Finding and retaining top talent is key in the modern business landscape. However, many of today’s high-performing employees don’t want to spend their workday stuck behind a desk. In fact, they may not want to come into the office at all.
Appealing to highly qualified digital nomads can be tricky. If you want to tap into the digital nomad talent pool, you’ll need to offer some strategic perks to help support those who live and work on the road.
You’ll also need to revise your approach to interviews, hiring and onboarding. This will increase the volume of applications you receive and improve your chances of finding the right candidate.
Understanding Digital Nomads
Current estimates suggest that 16.9 million Americans are digital nomads. That means roughly 10% of the American workforce (167.9 million) now live and work on the road. While folks may choose to work remotely for many reasons, 74.9% say they decided to make the leap after the pandemic.
There’s no consensus on what, exactly, makes a digital nomad. However, most agree that digital nomads are employees or freelancers who work from multiple locations. Many folks make this decision in search of greater freedom, an improved work-life balance, and a desire to see more of the world. Those who work on the road may also experience common benefits of remote work, such as:
- Increased financial freedom
- Improved health and wellness
- Higher work satisfaction
- A better family life
It’s important to recognize that, though they prioritize freedom, digital nomads still care deeply about their career progression and professional reputation. Just like office-bound employees, digital nomads are looking for positions that are fulfilling, engaging, and offer growth. This is good news from a recruiting perspective, as you don’t have to reinvent your entire approach to hiring remote candidates.
Appealing to Nomads
Hiring digital nomads can deepen your company’s talent pool and raise the standards at your place of work. However, if you want to attract top talent you’ll need to offer some serious perks and incentives.
When drafting recruiting materials, research perks that would directly benefit digital nomads. For example, if you want to hire folks who work on the road, you should probably offer van upgrades for remote workers. Focus on ways you can help with important van life perks like unlimited data plans, in-built Wi-Fi devices, international calls and hotspot enhancers. This will build interest amongst digital nomads and improve their performance after they sign a contract.
While many digital nomads are happy with their lives on the road, some may want to settle down and enjoy the benefits of permanently relocating for a job. Appeal to digital nomads with their eye on the long term by continuing to offer relocation assistance packages. This will reduce turnover at your firm, build interest amongst career-oriented applicants and help digital nomads transition to life in one place.
Be clear about your company’s expectations for digital nomads before you conduct any interviews. Clear expectations regarding time commitments and deadlines will help digital nomads figure out if a position is right for them. This reduces the amount of time you spend assessing folks who wouldn’t actually be a good fit for the role and helps you focus on running a flexible hiring and onboarding process.
Flexible Hiring and Onboarding
Flexibility is king when working with digital nomads. Nothing will turn off talented applicants like mandating strict working hours or offering restricted times for interviews. The folks who make their living on the road will refuse to build their life around your business and will withdraw their application if you try to make them fit the 9-to-5 model.
Give applicants a greater sense of autonomy during the hiring and interview process. Free up more time than usual for interviews and be prepared to schedule calls with folks who live and work in different time zones. This will deepen your talent pool and help you build appeal during the interview process.
If you struggle to find a mutually agreeable time to conduct interviews, consider hosting asynchronous interviews instead. Asynchronous interviews replicate the back-and-forth structure of an in-person interview but give folks time to respond at their own pace. This also helps you assess potential hires’ digital aptitude, as they’ll need to work through simple programs to provide answers to your questions.
Lean heavily on asynchronous learning when onboarding new hires. Asynchronous onboarding allows folks to work at their own pace during times that work best for them. Before scheduling any calls or remote meetings, ask your new hires to provide their available hours. This means that you won’t accidentally take them away from their family time in order to review their onboarding progress.
Recruiting remote workers in the digital nomad era requires adaptability and flexibility at every step. Try to make the process as easy as possible by clearly communicating your expectations and hosting asynchronous interviews/onboarding. Follow up by offering benefits and perks that appeal to digital nomads, as this will deepen your applicant pool and attract highly qualified, career-oriented employees.
Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer from the Pacific Northwest. She is interested in better living through technology and education. She loves traveling to beautiful places and is frequently lost in a mystery podcast.
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