How to Hire Remote Employees

Even with COVID-19 numbers declining, working from home has become the new norm. Sourcing candidates is often harder for companies that are building a remote team. While hiring is time-consuming, it might be the most important thing you do as an employer to create a successful team. 

We have collated a few steps to help you hire remote employees easily. 

Create a good job description

Before you start finding candidates, make sure to create a good job description. Usually, companies post generic job opening descriptions, which does not help the applicants decide if they want to join your company or not. Since small companies don’t have a local reputation, you have to maximize your efforts to sell your company and the role of your job openings. 

When defining the job description, the best way is to take time to understand the specific roles the remote employee would be performing. According to Zapier, there are two approaches to writing a remote job post.

The first approach is shadowing the work, a trick that Basecamp uses when hiring for a new position. Jason Fried, the company’s co-founder, explained this method in a Reddit AMA. Fried said that at Basecamp, they like to try to do the position first with the people within the company before deciding on a new post. They believe that it is hard to evaluate someone’s abilities if you don’t understand the work. 

The second approach is conducting a kick-off meeting. If shadowing the work is not feasible, you can still gather detailed information about the role. You can schedule a search kick-off meeting with hiring managers to familiarize yourself with the position.

By doing either of these approaches, you will be able to write a more compelling job description. 

Develop a hiring process

When hiring remote employees, ask them to apply uniquely- don’t just ask for their resumes. Other companies don’t ask for resumes at all. Instead, they create a better hiring process that educates applicants about the position. At the same time, the process should inform the recruitment team about the candidate.

For example, when hiring for a business development position, Zapier shared that they included application questions to understand the role’s partner duties. The answer to these questions also helped them to know how candidates would handle critical responsibilities. It is also recommended to ask applicants for a business development position to write a sample pitch email to a partner instead of asking for a cover letter. 

Put candidates to the test

At this point, you can put the candidates to the test. Depending on the role, formulate a task of moderate difficulty indicating the types of activities they will perform daily. For instance, for a marketing position, that may be writing a blog post in partnership with someone on the team.

If passed, invite top candidates to a video call interview

The recruiter, hiring manager, and other team members reviewing the application will select candidates for the next step, a recruiter interview. Once the candidates pass that interview, invite them to the job fit interview and use a rubric to rate them. 

During the job fit interview, learn more about the candidate and ask questions to see if they would succeed in the remote work environment. This is best done synchronously, so maximize your time. Doing so also helps you more easily compare candidates.

Take note of how well the candidate communicates when seeking to hire remote employees. Remember, effective communication is essential in a remote position. Potential warning signs are people who are poor at following up via email, overlook the schedule, or aren’t flexible with an interview time concerning time zones.

Check references and make an offer.

Before making an offer, send out an anonymous survey for a reference check where you can use SkillSurvey. This process helps you obtain feedback about the applicants through their references.

After successfully hiring new remote employees, allow them to introduce themselves to the entire team. Often, they present themselves in their first weekly hangout with the group, sharing their background and anything fun they want to share. Once your remote team is established, make sure that your employees remain involved and motivated in contributing to the company’s success.