How to be good at hiring remotely?


Stefan Kanev

14 January 2020


But first: why hiring remotely?

Remote hiring is becoming popular even outside of the tech community. This is no surprise given the tight labor market. Hiring top talent is extremely difficult when you restrict your talent pool to only a particular city. Remote work solves this, and more. Besides accessing much bigger talent pool, remote work results in 25% better employee retention. Furthermore, 91% of remote workers think they get more work done when working remotely. Hiring remotely brings those benefits – but how should your hiring adapt to achieve this?

Ask yourselves the following: What qualities are we looking for when hiring? Most of the times, we focus on having a proven track record. We’ll also cross check the applicant’s references. If we like him or her, we might even call his/her previous employer and try to learn as much as possible about the person. Normally, we will be focused on hard skills and effectiveness. However, let’s now see what we should be looking for in someone who is about to start working remotely for the first time, without remote work track record.

Let’s say that you have already browsed through the profiles of our pre-screened developers. Then you pick the 3-5 candidates that match your job opening the best. During the video interviews, you should not only ask about their experience but also about their soft skills (Remote hiring questions, main soft skills when working remotely). The following soft skills are crucial for working remotely.

Culture and values

There are innumerable academic studies, devoted on the matter of intercultural communication. If you managed to survive and stay awake during those lectures at the university, you might remember that culture X and culture Y will not go along together well. You should pair X with Z instead of Y. Theory is nice, but how does this relate to the practice?

We live in a global world where great many people are able to communicate in English well and have the ability to collaborate with people from other cultures. So, you shouldn’t be analyzing an applicant’s culture per se. Instead, you should be looking for his/her ability to fit the culture and the values of your organization and not the country where your office is situated in. Furthermore, you should be looking for ability to collaborate with people from different cultures. This opens up your organization for collaboration, and hiring people from diverse backgrounds.

Autonomy, reliability and proactiveness

You just found the profile of the best candidate with strong technical skills and work experience. He/she heard about the work-life balance when working remotely and this helped you to win over the candidate for your organization. But can you hire him/her?

After the video interview, you get the feeling that he/she performs great but only when closely monitored. Sadly, this is a deal-breaker for working remotely. You simply won’t receive his/her superb productiveness, since you can’t offer him such a close supervision, due to him/her working remotely. You need your future employee to be good at being self-organized and taking ownership. He/she needs to be proactive and understand the bigger picture. Being reliable and self-motivated is crucial when working remotely. Because the deadlines are deadlines, no matter on which side of the globe you are.

Maturity and self-awareness

Generally, when hiring someone you want to see those qualities. But when you hire remotely, they become even more important. How should you assess for them? First of all, you should focus on what the candidates say, and how they see it. Delve deeper in their experience. Look for their self-awareness and ability to reflect on themselves. For example, are they aware of their strengths and weaknesses? Do they have good points about what worked well, and what didn’t work well in their last position? Those are good indicators that the person has maturity and self-awareness.

In conclusion

So, there you have it. Work with great people by hiring remotely. But ask the right questions when interviewing, specifically targeted towards their ability to work remotely. When working remotely, particular soft skills are much more important than when working on-site. This is key for being successful with remote work.

Are you hiring developers? Then make sure to check the thousands of remote developer profiles on RemoteMore. We have signed-up and pre-screened thousands of developers so you can solve your hiring problems right here, right now.