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What To Look For When Hiring Remote Workers
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What To Look For When Hiring Remote Workers

What To Look For When Hiring Remote Workers

How to conduct a remote recruiting campaign and build a reliable team online.

“Success in a hybrid work environment requires employers to move beyond viewing remote or hybrid environments as a temporary or short-term strategy and to treat it as an opportunity,”  says George Penn, Vice-president of Gartner, a business research and advisory platform.  

While COVID-19 may have acted as a catalyst for many companies across the world to move to remote mode, it is likely that millions may continue working from home or choose the hybrid model even as the threat of the virus reduces. For organizations, this has meant transforming work styles to adapt to the new circumstances. 

As a result, hiring too has had to take place remotely, with managers onboarding employees they may have never interacted with in-person.  

Ideally, companies are built by people who can be friends outside of work as well, but that’s a utopia not everyone is lucky enough to be able to benefit from. Hiring remotely also poses another obstacle in terms of not being able to gauge the potential employee in person during the recruitment process. Conversing only over video or call can also add a layer of awkwardness while trying to understand if this person is the best fit for your team.

Here are some best practices that can help create a smoother remote recruiting process for your organization:

Incentivizing recommendations and referrals 

A robust recommendation system within your company can generate great results in the long-term and promote employee retention organically. For instance, if Operations Manager Clyde brings his friend Toby onto the multimedia design team, and Toby is a good fit and stays for at least 3 months, Clyde is rewarded with a prize. Cash prizes are best because the investment is returned through employee retention as well as reduction of absenteeism and abandonment rates. 

Recruiting incentivization will also help drive reciprocal motivation through the reward system. Clyde will do his best to help with the onboarding of his mate while Toby is likely to try to impress his friend and live up to expectations. It’s a mutually helpful system that I wholeheartedly recommend as it has worked for my team which works in customer service. 

Especially in an environment where the tendency is to leave within the first 3 months — customer service, sales, accounting — incentivization of the recruiting process is key. Most employees will stay longer if they can integrate properly which becomes easier when new hires have friends in the company.


Looking presentable, being able to hold an engaging conversation and asking the right questions are all green flags to look for while interviewing a candidate.

Look out for training hunters

Training hunters are a relatively new phenomena impacting company retention and culture throughout the tech industry. Relying on the fact that the first three months of a new job usually consists of paid training and instruction, training hunters will do everything to get qualified and leave once the real work starts. 

We’ve had our fair share of training hunters in our remote recruiting projects and have quickly learned to spot them fairly early in the process. Individuals with several short-term corporate engagements in their resumes are a red flag. As such, when we had such resumes, one of the key discussions in the final interview - if they made it that far - was their inclination to short stays in organizations. We also made a point of asking about their personal ambitions and the goals they would like to reach within our company.

Workers who are truly invested in their careers tend to bring these up early on in conversations and are more likely to have justifications for moving around so frequently. These types of pointed questions will help provide better insights to the interviewers and help you spot red flags early on.

Well structured personal letter of intent 

One of the key factors that are telltale signs of serious intent and reliability is the way in which the letter of intent is composed. In order to hire top-notch remote workers that can be counted on, letters of intent are the first line of qualifiers. 

Video interviews for remote jobs are of course, a given, but candidates will not get to that step unless their letter of intent fulfills a couple of important milestones and answers a couple of important questions. These are the things I watch out for when examining a letter of intent for a remote position on my team: 

  1.  Clear and concise writing 

The first thing we look for is a well-defined structure that highlights relevant career elements and educational qualifications. If a remote position candidate invests the time to tell their story with their cover letter, we can safely say that they are prepared for the hiring process and are truly driven to explore possibilities within the role. It’s a sign that you can count on them when it comes to work ethics, reliability and responsibility. Detailed information about what constitutes a professional letter of intent here.  

  1. Creative, personal touch

Remote position candidates that weave personal stories and achievements into their letters of intent are cherries on the cake.. Most letters of intent rely on templates with boring structures that demonstrate that candidates took a little time to create it.. Some remote workers even have a habit of plagiarizing or sending the same letter of intent to multiple remote employers. 

Including information about one’s personal life and career choices shows inherent communication and oratory skills and are usually traits you would find in ambitious, creative, and active people.

  1. Applied knowledge

Everyone can write nice stories if they put some effort into it, but those that are truly worth the investment of a training program and long-term collaboration, will make sure to demonstrate working knowledge in their field through valid examples.

For instance, a letter of intent for a remote position in a customer service project should elaborate on various situations the applicant has handled in the past with the help of their communication and problem-solving skills. 

Video interviews are a must 

Video interviews can help you gauge several important factors about the person you are looking to hire. Looking presentable, being able to hold an engaging conversation and asking the right questions are all green flags to look for while interviewing a candidate.

The interaction will also shed light on their punctuality, level of preparedness and seriousness when it comes to working remotely. Of course, there are also situations where the reverse is true: the candidate ticks all the right boxes during the recruiting process, but turns out to be an unreliable member of the remote team. 

Nonetheless, if candidates submit a well-written letter of intent, show up ready and on time for an interview, demonstrate knowledge in the field and bring honest personal motivation to the table, chances are they will be able to be productive team members. 

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