How to Hire Great Remote Workers

By: Kristina Martić

Thinking about hiring remote employees? This step-by-step guide will let you in on all the secrets of remote recruiting. In this guide, you’ll learn how to successfully find and hire the best remote employees - those who are a perfect fit for your open job position and your company culture.

The challenges of remote hiring

Hiring remote employees can seem like a daunting endeavor. Most employers who are looking to hire remote employees struggle with questions such as:

  • Where can we find great remote candidates?

  • How can we attract the right type of candidates?

  • What are the most important skills and traits we should be looking for in remote candidates?

  • How to choose the best person for our remote job position?

  • How to make sure that our perfect candidate is indeed that perfect as (s)he seems on the paper?

If you’re struggling with some of the above questions, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, you’ll learn all the secrets of the successful remote recruiting process.

Are you ready to learn how to successfully find and hire remote the best remote employees? Those that are a perfect fit for you open job position as well as your company culture?

Great! Let’s get down to business.

The biggest (dis)advantage of remote hiring

Before we dive right into our 10-step guide to hiring remote employees, there is one thing you need to understand. Hiring remote employees isn’t dramatically different to hiring local, in-house employees, but there are a few important nuances.

When you’re hiring remotely, you get an opportunity to tap into an incredibly vast talent pool. You are opening the door of your company to potential applicants all over the globe. And that is the biggest advantage and at the same time also the biggest disadvantage of remote hiring.

When you’re looking to hire remote employees, you can get access to top talent scattered all over the world. At the same time though, you are also in greater danger of getting swamped with unqualified candidates. There are people who will apply just because they like the idea of not going to the office and working in their pajamas.

This is the reason why remote hiring requires a bit different approach than in-house local hiring. You have to find the right person not only for your open job position, but also for your unique company culture and the specific way you work - remotely. Unfortunately, there are many candidates who think that remote work is all fun and games and imagine it to be much easier than it really is.

This is why you need to add different sophisticated methods and steps to your hiring process. Adjusting your remote employee recruitment process will make sure that you hire only those candidates who can actually hack remote work and life. I’ll show you how to do it in ten easy to follow steps.

10-step guide for hiring remote employees

Following these 10 steps will help you find and hire quality remote employees quickly and efficiently:

Step 1: Write a job description

The first step in hiring a remote employee is to write a clear job description for the position you are looking to fill. Many employers use generic job descriptions for remote positions, but this is a mistake. You need to adapt this generic job description template to fit your own needs.

To do that, you first need to gain a thorough understanding of the position you are hiring for. Take time to think about your hiring needs. Include your whole team and create collaborative job descriptions. You should also make sure that your job description is oriented on activities.

Step #2: Define your candidate persona

Once you’ve clearly defined the role you are hiring for and have a list of job duties and tasks, it’s time to define your candidate persona. The candidate persona is the fictional representation of your ideal candidate. Use your job description as a starting point for creating your candidate persona.

Imagine a person who would be perfect for your job and your company. Think beyond education and work experience. Focus on specific skills, personality, interests and motivation and that would make a remote employee successful in your company. It is also important to define what whether it is important for you that your ideal candidate has prior experience working remotely.

Step #3: Define your employee value proposition

Having an excellent employee value proposition is an important part of every successful hiring strategy. Employee value proposition is your offer to your employees and candidates. It is everything you company offers in return for your employees’ work.

Employee value proposition includes different elements such as salary perks, benefits, great project, work-life balance, etc. If you want to attract remote workers, highlight specific remote perks you offer. For example, you can offer a stipend for home office equipment, covering internet costs, subscriptions to a co-working space, and so on.

Step #4: Explain how you work

This is extremely important step when hiring remote employees. Unfortunately, this is also the one step that most remote employers omit. Before you start hiring, you need to have a clear remote working strategy in place. This means that you need to clearly define your company’s requirements and rules for collaborating remotely.

