Managing RemoteRecruitmentRemote Talent

How to Hire Your First Remote Employee


Most managers are afraid of hiring remote talent. It is simply out of their comfort zone. I’m writing this post to guide them for hiring their first remote employee knowing in the next couple of years, they will have to change their position in order to stay competitive.

As David Packard said, “More businesses die from indigestion than starvation”. This article is about building a healthy remote talent digestive system for your company.

Previously in WorkRemote How-to-Series

  1. How to find a full-time remote job
  2. How to fire a remote employee
  3. How to perform shrink-to-frow in a remote team

Time needed: 14 days.

Here’s what you need to hire your first remote employee:

  1. Content pack

    At Crossover -which is a company handling more than 30 thousand remote job applicants on a weekly basis-, the first step of every single open position is a content pack.

    A content pack consists of a job title, job description, job requirements, job expectations, compensation info, hiring manager video, geo-targeting preferences, video testimonial from who is currently working in this position, images and ad texts.

    You need to do your homework if you want to be successful with your first remote hire. Transparency is the key.

  2. Targeting decisions

    There are proven strategies for targeting great talent, some of them are:
    – For non-tech talent, identifying companies who have great talent in this function and going after them
    – For software engineering talent, looking at country statistics for STEM and English Proficiency and going after professionals in these countries.
    – Leveraging LinkedIn job slots in full by testing and prioritizing cities, going hyperlocal.
    – Building your cohort by manually reviewing profiles on Linkedin, StackOverflow, GitHub or other websites and then running an outreach campaign.
    – Identifying great talent by monitoring medium and twitter content flow

  3. Testing and evaluation

    You need to categorize your testing efforts into two main categories; Objective Testing and Subjective Testing. You looking at a CV or Resume and trying to make a decision is subjective. Tests like CCAT or HackerRank generating useful signals is objective testing. There are great tests available for all professions online. Pay if you have to.

    Hiring a remote professional means opening your virtual company doors up to millions of people all around the world. The worst thing you can do to your brand is playing bait-and-switch games. If you are looking to hire someone from the US, mention it in your content pack.

    As I’ve mentioned before, go brutal for testing, know that if you are hiring more than 1% of your total applicant flow, you are doing something wrong. You get to see CVs and Resumes at the bottom of the funnel, don’t let your prejudices affect the hiring process. You can easily make a bad hire by looking at someone’s educational background and nationality. Asking for remote working experience is a smart choice.

  4. Smart interviewing

    If your hiring process is enslaving you by forcing you to manually interview 50 candidates, it is broken. If you enjoy seeing the energy and English proficiency of your candidates before making a decision, go use automated/scenario-based video interview tools like SparkHire.

    You can give a presentation assignment to see if the candidate is good at communicating in a simple and direct tone.

    Once you rigorously test candidates, review their video submissions and understand feel like they might be a great candidate, go schedule real interviews with them. There should be a maximum of 2 interviews before extending an offer and in these interviews, you shouldn’t ask stupid questions like “where do you see yourself in five years”.

    Dive into business and talk real business in these interviews. If you don’t feel comfortable talking at a high level for this profession, you shouldn’t hire for it as you won’t be able to enforce a high quality bar about it. Go to the beginning and educate yourself.

  5. Extending offer

    Be crystal clear about the compensation, if your company is using a time tracker, mention it. Never hide taxing or bonus related details. Hopefully, you are about to build a multi-year relationship and you don’t want to build it on lies. Hiding things at this point will only bring you more lies from the employer side and you don’t want it.

    Do not negotiate for weeks. You already tested these candidates rigorously. Glassdoor is full of negative candidate reviews from frustrated people simply because hiring managers are failing to manage expectations at this step.

    Once a candidate accepts your job offer, you’ll need a great onboarding program that I’ll be covering in the upcoming weeks.

Do you agree? Great! give this post some love by sharing it on Twitter – don’t forget to mention us @WorkRemoteUs. Do you disagree? We’d love to hear more, tell us why in the comments.

Written by Sinan Ata, founder of Exceptionly, the remote software engineering talent acquisition engine.

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Sinan Ata
Founder of Exceptionly, the remote software engineering talent acquisition engine.

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