Virtual Employees: Dispelling the Myths of Hiring Online Workers

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The Internet has not only changed the way people shop, communicate, and exchange information, but it has also revolutionized the hiring process.

In the past, brick-and-mortar businesses dedicated days, weeks, or even months seeking out prospective employees. 

Job advertisements regularly ran in newspapers with detailed instructions for interested candidates. Just the task of advertising a position took several days, not to mention the time it took for applicants to begin inquiring. If nothing else, the hiring process required time.  

Today, the process still requires time, but it takes significantly less to advertise a position and hire an employee. Sometimes, you might even skip the advertising part. Some of the best employees in the world are available at the click of a mouse. You can locate a well-qualified freelancer and have them working for you in less than an hour of determining your job opening. 

As good as the online recruitment process is, some people see red flags when it comes to virtual employees. While you need to be careful when hiring online, many of the supposed disadvantages of virtual recruitment are nothing more than hearsay. That’s good news as more recent world events have caused a shift from in-person interactions to strictly virtual or distanced. Many companies are now in a position where remote workers are the only option. 

Let’s take a look at some of the myths surrounding online workers and dispel them once and for all. 

Myth 1: Freelance Workers Are Less Credible

A virtual freelancer’s greatest strength may also be his greatest weakness: distance. Face-to-face encounters often allow the interviewer to extend the time and ask more personal or professional questions. In-person, non-verbal cues can often tell you more about a person than anything they can say. You can observe interpersonal skills and presentation much easier when you’re in the same environment. 

Yes, you can still determine a lot about someone virtually, but you may end an interaction wishing you’d learned more. The job interview remains a dependable aspect of hiring. You may not be as comfortable conducting a virtual interview, but it’s an invaluable hiring tool. 

Often, the prospective employee will claim things that are much harder to prove due to the Internet’s impersonal nature. Email is slow and cumbersome, while video conferencing only provides a snapshot of the person’s character. Multiple scams have been perpetrated by con artists posing as professionals who then take the employer’s money without providing anything in return.

Thankfully, almost all professional freelancing websites now use multiple vetting systems that check each freelancer’s identity by requiring official papers. Some companies use escrow protection to prevent thieves from receiving payment without providing work in return. Often, a dispute system is available that allows employers to get a refund within a specific period in case of any hitches. Therefore, many of the previous drawbacks should no longer pose a significant problem. 

Freelance workers are just like your office employees – people. And just as you would protect those people and your business, do the same with those you hire online. Search out reputable freelancing websites or a system for verifying credentials. Whether the experience or skills backs up an executive position or a temporary one, a resume with references is a great starting point. On a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) resume guide, it is plain to see how you can pick out the best credential from a complete resume alone. However, don’t let this myth scare you off online hiring. Over time, you’ll know what to look for and avoid and be a virtual hiring pro. 

Myth 2: Freelance Workers Cannot Be Effectively Trained

When hiring workers on-site, employers can show new staff the ropes by providing one-to-one and hands-on training. Mentoring situations, perhaps simple to set up in the office, seem all but impossible online. Long-distance training through methods like text or video modules is difficult for many jobs, which is why lots of employers prefer to hire and train the traditional way. However, with advances in technology tools, off-site training doesn’t have to be a big headache. 

The first step is to gauge skills before hiring or introducing training accurately. The wonderful thing about freelance websites is that many now feature various certification tests for workers, often free of charge. Many also use a ranking system that matches employers with the best-skilled workers available for their job. Furthermore, online portfolios allow freelancers to post samples of their past work, allowing prospective employers to determine whether they have the skills to meet their needs. 

Once you’ve determined the necessary training for an employee, you can move to administer it effectively. Technology advances not only make distance training possible; they make it the top choice. In fact, a company will find itself well behind the times if it doesn’t already have some kind of virtual instruction in place. 

Even if you prefer traditional teaching methods, technology tools can help. Mentors and supervisors can record step-by-step videos of specific skills or tasks to send to employees. If a phone call isn’t feasible because of time differences, even voice memos work. Larger companies may outsource some training material and supplement it with live question and answer sessions. The bottom line is you don’t have to rely on just one online format or vehicle for your training. 

Myth 3: Freelance Workers Cannot Be Monitored

On-site employees usually stay in an office building, allowing managers to peer over their shoulders and monitor their progress continually. At the least, managers can check in periodically and get instant feedback on projects and tasks. 

On the other hand, freelancers are often hundreds of miles away, preventing this level of supervision. This fact stops many companies from hiring off-site employees due to the fear of being blind to work status. However, monitoring the progress of online workers is not out of reach. 

The good news is that task and time tracking software is now available. Freelancers and your in-house workers can use this software, so it’s a wise investment. Through software, you can access reports for project status and time management. Some software will even send the employer an automatic screenshot of a computer to show the current task. You can choose the software based on the level of supervision you think is necessary. Also, you can personalize settings depending on your company’s policies. Today, there’s a tool no matter your supervisory preferences. 

Myth 4: Freelance Workers Are Less Productive

An employee’s value is measured by productivity. But productivity is not necessarily dependent upon being physically present at a specific location. Online work is not for everyone, but those who are well-suited to it will be productive members of your team. 

The flexibility of remote work is what attracts many freelancers to the industry. It’s a line of work where you’ll typically find self-starters, self-managers, and self-motivators. Freelance work is convenient for independent and self-sufficient personnel. 

If you’ve implemented a sound hiring system, there’s less need to micromanage. So, distance workers may actually be the key to increasing your own productivity. Companies are spared excessive hand-holding. Trusted employees return consistent work. Now, employers are free to do other critical tasks and let workers handle their responsibilities. 

Building a dependable workforce means attracting talent near and far. If hiring online saves you time on the front end, it’s now clear that it saves you time in the long run as well. Imagine being able to rely on employees no matter how far away they’re located. If an employee’s value is measured by productivity, you’ll find freelancers to be valuable indeed. 

Truth: Freelancing Supplements Traditional Hiring

Of course, traditional hiring still has its uses. Some jobs cannot be outsourced, such as cleaning services, law enforcement, and healthcare (although it’s uncertain how these industries will evolve in the future). Still, those unfamiliar with freelancing or online employees should not instantly recoil at the thought of off-site job seekers. And virtual recruitment is valuable no matter the industry. 

Since its introduction, a decade or so ago, the freelancing industry has significantly improved. Even so, remote work among traditional employees is not an uncommon practice. Today, an entrepreneur or business owner who doesn’t utilize freelancing and distance working to its fullest is missing out. It’s an opportunity that could and most certainly will positively influence the success of their company. 

Online hiring and freelancing may never fully replace traditional hiring and designated office spaces, but it certainly merits your consideration. The Internet is your gateway to thousands if not millions of workers around the world. It is practically impossible not to find an ideal match. 

Don’t be afraid to make technology work for you. When freelancers work with professional resume service, what more those who are hiring. The tools at your disposal intend to make your job quicker and more straightforward, and more effective. If you’re still unsure, look at what other companies are doing. Research some freelancing websites. See what works and what doesn’t, but don’t let the myths of virtual employees dissuade you.

After all, it’s supremely gratifying to know that someone out there is doing your work, even if you don’t get to shake hands with them.

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