entrepreneurs and Virtual Teams

A sign on a door that says we are hiring.

What is your hiring definition? Have you noticed that it can be very different from someone else’s idea of what hiring means?

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said, “There is nothing permanent except change.” That definitely goes for language, maybe even more than anything else. So, as we grow into new things in the hiring world, we need to clarify what hiring is so we know what we’re doing. This helps us to avoid misunderstandings that can lead to poor decisions and unhappy hires.

Understanding the Hiring Definition in the Modern Workplace

Hiring in the modern workplace has evolved beyond simply filling open positions with resumes and interviews. It’s a strategic process focused on finding the right talent  to  achieve specific business goals in a dynamic and competitive environment. We see a few key characteristics that inform a common hiring definition in today’s workplace.

First, we see a focus on the search for skills and cultural fit. Modern hiring goes beyond traditional experience on a resume. Companies look for demonstrated skills and aptitudes relevant to the specific role, often using skills assessments or tests. Experience also comes into play here. Alongside capabilities is an increased value on cultural fit. They know that this can help ensure compatibility with the existing team dynamic, work style, and company values. 

Second, we see a lot of technology and automation intertwined with human labor. Many larger organizations use Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). It helps them to screen resumes, filter candidates based on keywords, and manage the application process efficiently. Smaller companies that don’t have many hires tend to rely more on online assessments and interviews. Written test and video conferencing, for example, facilitate remote hiring and allow for a wider talent pool consideration.

Third, companies are more aware of how important branding is. They cultivate a strong employer brand to attract top talent that fits in well. This involves showcasing company culture, employee testimonials, and career development opportunities. Modern hiring, therefore, also focuses on creating a positive candidate experience throughout the hiring process. This includes clear communication, timely updates, and feedback to all applicants. 

The Shift

A lot of this has to do with a shift in the balance of power in the hiring world. Gone are the days when companies held all the cards. Now, companies have to woo the best talent if they want to make good hires. They can no longer simply put up a post and wait. They also can’t simply expect the best of the best to flock to them, each with their best foot forward. Companies need to make efforts to look good themselves.

In turn, a lot of this is due to the rise of the gig economy. This means that a hiring definition often includes a distinction between employees and freelancers and contract workers. Companies that want to fill specialized skills or project-based needs must consider how to attract these talents. Remote work options are also increasingly common. This expands the talent pool, but it also means that hires have more options. It also offers flexibility to both companies and candidates.

Here are a few more things that have changed over the past few decades. Modern workplaces strive for diversity and inclusion in their hiring practices to build stronger teams with wider perspectives and experiences. Companies value agility and adaptability in hires more than just doing the grind. People who can learn new skills and flow with changes are highly sought-after in today’s fast-paced environment. Companies also use more data and analytics to evaluate hiring strategies and track the success of different recruitment channels. 

The Hiring Process Explained

A man remote onboarding another man via a video call using a laptop.

Stages of the Virtual Hiring Process

The virtual hiring process has become increasingly common as technology facilitates remote work and geographically diverse talent pools. Here’s a breakdown of the key stages involved in hiring someone virtually:

Pre-Virtual Interview Stages

Clearly outline the job requirements, responsibilities, and skills needed in the job description. Use online job boards and your company career page to reach a wider audience. Shortlist qualified candidates based on resumes, cover letters, and initial phone screenings.

Virtual Interview Preparation

Ensure you have a reliable internet connection, functional video conferencing software, and a quiet, professional background for the interview. Develop a structured interview format with clear questions aligned with the job description. This ensures a fair and consistent evaluation process for all candidates.

Conducting the Virtual Interview

Dress professionally and maintain appropriate body language to project a positive image during the virtual interview. Minimize distractions, maintain eye contact with the camera, and allow the candidate time to respond to questions. Use the virtual interview to assess the candidate’s skills, experience, cultural fit, and communication abilities. Make sure that you have also taken the time to master virtual communication. This will help you make the most of every interaction.

Optional Additional Assessments 

Depending on the role, consider incorporating online skills tests to evaluate technical abilities or specific software proficiency. For some positions, requesting a sample work project or writing assignment can provide valuable insights into the candidate’s capabilities. Nore, however, than many freelancers sign NDAs, so they may not be able to show you actual samples.

Reference Checks and Background Screening

Contact the candidate’s references to verify their employment history, skills, and work ethic. Depending on the position and company policy, background checks may be conducted to verify qualifications and ensure a secure work environment.

Offer Negotiation and Contract

Present the job offer virtually, outlining the details of the compensation package, any applicable benefits, and your preferred starting date. Once terms are agreed upon, finalize a formal employment contract that outlines the job responsibilities, compensation, benefits, and legal terms of employment.

Onboarding

Develop a remote onboarding process to welcome the new hire, introduce them to the company culture, team members, and equip them with the necessary tools and resources for success. Maintain regular communication with the new hire throughout the onboarding process to address any questions or concerns and ensure a smooth transition.

Continued Support and Evaluation

Schedule regular virtual check-ins with the new hire to provide feedback, answer questions, and offer ongoing support during their initial adjustment period. Conduct performance reviews to evaluate the new hire’s progress, identify areas for development, and ensure they are meeting expectations in the remote work environment.

