Four Tips For Improving Your Remote Hiring Strategy​​

CEO at Yac, helping the world communicate asynchronously. Previously the founder of product agency SoFriendly.

To this day, I have only met a fraction of our team in person. Yac is the second remote company I’ve built hiring remote employees, contractors and freelancers. I’ve seen firsthand that if you want to reap the benefits of remote hiring, prepare for a vastly different hiring experience.

My experience with remote recruiting has been overwhelmingly positive. I attribute that to a few fundamentals that I keep in mind during the process. When you rely on principles instead of a rigid, step-by-step approach, you allow for increased humanity and inclusivity. And, you make the right hires.

The following fundamentals are at the heart of my company’s remote hiring strategy and have helped our company build a top-notch team.

Look for top talent in unconventional places.

Remote hiring opens up worldwide possibilities for sourcing top talent. We’ve hired several people after having conversations in communities like Reddit, Twitter, Hacker News, Indeed, Monster, etc.

By conversations, I mean I literally just chat with them. I don’t look at a resume, and I rarely do an interview or reference checks. It’s more about communication style. Are they fast? Do they speak in a way that jives with our culture? I want to get to know who they are, not their bulleted accomplishments.

That being said, I do still recommend looking at what they do in their spare time via their website. It’s one thing to hear somebody say they’re passionate about a side hustle; it’s another to see it firsthand. Anti-interview culture doesn’t mean blindly accepting what somebody says. If we do move forward, we usually bring them on for a one-month paid test to confirm they’re a good culture fit.

The best part about finding talent in unconventional places? They might not even be looking for a job; they’re just good at what they do. Make the effort to find them in their spaces and snag them for your team, rather than hoping they’ll come to you.

Solidify your remote culture before you hire.

Access to a global talent pool means you’re dealing with an array of cultures, time zones, holidays and work habits. You’ll make the interview process (and the work experience) more seamless if you establish a culture of remote-work best practices before bringing new hires on board.

For example, clear communication is crucial to successful remote work, and much of it can and should happen asynchronously. When you do need to meet in real time, make sure your potential candidate can align with synchronized hours.

Onboarding remote workers also looks a little different. From experience, here’s what I recommend.

• Preboard new hires. Send any info to HR, prepare paperwork, firm up the start date, etc. Get all of the boring stuff out of the way so their first day is spent getting to know their tools and team, instead of filling out forms.

• Consider automating anything you can, such as paperwork, training and payroll.

• Set your new remote hire up with an ideal work environment. There are firms that can help you provide office equipment from a distance, such as specialist tech and ergonomic chairs.

• Ease in your new employees with an internal playbook and asynchronous screen shares to explain processes.

• Meet the team. At my company, we’re asynchronous evangelists, but we know a synchronous meeting is ideal for relationship building. Schedule time for new hires to put faces to names, and include the leadership team.

• Finally, establish holiday policies and productivity, communication and collaboration expectations upfront. Then you can confirm whether a candidate will be able to deliver work on time, every time, from the outset. And they’ll know what to expect coming in.

Be transparent in your job listing.

Whether you’re posting your remote job on job sites or hiring people through sites like Reddit, you should standardize some parts of your remote hiring process. For starters, be upfront about the position being remote or hybrid. If they’re needed in the office even once a year, they’ll need to know. That’s a make-or-break deal for a lot of people.

Here are some more things to think about when hiring from a distance.

• Always include your budget, whether that’s a salary, a fixed fee or an hourly rate. This establishes a baseline for what the new hire is expecting and helps you know immediately if you can afford them.

• Include any timezone preferences in the description. You might need hours to overlap a little, so discourage people from applying who don’t fall into that bracket.

• Include key technologies you need, such as languages or frameworks. This helps weed out the autoresponders who will inevitably direct message you within minutes.

• Ask for a portfolio link and look for personal projects. Once I get a portfolio link, for example, the first thing I’m looking for is personal projects, not client work. I want to see what they like to do personally.

Prepare for potential pitfalls.

In addition to the “do’s” mentioned above, ensure you avoid a few “don’ts” as well.

• Don’t let more than one person handle the hire. This prevents confusion internally, as well as prevents any communication issues.

• Don’t start in the middle of a pay cycle. Ease payroll concerns by starting at the top of the pay cycle.

• Don’t fire too fast. If the new hire seems like a good fit for the team but they’re not performing in the role you hired them for, see if they’re better placed somewhere else.

Whether you’ve gone fully remote or hybrid, the hiring process shouldn’t be intimidating. It’s a means of getting to the same end you’re after with any hiring process: amazing people on your team.

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