From initial hiring decisions all the way to onboarding, here’s all
you need to know about sourcing phenomenal remote candidates

Part 2: Hiring Remote Considerations

Why Are You Even Hiring?

If you follow the philosophy of hiring when it hurts, the pain of feeling overworked may tempt you to rush into a hiring spree. But before you take the plunge, take a moment to document your process.

According to New York Times Bestseller, Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street, “the first failure point of hiring is not being crystal clear about what you really want the person you hire to accomplish.”

Smart and Street also present a hiring methodology titled  'A Method', which guides you with the fundamental elements of recruiting, such as:

  • Avoiding common hiring mistakes
  • Defining the outcomes you seek
  • Attracting the person you want to hire

→ Here’s a great summary of the whole book


First thing’s first, have some form of decision-making matrix

Having a way to document your decision-making process will help bring clarity around who you want to hire, why you’re even making that hire, and most importantly, avoid making bad hires with poor hiring decisions.

The A Method suggests creating an internal scorecard to help you get super clear on what you’re hiring for. To begin, note down the following points for the role:

  • Outcomes over the first three months and 12 months
  • Responsibilities
  • KPIs / Goals - ways to track their success
  • Competencies and core traits

As you’ve probably guessed, this document isn’t a job description, but rather an assessment that defines the performance of the role through thinking out the outcomes and competencies. You’ll be using this scorecard to develop the job description and for the interview process.

Be sure to include components that are attributed to your company’s mission. For example, at Doist, creating a culture that other people want to be part of is important to them. In their 'scorecard', the hiring team incorporates four core values to evaluate candidates against:

  • Leadership
  • Role-related knowledge
  • Cognitive ability
  • Doistness (how they measure culture fit)

This is of course a template so feel free to create a version for your company, however hashing out the goals for the position and tying them to your overall company goals is definitely beneficial in the long-run.


How Will This Employee Fit Into The Way You Work?

Defining your company’s version of remote work ahead of time will help alleviate pain points in the future and make your job listing easier to write. Plus, the process makes you more competitive and attractive as well. If this is your first hire, here are some things to consider before getting that job listing out.

Company culture to determine culture fit

  • How can you present your company as an exciting place to work for?
  • What company values do you want your employees to be in alignment with?
  • How do you want new employees to fit into your organization?
  • How can you incorporate more diversity, inclusion, and accessibility into your hiring?


"Engaging in communities that foster diversity and inclusion is a strong focus. We aim to be visible and accessible in those spaces, and encourage folks to apply and reach out to us personally with questions. We still have plenty of more progress to make and work we can do, but joining Buffer means joining a team committed to action on diversity."

–Keisha Washington
People Operations Manager, Buffer


People operations to define the way you work together

  • Do you want the candidate to be in specific time zones?
  • Do you have a specific expectation of how much time should be spent online?
  • How will your processes be documented and organized?
  • How much of the role is expected to be independent and what “top-down” processes and procedures are to be maintained?


Company benefits to determine how you’ll make your employees feel comfortable in their roles

  • Aside from medical and dental, what other benefits will you provide? Ie. Software and hardware, a stipend to create their own workspace, resources like time tracking apps, etc.


"Fostering positive, productive workspaces and routines is huge, especially for remote folks. We incorporate benefits to support their work/life balance, such as annual fitness and equipment stipends. Since then, we also offer a $1,000 bonus to ensure they have the workspace setup they need to do their best work. We also started offering global access to coworking spaces in case working from home or coffee shops doesn’t work all of the time for our remote contingent."

–Elexa McMahon
Director, People Ops, Metalab


The Typical Steps of the Remote Recruiting Process

Now that you’re clear on why you’re hiring and what this position will look like, familiarize yourself with the typical process of recruiting and hiring. This will vary from company to company, but the common steps in filling a position are:

  1. Create your game plan
    • Determine your recruiting budget (job boards, social media ads/boosted posts, membership in various job communities, etc.)
    • Prepare the job description - draft this up in bullet points (check out our template in part 3)
    • Assemble your hiring team or discuss who needs to be involved in the hiring process
    • Figure your strategy out. Which (remote) job boards will you be utilizing? 👋😊 Will you be doing any candidate sourcing? Do you need to work with external recruiters?
    • How will you be managing the hiring workflow? For example, will you use an applicant tracking system (ATS), project management app, or email to manage the process? See below for our recommended tools.

  2. Attract the right candidates
  3. From candidate sourcing to job advertising, this phase involves acting on the strategy you’ve created in your game plan (we’ll dig into this later!).

  4. Select your new hire
  5. The juicy phase of the process: interviewing. Since in-person interviews are out of the window, a few different screening processes including a skills assessment test or project is typically involved. This phase also takes the longest because of all of the applicants you’ll be receiving. More on that later too.

  6. Make your offer
  7. Once you’ve chosen the lucky candidate, you’ll send them a job offer email. Be prepared to negotiate!


"The largest obstacle we see remote companies facing is in applying traditional hiring tactics to remote recruits. To truly benefit from the opportunities of a broad reaching talent pool, your hiring tactics should be broad reaching as well."

–The Workplaceless Team


The Remote Candidate Pipeline

What is a candidate pipeline? It’s recruiting lingo that describes the pool of qualified people engaged with your company and interested in learning about job opportunities as they become available. When hiring remote, you can expect to see a minimum of 100+ applications, so creating a candidate pipeline early on will help set you up for success in the future. Basically this group consists of the people you’ve rejected but may consider at a later time or for a future position.

