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

Part 3: Sourcing Remote Candidates

Creating a Positive Candidate Experience

As mentioned in Part 2 of this guide, candidates who don’t quite check all of the boxes for a specific role could be a better match for future job openings. Maintaining relationships with this group of talent can improve some of the most important aspects of hiring: time to hire, cost per hire, and quality of hire.

When you turn a candidate away, the experience doesn’t just presto disappear for them. No, they’ll likely turn to their own individual communities to relay their experience and potentially share with wider online communities as well.

Each of these candidates you don't hire can either help build your brand or diminish it; this is yet another avenue for you as a company to present yourself positively to the world. Each person who leaves with a bad taste in their mouth has a network of people that they probably share their experience with. Not hiring someone is actually an opportunity to grow your brand by taking a difficult conversation and transforming it into a positive experience. Wouldn’t you want applicants who didn’t get the job walk away telling their friends, “I didn’t get the job, but that was a really cool interviewing process. I learned a lot!”

Here are some quick points that we’ll get into more detail below for creating a positive candidate experience:

  • Have a killer job listing
  • Shout your company values loud and proud
  • Always pay for the screening task or project
  • Keep your communication lines open and prompt
  • Provide kind and genuine feedback

"We’re working towards providing more feedback to candidates who do not advance in their journey. Whether they ultimately become a Buffer teammate or not, it’s another way we stay true to our value of helping people improve consistently."

–Keisha Washington
People Operations Manager, Buffer

General Skills to Look For In a Remote Worker

Aside from the skills and traits required for the specific position itself, there are some general attributes a solid remote worker has.

Strong writing skills

This may seem like an obvious one, but we certainly can’t leave this out! Remote workers can successfully convey their ideas and thoughts through various mediums that go beyond email and chat.

Strong interpersonal skills

There’s a certain level of maturity that’s required in remote environments. Remote workers get the nuances of communication, understanding that certain conversations are best for “in-person” aka video and phone.


Without a physical space or other humans acting as a structure to your day, it takes assertiveness and proactivity to carve out priorities, tasks, and deadlines. Of course, you’ll be providing clear expectations of how you want their work to be measured, but it’ll be up to them to hold their own weight in knowing when to raise their hand and ask for help or keep their head down and focus on their tasks.

Emotional intelligence and self-awareness

Remote work isn’t for the faint of the heart. It’s a challenge (worth having). It takes emotional IQ to work through common communication struggles and self-awareness to understand the dynamics of an office without having a physical space for feedback.

Growth mentality

Remote workers are looking for ways to grow - in all aspects: their skills, communication skills, productivity, etc. Having this kind of mindset allows them to take criticism and feedback, and transform that into an actionable item.

There’s a reason why some companies don’t hire junior-level remote positions, while others invest in extra training.

"We don't hire junior people often. We have some people in the team who joined as juniors, and they have been highly successful, but it's not a common occurrence. If you look at our job listings, we are usually looking for people with some experience in the fields."

–Gonçalo Silva
COO, Doist

"I think we're a little bit more careful about making sure that the people we hire remotely are really well prepared for that kind of work. Of course, there's a first time for everything, and you got to give people a chance to do something for the first time. But I think we're a little bit more careful about asking those kinds of questions: ‘How do you feel about that?’, ‘Do you really get a lot of energy from being in a physical office space with others?"

–Jason Fried
Co-founder & CEO, Basecamp

'We encourage our students to not get a remote job for their first job, actually. But they are very qualified for it because they've had that experience [at Lambda School]. We try to get them to be in person and onsite because that can be a little more challenging for a junior developer to work remotely at first; those in-person interactions are very valuable to their development."

–Ben Nelson
Co-founder, Lambda School

Again, there isn’t one template that fits all, so figuring out what works best for you is what it’s really all about. Does your company have the proper resources to train a junior that’ll meet your standards and expectations? It’s a fine line between seeing what kind of candidates apply for your position and what you’re open to filtering.

How to Write a Remote Job Posting

"A​ ​job​ ​posting​ ​is​ ​often a candidate’s​ ​first​ ​touchpoint​ ​with​ your ​company and ​the​ ​gatekeeper​ ​that​ ​decides​ who will ​be​ ​in​ ​your​ ​candidate​ ​pool​. So, you should make sure your job posting isn’t throwing up unnecessary roadblocks that deter good candidates from applying."

–Caro Griffen
Director of Ops, Skillcrush

Reasons Why Your Job Posting Isn’t Getting Traction

On a rare occasion, companies have reached out to us wondering why their job listing is receiving a lower than expected amount of applications. Below are common reasons why:

The job role isn’t clear

The job description hasn’t been fully thought out and they’re basically looking for a unicorn. For example, combining marketing and web development. 🤔 Seriously.

The job posting looks like a bit of a disaster

The job listing either has too much or too little copy. The formatting is off. The tone of the job listing is trying a bit too hard to sell themselves or feels inauthentic.

The job posting is lacklustre

Speaking of tone, a common reason a job listing may not be getting any traction is because it’s either missing the company’s brand voice or all of the sweet reasons why they’re a great place to work at. We’re not just talking benefits and perks, we also mean, what are your company’s values? More and more, job seekers are searching for companies that align with the way they work and think. It’s a win-win situation, really. Wouldn’t you want to have employees who support your vision, after all? Including this information also helps filter out candidates who may not align with your mission or values.

