Published on by Angela Palmer, Director of Operations
As a remote company we have spent many years optimizing our remote hiring process. Creating a culture and operating a team globally can be a complicated process. It requires more than savvy tools and iron clad processes, the team needs to be built around a culture of collaboration and trust. As more people and companies go remote, we wanted to share our best practices for remote hiring.
How is remote hiring different from in person?
Hiring and interviewing is challenging even when you are in the same room together. But when your only option is to meet virtually because you are a distributed company, the challenge becomes extreme. What tool/platform is the most used and easily installed or accessed? There are so very many meeting systems in use, and ways to connect, but finding the one that works for your team is best. We want to avoid using the time for the interview to be setting up the software needed to connect.
Determining what tool will be used and sending it to the candidate ahead of time can help reduce confusion. Because there are so many tools, it is important to set up the candidate for success. As the expert, select a tool that is accessible and easy to use. Also, be willing to be flexible and understanding as the candidate may not be as familiar and need help.
Meet the candidate where they are
We approach the hiring cycle with as much flexibility as we can afford. Stick with your most used virtual meeting tool, if you are a Zoom company, then Zoom it is. This gets your candidate working in the same way they will later if they progress. Always provide padding around the meeting so that you can answer their questions and get yours asked and answered as well.
Consider asking questions around hardware they use, and internet access types. You take people in the position they come to you, they may be using an old computer. Or may not be able to afford the best internet especially if they are coming to you from a period of unemployment. They may even be relying on an iPhone or other mobile device. Focus more on the candidate, rather than their technology. Their setup may not be ideal for the interview, but you can always provide the correct setup and upgrades needed once they join the team.
Communication is the key to success in almost every aspect of a remote company. And clear communication with the candidate is the first step in our hiring process. When an application is selected, our team will reach out to the potential hire for an introduction call. On this first call, we meet via video and talk about the role, the hiring process, and get to know you better. Face time is very important when communicating with our team. Because we are not in person all of our interactions take place over video calls.
With a globally distributed team, new hires must understand the importance of clear, open communication. Our team operates nearly around the clock within many time zones. At any given time someone needs to be able to review a client request, team email, or company update.
For our team we rely on Slack Channels to organize our daily interactions. We use email for external correspondence with clients and vendors. And have implemented tools like Mavenlink and Sifter to track projects and workflows. However, tools are only as good as their users. Creating a culture that values the importance of communication and supporting each other enables our team to operate smoothly no matter the time of day.
Finding a culture fit when hiring remote
Culture is important in every organization. We are a remote company that relies on technology for interactions. It is crucial everyone feels like part of the team, regardless of their location. When hiring for a remote team member, we always start with an introductory call. This is usually done by the Directors of Operations either in the US or abroad. This allows both parties to meet and ask any questions they may have. After that call, we have created a series of calls that we found to be the most effective way to vet candidates.
- Introductory Call- Your resume has been accepted, this is the first call for us to meet and get to know you better and for you to get to know us.
- Technical Call- The focus of this call is to review the technical or strategic skills needed for the role and assess if the candidate is a fit.
- Culture Call- For a new hire, a cultural fit is just as important as technical skills. On this call, you will meet with members of our management team to discuss more details about the role, responsibilities, and our processes.
As much as we are looking for a good fit for our team, we want to be sure this is a good fit for the candidate. While each call has a specific purpose, we are evaluating the candidate several times throughout the process. How do they handle the technical call, are they comfortable on video, are they displaying the same consistent attitude throughout all the calls? Having at least three touch points throughout the process gives our team a better understanding of how this candidate will fit with our team.
Final Thoughts on Remote Hiring
Our remote hiring process focuses on the human experience over the technical experience. We have found several tools to help the process, such as video calls and clear communication on the process. Meeting the candidate where they are and working to understand if they are a cultural fit creates a better experience for everyone. Taking the time to understand a potential hire, their skills, and if they will be a good team fit is more important than if they have the right web cam.
Creating a consistent way of engaging with your candidates is the best practice for remote hiring. Being upfront with the process and providing clear communication during the process is also important.
Your team and new hire will appreciate the work you put into making the process easy.