For example, do you need your remote employees to work in a certain time frame, no matter what time zone they are in? You should also decide how quickly do you want them to respond to emails, when they need to be available on Skype or Slack and how and when check-in calls should occur. Laying out the rules you have for working remotely will send an important message that your company takes the remote work seriously.

Step #5: Create a job ad

The fifth step is creating a job advertisement. Now you need to think like a marketer and sells candidates on why your job and your company. Why should they choose to work for you? Why is your company a great place to work? What makes you unique?

If you’ve followed the above four steps, you already have all the answers you need to write a great job ad. Just make sure that you focus on your candidates and their needs. Highlight what you offer to candidates and give them a reason to apply. Sell your job!

Step #6: Advertise your job ad

Now that you’ve created a great job ad, it’s time to promote it. There are many great places and ways to spread the word that you’re hiring. Post your job ad on your website and your blog, put it in your newsletter and share it on social media. Finally, post your job ad on job sites specialized for finding remote workers.

One of the most effective, yet underutilized ways to reach great potential candidates is through referrals. Ask your existing remote employees, clients, partners, customers, even family and friends to help you spread your job ad and recommend great candidates.

Step #7: Test your applicants

My suggestion is to include a simple test in your application process. Ask your candidates a few questions in your application form or give them a short assignment they need to complete and send along with their resume and motivation letter. This may turn off a few candidates, but the candidates who apply will be more invested and motivated.

Make sure that the questions you ask and the assignment you give is an example of the real work a candidate would be doing if hired. That way, you'll be able to make a sound, well informed decision based on their actual work. It is also a great way to filter out unqualified candidates early in your hiring process.

Step #8: Interview candidates

When it comes to interviewing remote candidates, my suggestion is to always insist on conducting a live video interview where you actually get to talk face-to-face with your interviewee. The key for conducting a successful job interview is in good preparation.

First of all, you need to define your job interview questions. There are certain specific questions you should always ask your remote candidates. Also, make sure that you ask every candidate the same questions and take notes of their answers. That way, you’ll be able to rate your candidates’ answers and compare them based on actual data, not only your gut feeling.

Step #9: Check references

Checking references is a very important step when hiring remote employees. Unfortunately, many employers skip this step in order to save time and have their new hire start working as soon as possible. However, this is a huge risk.

Always, but always take the time to check references. Ask your top candidate’s previous employers for examples of their initiative and effective independent work. Listen carefully for any signs of red flags. Trust me, this simple step can save you a lot of trouble and costs.

Step #10: Provide closure

Once you’ve found your top candidate, the one that you want to hire, you need to close your hiring process. Send an offer to your chosen candidate, but also make sure that you provide closure for all the other candidates who didn’t make the cut.

Send a personalized rejection emails to all your candidates and make sure to tell them how much you appreciate the time and effort they invested into applying for a job at your company. By leaving candidates hanging, you risk them getting angry and writing bad reviews of your company online.

Additional remote hiring tips

There are two more additional remote hiring tips that I would like to share:

Tip #1: Make hiring easier by using a recruitment software

Recruitment software have many benefits, especially when it comes to remote hiring. One of the main reasons why companies who hire remote employees use recruitment software is because they enable easy team collaboration.

With all the hiring information in one place, you can easily share info about candidates with your remote team members. You can add notes, make comments about candidates, and make better decisions together.

Tip #2: Always have a probationary period

My second tip is to always have a probationary period before offering and open ended contract and hiring a full-time remote employee. Probation periods are beneficial for both employers and new hires. They give both parties a chance to try out their new relationship and see if it fits.

The trial or a probation period can last a whole month or only a week. It can also be on a full time or part time basis, depending on the specific position, your company’s needs and your new hire’s availability. Make sure that you also pay you candidates adequately for their work.

Kristina Martić is a Director of Marketing and Employer Branding at TalentLyft. She is an experienced digital marketer and a certified Recruitment Marketer passionate about latest marketing and recruiting trends.