Remote or onsite recruiter: Which is best for your organization?
To answer this question, we really need to know what you are trying to achieve by hiring or replacing a recruiter on your team. Asking some important questions about your current environment, leadership, and hiring manager level are a good place to start.
The reason why there are a lot of companies that require their recruiters to work onsite daily is due to their lack of leadership, systems, and processes in place. If the recruiter is spending most of their time training and coaching hiring managers on how to follow the hiring process correctly and how to successfully hire and treat applicants, then you are really not looking for a recruiter. You are looking for a consultant or change-management professional who can implement training and processes to influence hiring managers in the right direction.
I also see a lot of immature managers who believe if you are not in the office every day, you are not really working. This is so old school. I’ve managed onsite and remote, and the remote recruiters normally outperform the onsite recruiters because they put in more hours. They don’t have to commute, which is at least an hour for most people. They also don’t have 15-20-minute coffee breaks and chit-chat sessions that eat up time as well. If you are a good remote recruiter, you probably get more done by lunch than half of the other onsite recruiters on your team.
If you already have a process in place and you need someone to fill open roles, hire a remote recruiter who can occasionally meet with business leaders and the hiring manager, but who can put their head down and fill open roles quickly. I’ve hired many recruiters over the years and a lot of times any problems that arise are not the recruiter’s fault. They are really based on the setup of the work environment and the expectations that are given.
A lot of times organizations don’t understand this. They have a high-volume need for a recruiter. But, they put them in a 9-5 in the office situation that stifles their productivity. They are constantly being interrupted by co-workers and non-productive meetings to discuss special projects and things that are not involved in filling positions.
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Some people work better in the office. Some people work better at home. It all depends on their experience, personality, and drive. I’ve led some high-volume RPO projects as well as sourcing teams where I could never have the recruiters in the office. We had very strict deadlines and they needed to be either on the phone screening candidates or online sourcing candidates.
I’ve also seen the extreme side of things. Companies hire remote recruiters and then leave them out on an island where they don’t know what’s going on and don’t have a great internal communication strategy. The recruiters always feel like they are trying to play catch up to understand the department and company direction.
There are so many online collaboration tools, from Skype to Slack to Google Hangouts, that communication should never been an issue. If you are hiring remote recruiters, bi-weekly video calls can help keep in touch with people on your team and make sure everything is going well.
It’s all about hiring the right person for the right job. Just make sure you know the job before you start hiring.