by Sharni-Marie Barney, (@MarieSharni) Guest Contributor.
Do you dare to remote recruit?
This week, I am proud present an exception to the regular recruitment rules.
In The HR Rabbit Hole blog, it is always great fun to indulge my personal quest to debunk commonly held wisdom, dismiss middle of the road thinking and break free of the narrow confines of the nay-sayers.
When building a business, is it possible (or wise), to recruit a remote team whilst traveling the world with your family?
You may be thinking this.
“Of course, this kind of lifestyle only works for certain industries […] And once you have the spouse, children and a mortgage, fuggedaboudit.” Inc magazine article, on the topic of travelling and working full time.
Truth be told, you can recruit a really great remote team, travel the world with your family and grow your business.
Don’t just take my word for it.
I’ll let guest contributor, Sharni-marie Barney – Digital strategist and founder of Forj Marketing, tell you how in her own words.
Sure, there is a lot of this.
However, make no mistake there is tonnes of this too.
When I decided to start travelling the world with my family about 12 months ago, I never imagined how challenging it would be to build my business at the same time. Call me naïve.
How hard could it be? I was operating solo and was managing most clients remotely anyway.
On the first of January this year, I woke up. As I was getting ready in the morning, looking in the mirror all that was on my mind was the social media stuff I needed to be doing for my clients.
It was New Year’s Day and instead of looking forward to celebrating with friends and family; business was on my mind.
That was it! I knew right then that I desperately needed help if this wagon was ever going to gather any pace.
Flicking Through My Mental Rolodex
First of all, my mind started mentally flicking through all the people I knew in my online and offline circles. I scanned their abilities, their connection to both myself and my business, and their enthusiasm for the world of digital marketing. I was searching for a personality that I could trust.
Finally, the scan stopped very quickly on an amazing lady I had met on Twitter 2 years previously. She had done a few guest blog posts for me, and I had watched her interactions on social media over the years. I was impressed.
To Recruit, Follow the Signs and Your Intuition
I had never spoken to her on the phone, and had never met her in person.
But I sensed from everything I saw online and the few personal messages that had gone back and forth between us that she was a loyal person with a great work ethic, with a passion to learn and develop her skills. As a result of this, I sent her a message. At 7:30am on New Years’ day (probably inappropriate). But I was so excited to hear her response that I couldn’t wait another day.
An hour later she messaged back – “Let’s Skype”. By the end of the day we had come to an agreement for her to start working with me 2 days per week to get things moving.
By the end of March, she was my first full time employee. In the 2 months following that, I hired another 3 people who also work for me remotely. We are covering 4 time zones between our team. They have all had a trial period to show me their ability to commit, communicate and get good quality results.
Hiring on the fly can be challenging, but it does actually work.
Hiring on The Fly: How Does She Do It?
Probably you have some questions.
- How do I know who to recruit?
- How do I go about actually hiring them?
- How do I know I can trust them to work the hours they commit to working – especially when the ‘office’ is virtual?
Here is my strategy with 7 tips to Recruiting a Really Great (Remarkable) Remote Team to help me grow my strategic digital marketing business.
1. Always be hiring: I am constantly analysing my business, the vision for the steps needed to go to the next level, and the types of skills I need to get there. I always have my next ‘hire’ in mind. In every online and offline human interaction and connection, I am thinking, “could you be the next member of my team.”
2. Don’t get desperate. When I make a connection, I talk to people (possible candidates) about their lives, their current work, their goals, and gather ideas of what motivates them and their focus for personal development. I often have these kinds of conversations before I even mention that I am looking for a new employee. Take your time when you recruit. Slow hiring works best.
3. Don’t hire for perfect skills (it’s a myth).I hire personalities that are committed to learning and growing into the skills I require. It is much easier to teach than to re-teach.
4. Clarity is everything. I set task goals and agree the maximum hours I want them to spend on client work early in the conversation. Once hired, if they are reaching the KPI’s, then I am not concerned with the hours they submit for their wages. We have monthly conversations about these targets and their individual work strategies. Not ‘reviews’ – these are open conversations to help them grow into their skills.
5. Be Honest and Open. I encourage and expect honesty on all levels. My staff know that I am patient, but they also know that I need to know what is going on… for their improvement and for the survival of the business (which is also their jobs).
6. Use your networks to find people. I ask for referrals from people I respect and trust. I monitor people’s engagement on social media platforms. I have open eyes and ears all the time.
7. Relationships matter. I use my instinct to recruit people I feel that I can connect with. I hire people who align with my business values.
All of my team have been hired while I have been travelling. I met one through Twitter, one from a Facebook group, one is a good friend, and one from another project I was working on.
The Last Word
Being a confident, transparent and honest leader makes all the difference when you are recruiting and managing a virtual team. I believe my team respect me, and respect that I am invested in them – with a focus to empower them, not control them.
A big thank you to Sharni for sharing her 7 top tips building a really great remote team and hiring on the fly.
Give these tips a try. Add your own twist to make them work for you.
Do you have any comments or other super smart remote team hiring tips? Pop them in the comments. We would love to hear from you!
Our Guest Contributor is…
Sharni-marie Barney – Digital strategist and founder of Forj Marketing, a bespoke agency specialising in helping businesses go to the next level and realise their potential using tailored marketing strategies. She is working with clients in 8 countries, 2 different languages and 4 time zones. You will find her growing her business whilst making her way across the globe with hubby and 2 kids under 6 years old.
Last pit stop, Thailand. Current location, England. Next destinations, Ireland, Norway & Germany.
She leads her team and manages her business from spaces where the coffee is hot and the Wi-Fi signal is strong. Oh and please don’t call her a digital nomad…