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Three Steps To Hiring Remotely With Confidence


Taylor Liggett is the General Manager of Sterling Identity, where he leads Sterling’s global identity services business.

Like remote work, remote hiring is becoming commonplace. Given the competitive hiring landscape, that’s good news for employers. Talent pools open up when limitations ease around specific geographic locations, giving companies greater opportunities to find the best candidates. Remote hiring practices like virtual interviews are a must to leverage this wealth of candidates in other cities, states or countries. Remote hiring is not without its own challenges, however. Hiring decisions impact more than just the position being filled — workplace safety, customer trust and corporate reputations are also on the line.

Earlier this year, Computerworld cited several instances of candidate switching in the ultra-competitive technology sector. In one case, the candidate cleared three virtual interviews and technical hurdles for a senior engineering position. He even went through company onboarding. But upon attending his first virtual team meeting, the company instantly knew there was a problem. According to the article, “He literally wasn’t the person they’d interviewed. He didn’t look the same, didn’t talk the same, and most important of all, he didn’t have the job skills they needed.” While the company had some HR hoops to jump through, this deception was caught early enough to prevent more serious problems. However, many similar stories don’t end the same way.

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In March, AP News reported guilty pleas entered by two of 19 individuals charged last year in a nationwide employment identity theft conspiracy. Federal prosecutors said stolen identities were used to set up fake driver accounts with ride-sharing and delivery companies. The driver accounts were then sold or rented to individuals who might otherwise be disqualified for hiring.

More recently, the FBI warned about an increase in deepfake images and stolen personally identifiable information being used for remote work positions.

How can companies make fast yet safe hiring decisions when today’s candidate interactions are often virtual?

1. Optimize your HR workflow.

The pressure to pivot to remote processes in 2020 left businesses little time for finesse. Since remote hiring is here to stay, HR teams need to assess the effectiveness of their processes and identify potential gaps that can put companies at a hiring disadvantage or even expose staff, customers and the organization to risk.

For example, if your HR workflow doesn’t include a native mobile experience, you could be missing an opportunity to secure top, legitimate talent in today’s candidate-driven market. Providing a smooth, convenient hiring process—from recruiting through onboarding—keeps candidates engaged. If your process is disconnected and candidates don’t feel informed, they may quickly move on to other employers.

In addition, even though your employees may not be seeing each other in person, and the idea of an office is a loose one, your organization still has a culture to consider. Prioritizing whether a candidate is a good fit for your organization’s culture can help in the process of finding legitimate candidates. Past this, you can ask yourself questions like: Do your hiring processes and HR workflow allow you to thoroughly assess your candidates? Do you have measures in place to make sure they are who they say they are?

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2. Consider identity verification alongside background screening.

The shift to remote and hybrid workplaces means HR teams need to do their due diligence on new hires.

Many people think that a background check confirms identity, but that’s not the case. A background check simply returns results based on the name and demographic details provided. Deliberate subterfuge isn’t the only concern. Even a missing middle initial, forgetting a prefix or a simple typo may result in incomplete background check results. Reliance on virtual interviews only increases the need to verify identity; it’s much easier to falsify a driver’s license (or another form of identification) when it will be shared digitally rather than viewed in person.

Companies may want to consider identity verification in conjunction with a background check to ensure that their results are accurate and complete. This is of particular concern for roles where people have access to sensitive information or are working with vulnerable populations. Fortunately, there are a growing number of digital options supporting identity verification that you can look into.

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3. Know the laws.

Evolving regulations have an impact on the hiring process. For example, federal, state and local fair chance or ban-the-box laws continue to expand in support of diversity, equity and inclusion commitments. Consider these types of laws when determining if or when a criminal background check is appropriate and what pre-screening questions you can ask individuals. Additionally, some states have specific privacy and biometric collection laws that are important to take into account when implementing identity verification programs. Staying alert to upcoming obligations and restrictions allows hiring to be done in a way that complies with applicable laws and treats candidates fairly, all without sacrificing safety.

You can hire with authenticity, trust and safety.

Remote hiring opens the door to more candidates than ever before. However, it is very important to know the laws of the states and regions where you are doing your remote hiring. In addition, to truly take advantage of the opportunities ahead, companies may want to reimagine and modernize their hiring processes. By treating the background check as a business-critical part of the hiring process and by considering identity verification as an added measure to help mitigate risk, organizations can support their efforts to hire top talent quickly while creating a remote workplace based on authenticity, trust and safety.


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