When hiring remote, receiving a high volume of applications is both a blessing and a curse; on the one hand you have a larger talent pool to choose from, and on the other, filtering out candidates can be overwhelming. Being dilligent and organized to the hiring process is an understatement; creating a candidate pipeline early on provides a structure that’ll lend itself to having a more efficient hiring process overall.


The Timeline For Hiring Remote

The average time to fill a position

According to the Society of Human Resource Management, from the time it takes to hire after a position opens, it takes an average of 42 days to fill the position (across industries). Unfortunately, there aren’t statistics for remote positions, however, in a couple of interviews on our podcast, The Remote Show, we’ve seen some differing answers.

In our episode with Doist’s COO, Gonçalo Silva, he shares how hiring can take anywhere from a few months to over a year:

“One of the challenges we've faced since forever and it's unfortunately not something we have figured out yet is we hire very slowly. From the time we decide that we need someone doing a certain job to the time we onboard someone new, many months usually go by. Actually, we have a specific position that has been open for over a year,and this takes a huge toll on the team because sometimes we are not quick enough to react, and we may have a certain team that's understaffed, and if it's taking over half a year for us to be able to hire someone, then it can be a very frustrating experience for that specific team, for any other teams that depend on it, etc.

And honestly, we have not figured this out yet. We know how other companies are hiring, for example, it's not uncommon to set a deadline, get candidates throughout the time and then decide on who will be hired for this position. But in general, we don't want to compromise, so we just keep looking until we find the right person for the role. But despite getting a lot of applications every single day, sometimes this takes a long time. Yeah, it can be a very frustrating process and I'm unsure what else we can do to improve here.”

Knowing the process may take a while, set yourself up with the reasonable expectations (re: patience) and timelines. Also, setting up multiple points of communication may help create a better experience for the candidates.


“On average it could take between 8-10 weeks to fill a position, depending on the role. In some instances, it has taken us upwards of 12 weeks, which prompted us to really examine our processes. Keeping a tentative timeline for each stage has really helped us improve, bringing the time down to as early as seven weeks from job post to offer.”

–Keisha Washington
People Operations Manager, Buffer


How long are candidates typically on the market for?

You’ve probably heard it already; it’s a dog-eat-dog world candidate’s market out there. The most qualified candidates are usually off the market in 10 days. Nuts, right? But it’s actually great for you! As a remote-friendly or remote-first company, you’re offering something traditional offices aren’t, and this will set you apart from the others.

Keep in mind though, because there are more job seekers than jobs, monitoring how long it takes you to hire will help you create metrics to evaluate the efficiency of your selection process. Taking a long time to hire may increase your budget and cause you to lose top candidates.


TalentLyft

57% of job seekers lose interest in a job if the hiring process is lengthy, so aiming to reduce the time to hire is a great way to improve the candidate experience.


Hiring Team: Roles and Responsibilities

Typically a company will form a hiring team/committee that consists of a hiring manager, one or two people from the team/department the position will be joining, and someone from HR/People Ops. Large companies tend to hire recruiters. If you’re a small start-up, it may consist of the CEO or Ops Manager and another person from the team.

Carving out the responsibilities of each stakeholder and communicating this to your team ahead of time will enforce clarity and efficiency during the process. As you can see below, each person on the hiring team can offer valuable input by focusing on specific areas.

Hiring Manager

  • Manages and oversees the hiring process: screening resumes, interviewing candidates, preparing and reviewing the test project/task
  • Sets the requirements
  • Evaluates candidates
  • Makes the final hiring decision

Team Member

  • Evaluates for culture fit
  • Offers candidates their firsthand experience of working for the company
  • May work with the hiring manager on developing the project/test
  • Makes the final hiring decision

Senior Management

  • Usually speaks with the candidate in the final interview/step
  • Spot checks anything the hiring team may have missed
  • May help select the best among the finalists

HR/People Ops

  • Reviews and approves the job vacancy
  • Checks and confirms the job offers (terms for compensation, benefits, etc.)
  • Prepares contracts

Recruiter

  • Coordinates the hiring process
  • Undertakes tasks the hiring manager may not have the time for, such as, reviewing and posting job ads, sourcing candidates, scheduling interviews, conducting preliminary screenings, closing candidates
  • Helps move the process along
  • Advises hiring managers on hiring decisions


Managing the Workflow for the Remote Hiring Process

Due to the high volume of applications you’ll be receiving, candidate filtering is a common obstacle when hiring remote.



We’ll get deeper into that in Part 2. For now, here are some tools to consider using during the process.

Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)

Greenhouse Software
BambooHR
Workable
Lever

A downside to using an ATS is that they can be quite costly, so if that isn’t an option for you, setting up folders in your email clientele and creating canned responses is a great back-up. Some companies swear by project management tools like Trello or Asana.

Team communication

Slack: create a channel to discuss the new hire(s) with the hiring team

Video conferencing for the interviews

Appear.in
Zoom

Timezone management/converter when scheduling interviews

Every Time Zone
Spacetime
Worldtimebuddy

Questionnaire for screening/create surveys/collect feedback

Typeform
Google Forms



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