Advantages of a Virtual Hiring Process

When you go global, you have access to a broader range of qualified candidates, regardless of geographical location. You can also reduces the costs associated with traditional in-person interviews, like travel and venue expenses. Virtual hiring streamlines the hiring process, too, by allowing interviews and assessments to be conducted virtually. This works whether you are hiring remote talent or local talent. This process also enables scheduling flexibility for both interviewers and candidates. 

By following these stages and leveraging the advantages of virtual hiring, companies can attract top talent, conduct efficient interviews, and build successful remote teams.

Key Components of a Successful Virtual Hiring Strategy

People working together at a table.

In today’s digital world, virtual hiring has become the norm for many businesses. To ensure a successful virtual hiring experience, we see a few key components to keep in mind.

Pre-Interview

First comes preparation. Before you begin, clearly define the skills, experience, and qualifications you want to confirm for the role. This will guide your job description, interview questions, and selection criteria. Craft a compelling and informative job description that outlines the responsibilities, work environment, company culture, and applicable benefits. For example, define whether the work is strictly remote-based or if you require site visits. Develop a structured interview format with clear and consistent questions aligned with the job description. This ensures a fair evaluation process for all candidates.

Before scheduling a meeting, make sure you have the necessary technology and equipment to conduct smooth virtual interviews. This includes a reliable internet connection, high-quality video conferencing software, a professional background, and a functioning webcam and microphone. Provide clear instructions to candidates regarding the interview format, platform to be used, and any preparation materials they might need. For example, do they need to send you a resume or portfolio before you speak?

Interview

For the call, both interviewers and candidates should dress professionally. Appropriate body language is also important to project a positive image. Minimize distractions, maintain eye contact with the camera, and allow the candidate time to respond to questions without interruption. Use the virtual interview to assess the candidate’s skills, experience, cultural fit, communication abilities, and problem-solving skills. Look for indicators of success in a remote work environment, such as time management, self-motivation, and proficiency with communication tools.

Post-Interview

After the interview, you might want to do some reference checks and background screening. Contact the candidate’s references to verify their employment history, skills, and work ethic. If you’re happy with them, present the final job offer virtually, outlining the details so they can confirm that they understand and accept. Once terms are agreed upon, finalize a formal employment contract that outlines the job responsibilities, compensation, benefits, and legal terms of employment.

Hiring Definition for Virtual Teams

A virtual onboarding meeting.

Unique Challenges

Building a successful virtual team comes with its own set of challenges compared to traditional in-person teams. One of the key hurdles to consider is communication and collaboration. Virtual communication can lack the richness of nonverbal cues and face-to-face interaction, leading to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Spontaneous brainstorming sessions and informal chats are less likely to happen virtually, potentially hindering collaboration and team spirit. Remote team members might struggle to stay updated on project progress and company news, creating information silos.

Building trust and upholding company culture in this type of environment is, therefore, vital. Remote workers can feel isolated and disconnected from the team, impacting morale and engagement. Building trust and strong working relationships can be more challenging in a virtual environment. It can be harder to instill and maintain a strong company culture when team members are geographically dispersed. This means that you have to make all the more effort to connect intentionally, and keep team members connected, too.

Similarly, managers may have less visibility into employee workloads and daily activities. This can make performance evaluation more complex. The lack of in-person supervision can lead to micromanagement by some managers, hindering employee autonomy and trust. Working across time zones can create scheduling challenges and hinder real-time collaboration, too.

Opportunities

Despite the challenges, there are significant advantages to consider when hiring for virtual teams. Aside from the abovementioned advantages, virtual hires tend to enjoy the flexibility. Virtual work arrangements offer work-life balance, potentially leading to higher job satisfaction and reduced turnover. Studies also suggest that remote workers can be more productive. This is mostly due to fewer distractions and the ability to work during their most productive hours.

If you establish clear communication channels and protocols, you can mitigate the risks of virtual communication breakdowns. Look into email, video conferencing, and project management tools, for example, and establish your expectations to ensure smooth information flow. We recommend that you use online collaboration tools that facilitate file sharing, real-time document editing, instant messaging, and video conferencing. This has helped us tremendously at Outsource School to foster teamwork and collaboration.

Organize virtual team-building activities and social events to help remote workers connect, build rapport, and foster a sense of team spirit. Practice transparent management, provide regular feedback, and recognize achievements to keep remote workers engaged and motivated. Clearly outline work expectations, project goals, and deadlines for virtual team members to ensure everyone is aligned. Recognize the value of asynchronous communication to accommodate different work schedules and time zones within a virtual team.

What Is Outsource School?

outsource school

Outsource School helps you to unlock the potential of virtual assistants and accelerate your business growth.

This is the exact system Outsource School’s founders, Nathan Hirsch and Connor Gillivan, used to go from zero to 8 figures and 40+ virtual assistants with an exit in 2019.

Since being founded in 2020, Outsource School has helped 1,000+ business owners hire 2,000+ virtual assistants for their companies.

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Conclusion

The hiring definition of today’s modern workplace is a comprehensive and strategic process. It considers skills, culture, technology, employer branding, and evolving workforce models. By focusing on these aspects, companies can attract top talent, build strong teams, and achieve their business goals.