The job posting is mistaken for a job description

A job posting is not the same thing as a job description. A job description communicates the responsibilities and expectations of the role that a company refers to internally. A job posting sells the position, your company, team, remote-ness, and why you’re awesome. A job posting is what should be posted on job boards, like ours! As you guessed it, write your job description first before the job posting.

How to Write a Job Description

Remember that trusty lil’ matrix you created? Now’s the time to pull that out and create the job description for your company’s documents.

A job description includes:

  • Job title
  • Role summary in the opening paragraph
  • Requirements and qualifications for the candidate
  • How the role finds success
  • Who the role reports to
  • Sign-off from the hiring manager and/or HR

What a Successful Job Posting Includes

A job board like ours is pretty busy. While it’s great for our business, we also want you to make sure your job listing is getting the notice it deserves. Now that you have your job description, here’s how to transform that into a job posting that sells.

1. Use an accurate and searchable job title
Using a title like “Design Unicorn” may be funny and appealing to some, but your job posting will be left out of search results and you’ll miss out on qualified applicants.

Job seekers are looking up common keywords and phrases like “content writer,” “UX designer,” and “customer support specialist.”

2. Include an emotive introduction
It’s just like writing a blog post or sales copy. What’s your hook? Captivate the candidates you’re looking for by including 3-5 details that they’ll find exciting. What makes the role exciting? Why should they apply to work with and for you?

3. Describe the ideal candidate you’re looking for
First list out the characteristics and soft skills you’d want in an ideal candidate. This allows applicants to see you’re wanting to hire an actual human being, not just a robot that checks the boxes for qualifications and requirements.

4. Tell your company story
Who is your company? In a brief paragraph of 3-4 sentences, describe what problem your company solves, how long you’ve been around, the company culture, and the stability of your company. Don’t forget to include those company values! 😊

5. Describe your remote situation
Candidates flag us everyday reporting job listings that aren’t really remote. In most cases, the company actually does meet the remote requirements but fails to explicitly state their remote situation or what kind of remote company they are.

Here are some questions to help you out:

  • Are you remote-first or remote-friendly?
  • Are you looking for candidates in a specific region or time zone?
  • Why are you a remote company?
  • What are your logistical requirements?
    Ex. “We meet on a quarterly basis for in-person team meetings (all flights and accommodations are covered) and have status meetings once a week.”

Some other tips:

  • Be transparent with your remote expectations. Do you hold mandatory meetings on Monday? Do you require your team members to cover their own work equipment?
  • Include your communication process. Provide high-level details on how your employees stay in sync.
  • Incorporate relevant keywords in your job posting.

Because you’ll be receiving a large volume of applicants, including these remote-related details will help inform remote candidates whether your company is the right fit for them and filter out the applicants simultaneously.

6. Provide a clear outline of the responsibilities of the position
Now that you’ve completely captivated the candidate with compelling information, provide the requirements that are essential to this job. What will their day-to-day look like? Who will they work with? Who will they report to?

7. Provide the list of requirements
Here’s where you list out what you require this candidate to be. Aside from previous experience and education, are they required to be a problem-solver? Collaborator? Word smith?

8. Include company benefits
If you’re a young company, and you don’t have benefits to sell with quite yet, state that! Being honest and upfront is really what it's about.

9. Break down the application process
Detail in steps what the process is from when they first apply to when they get hired. This’ll inform the candidates and they won’t need to contact you wondering, “What’s next?”

Handy Remote Hiring Tips:

  • Use inclusive language - avoid words like “rockstar”, “ninja”, and any other alienating languaging that contains bias
  • Flip the language from “We’re looking for” to “You are”, so that it’s more relatable to the candidate. Write to your ideal candidate.
  • Format your job listing so that it’s pleasurable to read (ie. don’t include a million bullet points in the Requirements section that could be better articulated in a company mission statement on your own website).
  • Get a couple of different eyes on the job listing before pushing it live. Proofread, proofread, edit, proofread, edit, proofread.
  • You’re a remote company, so that means that people will sometimes be working from home. If you have the wiggle room, offering benefits like a coworking space membership and stipend towards their personal workspace goes a long way to hiring well and maintaining quality workers.
  • Featuring your job on We Work Remotely will give you 4x the exposure and double the tweets. It’s really the quickest way to hire.

Here’s a fantastic example of a successful job listing from Harvest

WWR’s Job Posting Template

Create a job posting that sells! Your job posting is a really important way to market your company’s brand. A short, not thought out posting that’s riddled with mistakes shows a lack of quality and attention to detail that might influence the perception of your company operations.

After reviewing thousands of remote job listings, we created a template for you to use. Feel free to make a copy and edit with your listing information.

Download our template for creating a remote job listing

Why Post on Remote Job Boards

"I'm really happy that We Work Remotely exists. We use it, it's amazing, and it works."

–Hiten Shah
Co-founder, FYI
/ Crazy Egg / Product Habits

Job boards are the top channels that people use to look for new jobs, followed by social media and word of mouth. Remote jobs are on the rise. As flexible work becomes the norm, job seekers are increasingly searching for legit remote jobs that’ll work with their lifestyle.

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