5 Steps to Building an Amazing Remote Team

hiring remote workers

In comparison with their office-bound counterparts, remote employees are shown to be more productive, happier, less stressed, perform better and have higher morale. While a few large companies continue to resist using them, remote distributed teams continue to provide fantastic results.

There are many advantages for companies hiring remotely. Finding a tech to hire for a job in Silicon Valley right now is difficult because there’s so much local competition. But expanding the search to include the world makes finding the right employee much easier.

Yet many companies continue to resist hiring remotely. This may be due, at least in part, to hiring fears. Companies that have never hired remote workers before may be concerned about the quality of the employees they hire. But if you have a structured plan in place to mitigate the risks

Here are 5 actionable tips from employers who’ve hired remotely over the years to help you hire a great remote team.

  1. Create job posts that attract remote workers

You need to write posts that get top remote workers excited to apply, while also establishing legitimacy in your job posting. This is especially important for a company which has yet to establish a well-known employer brand. It will also inspire applicants to stick through a rigorous screening process.

Adding links to your website and to articles that mention your company, information about founders or owners, and anything else that will bolster your reputation is a good start. Also, remote workers may be hesitant to apply if they suspect the job is commission only or a multi-level marketing scheme, so be sure to specify if the job is a salaried position or hourly.

Now that you know how to avoid scaring applicants away, here’s how to interest them.

First, do some research that tells you exactly what remote employees are looking for in a job.

Start by using sites like Glassdoor and type in the position you’re hiring for – for example, a software developer. Search with the location blank, click on a company in the left column, and click “Reviews.”

If you find complaints that come up consistently in the “Cons” section of the review, consider if you can respond to these with a “Pro”. For example, if a lack of work/life balance is a common complaint, you might feature a better work/life balance in your job posting.

Besides putting many of these pros into your job postings, give prospective applicants other reasons to want to work for your company – your great product/service, any accolades your company or employees have received, any interesting projects they’ll be working on or people they’ll be working with, etc. And keep the qualifications and requirements down to the absolutely necessary.

  1. Know where to find the best remote workers

While remote employees can certainly be found on the bigger job boards, you’ll be more likely to find workers with the qualities you desire on remote specific websites.

Here are a few sites to try. Use this job board directory to discover all the remote job boards.

WeWorkRemotely – A well-known board just for remote work. Cost is $200 to post.

Flexjobs – This job board is focused on flexible jobs and boasts hand screened postings to attract better applicants.

Virtual Pros – this site lets you hire virtual workers through job postings and resume search.

  1. How to Get to Know an Employee

Some applicants are great at putting together resumes (or paying people to do it for them), and some are really good at interviewing. But too often, only a few are actually great at their job.

Obviously, you want someone in the third category (unless, of course, you’re hiring a writer for a resume service). One way to find that person is by using a test that has them do a typical day’s work.

This type of test can often be done on the candidate’s own time, with equipment they already have, wherever they happen to live. In other words, remotely. One of the great things about remote work is that most of the jobs lend themselves well to this kind of test.

The best candidates won’t want to work for free, so you’ll need to pay for this day of work. These candidates know their time is valuable, and probably won’t agree to doing a day’s work unpaid.

The benefit of this test is that it will give show the quality of work the candidate is capable of and give you a concrete idea of how they do their job.

  1. Use an Initial Screening Process to Find the Best Candidates

Don’t freak out about getting swamped with a huge pile of incoming applications. Instead, send out an email that gives a detailed introduction to your company, and create a list of 5 pre-screening questions for applicants to answer.

Most of these questions should pertain to how they would tackle a specific task that’s common to the job. The task should require them to really consider their answer and should ideally take about 20 minute. For example, if your company is looking to hire someone to do search engine marketing, a good question would suggest a keyword to target, and ask what strategy they would use to create content and build links to rank for that keyword.

Good pre-screen questions will help you;

People who aren’t very motivated to get the job probably won’t take the time to complete the task, and if they do, they’ll hurry through it.

So there’s a pile of applications you can eliminate, because what you’re really looking for are candidates who will put thought and effort into their answers. And, of course, candidates who give good answers.

Screening applicants in this manner should narrow down your list of candidates considerably.

  1. All Remote Workers Need This Ability

The one key ability that almost all remote workers share? The ability to focus in a very distracting world.

Working without supervision can make even the best workers prone to distraction. Add hours of sitting in front of a computer on the internet, and staying focused can be close to impossible.

While the questions and test that you gave applicants should provide an indication of their ability to focus, the reality is that almost anyone can concentrate for a day.

The best people to look for are those who have been successful in the past working at jobs where they spent a lot of unsupervised time in front of a computer. During the interview phase, you might ask them about times they’ve worked without supervision and with a lot of potential for distraction. You might also ask candidates about their strategies for staying focused.

That should get you off to a good start. If you’re still unsure about going remote or are hiring remotely for the first time, using a service like Upwork or Fiverr to try a remote employee for a one-off task can be a great way to dip your toe in the water and see how it goes.

Good luck and happy hiring.