Journal

How To: Be a Remote Recruiter

6 minute read

As remote workers, at least for those that do not have full-time positions already, your days consist of regular work, and then to finding work. The never ending second job of finding more work before your current work runs out. Sometimes we're lucky and land a big contract that will have us set for a couple of months, but other times, we're not so lucky. One career path that has become more common and widespread in the last few years is a recruiter, also known as a headhunter. Just like other companies, some talent agencies require their recruiters to be based in that particular area, while other in-house recruiters are able to work remotely (and vice-versa). Cue Nichole, a remote recruiter who has joined the Tribe recently and shared some more information about what she does and how she gets the job done!

Nichole WiFi Tribe

POSITION | FUNCTIONAL ROLE:

I'm a full-time Recruiter, so basically I set up new positions and meet with the hiring managers via WebEx to discuss what their company is looking for. From there I review applicant resumes to determine whether they’re a fit for the position.  If they appear to have all, or some of the qualifications, I set up a phone screen with them to discuss their background, what they’re looking for and any additional details I have on the position.  I then send my notes over to the hiring manager who decides whether or not they want to move forward with bringing them in for an in-person interview.  If we are struggling to find qualified applicants, I work on finding ways to source candidates.  LinkedIn is the main tool used for that. 

HOURS | PAY SCALE | BENEFITS:

I have been working 8-5pm CST M-F since I have been living the digital nomad lifestyle (16+ months).  I do have some flexibility in putting time off on the calendar when needed.  It was my goal when I started doing this to make it seem like I was still in the office (and most of my hiring managers aren’t even aware that I’m not!) in order to make it work.  It’s definitely not easy though, depending on the time zone (ahem, Asia).  I did recently ask to work a more flexible work schedule of 5am-2pm CST. 

As a contractor (w2, not independent 1099), I would say the average hourly rate is anywhere from $20-50/hour depending on experience level and the company.  I work for a corporation, but I believe there are some staffing agencies that will hire remote recruiters or sourcers.  Those positions would have a lower salary and be commission based. 

As far as benefits, I receive them through the staffing agency that placed me at my company.  They cover medical, dental and 401K.  The only benefit I do not have is paid time off.  I do purchase travel medical insurance as well, just to make sure I’m covered while traveling. 

ATTRIBUTES FOR SUCCESS:

group work

Since Recruiters typically have to do phone or video calls, the schedule might not always be ideal depending on the location and where you’re recruiting candidates from.  It takes a lot of self-discipline to work a standard, 40 hour US work week.  You might miss out on a lot of group activities and dinners since I’ve found that most digital nomads have a much more flexible schedule.  If you can, I would ask to have a little overlap with the office hours and schedule your calls during that time.  When I was in Asia working until 5 or 6am, I tried to schedule all calls in the beginning of my work day because trying to have a conversation with someone at 3am when you’re fighting to stay awake is tough.

Find what type of environment you work best and are most productive in.  For me, I need a quiet place to work with not too many distractions.   I find I get stressed working from coffee shops or places where there’s a lot of background noise since I have to make a lot of calls and think it sounds unprofessional if the person on the other side can hear all that. I’m perfectly fine working from my apartment (as long as it has some natural light and is comfortable – this isn’t always the case).  Co-working spaces are always an option as well if you find that you are most productive around other people who are working, or in an office type setting.  Everyone is different so find what works best for you.

Communication is huge with any remote job.  Especially in recruiting, where you’re not necessarily completing projects or tasks like you do in other professions.  My hiring managers are my clients.  So, if I’m struggling to fill a position, I make sure to let them know what I’m seeing out in the marketplace and what I’ve been doing so that they know I’m working on it and haven’t forgotten about them.  I don’t even bother telling most that I’m traveling anymore because to me, as long as the job is getting done, it shouldn’t matter where it’s getting done from.  Also, it’s just a long story to explain repeatedly and a lot of people still don’t really get this whole digital nomad concept.

TRAINING/EDUCATION:

I have my degree in Business Management, and took a lot of HR courses (just a couple shy of having an HR major).  But typically as long as you have a degree, you’re fine.  It’s not necessary to have a specialized degree to work in recruiting.

HOW DID YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE NOW? 

