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Remote Culture 12 min read

Six Hiring Best Practices for Remote Companies

Ayesha Renyard photo

Written by Ayesha Renyard

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed

Dallin Porter photo

Expert reviewed by Dallin Porter

Marketing Director @ Galactic Fed

Published 06 Oct 2021

Remote work is growing—at a mighty fast rate.

A quick search on Google Trends makes that pretty clear.

Remote jobs Google search trends.

Source: Google Trends 

Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has streamlined this trend, but it certainly spurred interest beforehand. According to this Buffer report, 99% of respondents stated they would prefer to work remotely, at least some of the time, for the rest of their careers.  

Hold on—this doesn’t sound like a trend. It sounds like remote work is here to stay. 

As a fully-remote company ourselves, we get the appeal. Actually, that’s an understatement. We preach the benefits:

  • Flexible schedule
  • Working from anywhere
  • More time with family
  • No commute
  • Asynchronous communication
  • Building a skilled, diverse team

Sounds kind of nice, huh? If you’ve decided to build or transition a business online to reap these benefits—but need a little advice on how to hire remotely—then you’re in the right place. 

As part of our Remote Culture Series, here are six hiring best practices for remote companies. 

1. Source From Remote Job Sites

Advertising remote positions is very much like advertising a business. You need to learn where your target audience hangs out,  and then you need to push your content there. 

While you can find remote job seekers on general job sites, there are now websites dedicated to remote work opportunities. 

A list of remote jobs for 2021

Source: HipCV

Filtering out the office-based positions is helpful for both prospective employees and employers. The applicants don’t have to sift through in-office jobs during their search, and employers don’t have to worry about applicants overlooking this detail and running into misunderstandings. 

While there are tons of websites you could leverage, here are some of the most popular remote job sites: 

  • FlexJobs: This site has more than 50 job categories featuring telecommute and remote work roles at every career stage—including freelance projects, part-time jobs, and full-time remote work. 
  • We Work Remotely: Claiming to be the largest remote work community with 2.5 million visitors, We Work Remotely has been used by both startups and big-name companies such as Google and Amazon. 
  • Remote Co.: This site focuses purely on remote work opportunities (as opposed to telecommuting or location-based WFH jobs). The listings span entry-level, freelance, high-paying, part-time, and full-time positions. 
  • Remote OK: This site also offers a long list of WFH gigs. While popular categories include programming, user experience, and design, you can also post listings for non-tech positions. 

Depending on what type of business you own and what positions you’re hiring for, you could focus your recruitment further. Some of these websites are known for listing jobs in specific industries. We recommend doing a deeper dive into these remote job sites and finding the ones best-suited for you

2. Clearly Outline Expectations 

Remote work is certainly attractive because it’s flexible—but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any boundaries or obligations. 

Expectations regarding work styles, availability, and team interactions may get lost in translation, so it’s vital to set remote work boundaries from the beginning.

Whether it’s in the job description or during the interview, here are some things you need to communicate during the hiring process: 

  • What time zone employees should be available
  • Flexibility regarding work hours (Are they scheduled or deadline-driven?)
  • How often the team meets virtually
  • Mandatory vs. optional meetings
  • The company onboarding process
  • Whether or not employees need to attend in-office meetings 
  • Your team’s communication standards (We’ve adopted asynchronous communication.)

In addition to remote work obligations, we recommend taking the time to describe the role clearly and thoroughly—in terms of both short-term and long-term expectations. Here are a few easy ways to do that in the job description: 

  • Write a crystal clear job title. “Word wizard” may sound cool, but what does that even mean? Go for “copywriter” or “content marketer” instead.
  • Dig into the day-to-day responsibilities. Being transparent about the good (writing blogs for a large readership) and the ugly (updating the content calendar) will help you attract qualified prospects and ultimately increase retention

3. Emphasize Your Culture

Establishing cultural fit can feel like a first date. You try to squeeze in as many questions as you can to spark a connection—so you can, ideally, make a decision by the end of the conversation. 

It’s more work than reviewing an applicant’s skills, but it’s crucial for your business. Why? A culturally-aligned team drives productivity and increases retention. 

Companies with a strong culture have less staff turnover than those that don't.

Source: Neil Patel

As the old saying goes, there’s no “I” in team. And for your business to thrive, you need a team—not a group of individuals. While it’s harder to determine this connection virtually, it’s certainly possible. (If dating apps can do it, so can you.)

Here’s how to do it during the hiring phase: 

  1. Be transparent about your company values: Be upfront with your team’s goals and values in the job description. This will deter applicants who don’t jive with them and save you time during the interview process. 
  2. Ask the right questions: During the interview process, ask the candidate about their ideal manager and work environment (and those that would make them unhappy). Pick their brains about their working and collaboration styles. Then, gauge how these answers would align with the rest of the team. 
  3. Get your team involved: Just like when you’re cooking pasta sauce, ask for a second opinion. Bring your team members into the interviews, so they have a chance to meet the candidates and weigh in on their cultural fit. Whether they lead a separate interview or simply sit in on the call, it’s important to get the nod of approval from your team. (Plus, this shows your current employees that their opinions matter to you.)