It took me a few years to get to this point.  When I was in my mid-20’s I had bought a condo in Minneapolis and was working in Retail Merchandising.  I was feeling unfulfilled/bored with my work and was brainstorming my next move and thought it would be amazing to be able to combine work and travel.  At the time, I was like maybe I’ll just go teach English in Vietnam...  But had some concerns about not being able to make enough money to be able to pay off some debts I had, actually be able to enjoy myself and still travel while doing it.  In reality, I was probably making excuses, because it is a scary jump to take.  Especially when we’ve been taught by society that we need to buy a house and settle down and a lot of people think you’re being irresponsible and/or crazy if you’re not conforming to that idea.  I kind of fell into Recruiting by accident, though when I look back at college, it kind of makes sense I am where I am now.  A friend of mine referred me to a staffing agency she had worked for.  The staffing industry often sells you on the amount of money you can make, not telling you how long it takes you to get to that point.  Anyways, my plan was to make a decent amount of money, pay off my debt, save money and then go teach English somewhere.  I was in that industry for 2 years, and found that it was not for me.  A former colleague of mine had suggested that I look into switching to contracting, where the job stress is typically much lower than a staffing agency and pay is higher.  I decided to try it out and here I am 2.5 years later still working the same contract for a large corporation in Minnesota. 

Nichole WiFi Tribe

About the same time I went into staffing, I had also started renting out my condo to save money and give myself more flexibility.  My second tenant had reached out to me about breaking her lease a little early because she was going to be leaving to travel the world.  I thought that was so cool and started asking her questions about it, thinking oh she must have a ton of money saved up or something, how else would you do that?  Upon discovering that not only was she still working her job remotely and traveling, I had decided on a new plan…  I just needed that remote job!  I had made up my mind in April that I was going to start traveling in September 2016.  I was kind of scared to tell/ask my boss what I was going to do (ok really scared).  At this point, I had been a contractor with the company for less than a year.  I was just going to find something else and give proper notice.  Well, as all of us who have searched for remote jobs know, it’s not that easy.  Especially if you have a certain income you want to maintain.  Remote jobs are starting to become more prevalent but unless you’re in the tech field, for instance, a lot of what is out there tends to be on the virtual admin side or may be remote, but requires somewhat frequent US travel (if that’s where you’re based).   

I had just gotten back from a trip to Greece with my girlfriends and was a bit jetlagged.  My boss came to me to let me know that the other contractor was let go and basically told me not to leave her.   I have no poker face so my face always betrays me and I ended up sharing my plan with her.  The response I received was, “that sounds amazing, but no.  Let me know when you find something else and we’ll work on your transition plan.”  She would periodically check in to see how the search was going and was nervous for me when my response was, “still don’t know, but I’ll figure it out.” I think what finally changed her mind was a discussion where I was explaining the challenge of finding an employer willing to take that risk on you when they have no idea of your work ethic, etc.  And that I need to work in order to do this, it’s not just a paid vacation (which I feel like that’s a lot of people’s initial reaction).  About a week or so later, I was working from home and received an IM asking what it would be like if I was allowed to do this… I couldn’t believe it.  I put together a business case, and my Manager worked on getting all the proper approvals.  Everyone was and continues to be very supportive, which is amazing. 

While it took a lot of work and sacrifice to get here, it really is the ultimate dream come true.  I encourage anyone who is wanting to try out this lifestyle to figure out a way to propose it to your current employer in an enticing way that is beneficial for both of you (only if you want to continue doing what you’re doing, of course).  If they truly value you as an employee, chances are they will be willing to work with you.  You don’t get what you don’t ask for – so just ask!!!


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RESOURCES:

While you don't have to have any specific training prior to beginning a career in recruiting (aside from a college degree), there are various helpful online courses that are available. Aside from that, always remember that there is room for growth and improvement within your profession. Networking is a big part of recruiting, as well as prominent avenue to expand your contacts and professional relationships. 

Typical applications/tools include LinkedIn Recruiter , which is the recruiting side of the site that allows you to search for profiles and connect with professionals directly and share information on the current job you're trying to fill. Monster and Indeed also offer a similar interface, providing live updates to the talent that's available, have recently changed their career path or just actively looking for other opportunities. Salesforce is another platform that larger companies may utilize their book of business, but it's not always offered remotely. 

In order to stay on top of your listings and the continued growth of your book of business, social media is naturally another outlet you'll likely utilize in order to get the word out that you're in search of the perfect candidate! Hoostuite allows you to manage all your social channels from one place, even scheduling them beforehand. So, if you've got a standing post searching for a position that is regularly staffed, Hootsuite will keep you on top of keeping your roster up to date. 


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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Jessica is a freelance copywriter and OG member of WiFi Tribe. While she is based in Los Angeles, she has been traveling throughout Latin America for over a year, with plans to tackle SE Asia this coming fall after some US explorations set for summer 2k18. She is the principle blogger for WiFi Tribe, but also writes for a few ecommerce companies and non profit organisations based in the US. Aside from work, Jessica has awesome hair (obvi) and is a future NY Times Bestselling Author... as soon as she finishes writing her first novel (it'll be worth the wait, I promise). You can keep up with her via her Instagram if you want to see some cool pix and funny memes :)