And once you hire someone, hold up your side of the bargain and make sure your culture shines through during the onboarding phase. The probation period is a chance for both of you to assess each other—and top talent will move on if they feel you’re not walking the walk. 

Need some inspiration? Here are some tips from our Co-founder, Zach Boyette

4. Assess Their Remote Work Experience 

Many businesses are transitioning into a digital workplace and building remote teams. Consequently, many employees are leaving in-office gigs to pursue remote work. 

Change in remote work trends due to COVID-19 in the United States in 2020.

Source: Statistica

So it’s only fair to acknowledge that prospects won’t have years of remote work experience under their belt. With that said, you may want them to have some familiarity with remote processes—particularly if you’re hiring for a leadership role. 

Here are some questions you can ask candidates during interviews: 

  • Do you thrive working independently?
  • Have you worked remotely before? 
  • If so, what do you like most about working remotely?
  • What are the greatest challenges to working remotely?
  • What project management and communication software have you used?
  • Do you feel like part of a team when working remotely?
  • What does your remote office setup look like?
  • Do you have access to dependable WiFi?

However, if they have the skills you’re looking for and align with your culture—but don’t have remote work experience—that shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. We encourage you to support them in their transition with the right tools and training packages.

5. Get Familiar with Video Calls

Speaking of remote work experience—how familiar are you with video conferencing software and virtual interviews? 

These recruits are assessing you, too, so your virtual first impression needs to be just as powerful as your in-person first impression would be. Here are a few tips to put your best foot forward when hiring remotely:

  • Ensure you send an interview link in advance with instructions for downloading the video conferencing software
  • Use a quiet and distraction-free room to conduct the interview
  • Wear a headset or earbuds to reduce background noise
  • Join the call at least five minutes early, so you don’t leave the candidate waiting
  • If additional team members are joining, ensure they’re early as well
  • Stick to the scheduled time 
  • Make sure to look into the camera from time to time
  • Acknowledge if you aren’t looking at the camera (due to note-taking, for example), you’re still listening 

I know this sounds like a lot. But conducting professional, organized video calls isn’t just crucial for your hiring process—it’s helpful for all your virtual meetings. Consider the time you take to improve your video call setup as an investment for your business!

If the candidate has technical difficulties, don’t hold it against them. We recommend preparing a backup plan, like a phone interview, if there’s a glitch—and sharing this information with the candidate beforehand. 

6. Design Attractive and Fair Compensation Packages 

While COVID-19 and remote work have disrupted businesses’ compensation strategies, many still don’t know how to pivot. In fact, when asked what their 2021 remote pay plan is, 33.1% stated that they still don’t know

Remote work businesses’ compensation strategies 2021.

Source: Payscale

Hey—we don’t blame them. Compensation gets tricky when you’re a remote company. What’s attractive and what’s fair become completely different in this new context. 

An attractive compensation package needs to be competitive. When companies operated mainly out of brick-and-mortar offices, the competition was local and obviously less intense. But as a remote company, you’re competing against companies all over the world. (Some of which pay in a currency with favorable exchange rates.) 

This means you need to put in extra effort in creating attractive compensation packages that’ll beat out your international competition. If you can’t increase salaries, consider offering benefits like mobile plans or stock options. 

Fair compensation is just as important. As a remote company, employees will be based worldwide—with different costs of living. One could live in Singapore, one of the most expensive cities globally, and another could live in Thailand, a relatively affordable place to live. If they’re doing the same job, will you pay them the same or adjust their salaries based on their cost of living?

While we can’t make that decision for you, we encourage you to reflect on your current compensation packages and aim to find a balance that avoids huge salary gaps between members. 

No matter your decision, be transparent about compensation early on—what the salary is, how you calculated it, and how it’ll increase over time. 

Need More Resources on Leading a Remote Company?

If you’re reading this blog post, you’re building or transitioning into a remote company. (Welcome to the club!)

While it’s exciting, we understand it can also be overwhelming—there’s a lot to navigate. So we’ve pulled together all our tips and tricks for building a successful remote company. Here are some I think you’d like: 

If you’re looking for more information on hiring and growing your team, take a look at this blog post that outlines six things you need to know about building a remote team

Or, if you’re at a point where you’re stumbling on some challenges, don’t stress—here are some ways to overcome remote work roadblocks

Got some killer remote talent on your team? Develop a strategy for remote employee retention to keep them around and attract more great talent. 

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Ayesha Renyard photo

Ayesha Renyard

Content Writer @ Galactic Fed