What is your hiring process for remote workers?
We have a multi-stage process that includes screening, compatibility, skills, core values, and career history. The biggest difference from on-site workers is that we have become very shy to hire anyone who does not have experience accomplishing something hard working with others (like an office job).
We have found that people learn a lot in jobs about how to collaborate. If they have not learned these things, then a remote job can be a hard place to learn them.
One more thing might be that we are very cautious about hiring anyone who does not have a strong enough job coach to guide them. We can identify people better now who have a high risk of just not being able to make it in our company and we stop ourselves from hiring them if they don’t have someone capable to guide them.
Broadly speaking, our profile for customer care professionals is the same: we’re looking for people whose passion and personality will make them excellent at delivering our Relationship Care brand of service. We do ask some specific questions about virtual fit, including an ability to self-motivate. Some people like the idea of working remotely, but are more successful in traditional settings. We try to ask questions to help people be self-aware about their personalities and work styles.
- The Recruiter Screen
- The Peer 1 – Cultural Fit
- The Peer 2 – Job Competency and Skills OR The Technical Exercise (if applicable)
- The Hiring Manager
- The Onsite
We hire remote workers from different channels – through our Jobs form on our site, conferences around the world, recommendations from other team members, using different freelance sites or job boards, as well as posting jobs in different countries preselected based on timezone, English comprehension, cost of living, reputability in a certain field like development (as well as the reputation of local universities) and the like.
Our process for hiring remote employees is almost identical to on-site ones, although we take into account certain factors such as attending events or client meetings with us where we may add another requirement or two to the equation.
We very rarely get to meet people in-person during the interview process, so we hold multiple video calls in order to expose applicants to a diverse cross-section of our company. This gives us a more well-rounded idea of who they are, and allows them to better understand who we are and how we work from different perspectives. We also rely heavily on test projects for our top applicants, so that we can get a reliable feel for what it would be like working with them – not just in terms of the quality of their work, but in regard to their communication habits, and how they adapt to the demands of remote collaboration.
Our hiring process is thorough, long and uses a variety of approaches. We start with a phone screen. If we are still interested in the person after the phone screen, we invite them in for an in-person interview. If we remain interested, we invite the person in again to present to us (in some cases), observe us working, and complete a timed writing exercise (since client communication via email is an essential part of the job). We also show them our custom recruiting software tool and have them play around so we can assess their technology skills. We arrange a coffee with the candidate being considered and a few team members so both can ask questions and get a better feel for fit with office culture. We are assessing the candidate’s communications skills at every step along the way.
We only hire remote workers, so there is no different approach. Of course, we conduct interviews online using different tools. For student positions, there is another twist that we implemented around a year ago: instead of a first personal interview, we ask the students to record a video of themselves, answering questions. Here, we don’t require super fancy videos—it’s about the people and not the video in the end. By asking for a video, the students can pick a time frame that suits them best, and we can always come back to the video.
Our approach to hiring remote workers has to be different from hiring on-site workers because not everyone is cut out to be a remote worker. We have an extensive interview process where we determine if the person in question has the ability to not only be productive and complete assignments, but the ability to do so from a non-traditional office setting. In addition, they must be a good fit for blending in with our company culture and team. We not only use behavioral interview questions but also have candidates complete personality assessments that measure traits such as efficiency, integrity and sociability in order to gauge fit for working virtually.
Most of our team has approached us directly to ask if we’ve been hiring. That’s one of the advantages of being a relatively well-known remote team. The ‘remote’ aspect of what we do is very appealing and attracts great people to us. Our top priority is culture fit and we usually introduce the new hire to the wider team as early as possible, if we feel they’ll be a good fit. We also rarely hire directly–we use contract-to-hire methods usually, and look to find a project where we can have a trial-run, before actually committing to hire a full-time employee.
Our hiring process generally starts with some small “interview project” we ask candidates to complete related to the position. We hardly ever do traditional interviews at all. The ‘interview project’ is designed to be completed in the amount of time someone may prepare for and attend the traditional interview.
We also always start out with a trial/probation period for each new hire allowing the new employee to complete a larger project. We typically give the option during this trial period for the employee to work part time so they can continue on with any existing job they have until they know it will work out with us.
We have lost a few people during this trial period – some our decision, and some the candidates. Ultimately, this allows us way more insight than a traditional interview process would into how good of a fit someone is for our team (and how good of a fit we are for the candidate).
We only hire remote workers, so the process can be a little longer sometimes. We are OK with this as it means we ensure that we are making the right hiring decisions. We require everyone to submit an entry video, instead of a resume, and we hold one-on-one video interviews. Usually, we will set successful candidates some fun tasks (whilst paying for their time) or give them a trial period.
We only hire remote workers. We do most of our hiring by running online job ads. We post them a variety of places including FlexJobs and Craigslist. We screen applications and resumes and then set up email or phone interviews depending on the role. The biggest difference in our hiring compared to non-remote companies where I have worked is we don’t usually do “in person” interviews.
We have a relatively extensive hiring process for such a small team.
Alongside their resumes and portfolios, we ask applicants to send us a video of themselves or a brief story about their favorite travel experience. That way, we get a little bit of sense into what he or she is like in terms of personality.
From there, they go through 2 rounds of interviews, and if they make it through, they have a 1-week paid trial with the entire team before they can receive a job offer (which includes a 6-month probation).
This process has evolved over time and has proven the most effective!
We look for experience working remote and/or very realistic expectations about what it means. If an applicant expects a completely flexible schedule or that they’ll be able to care for a very-dependent dependent during their workday, it’s not a match. I’ve noticed that many people who don’t have experience working from home think that it’s a dream, that they’ll never be stressed or be asked to 100% focus. They would ultimately be very disappointed working for Packlane if we were to hire them.
We only hire remote workers and use a similar process for all positions. We advertise job offers on StackOverflow Careers, Github Jobs and a few other prominent job boards, clearly highlighting that it is a 100% remote job. People apply through a form in our website that creates a Trello card in a big board that we use to track candidates during the whole application process.
The process to become a full-time [A]gent has multiple stages and takes a long time. Our process weeds out people who are looking to quickly switch jobs, or who are not looking to get to know the company little-by-little. We believe no matter how good the interviews and tests are, you really don’t know somebody until you work with them. And likewise, they really don’t know what the experience of being an [A]gent is going to be like until they’ve tasted it.
We want to make sure there’s a good long-term match before we jump in to hiring anybody. So our recruiting and onboarding process has multiple steps, culminating in a test project.
The test project is a way for us to get to know each other by working together. We believe that too many times interviews do not give us enough of a clear idea of what it’s actually like to collaborate and work with someone. By working on a project with [A], applicants also get to know some of what the real world looks like behind-the-scenes and decide if it’s a good environment that works well with the way she or he likes to operate and experience life.
After we have a contracting agreement in place, candidates go through an Onboarding and Orientation process. This involves getting to know the relevant systems the candidate will be working with like email, JIRA, source control, QA and communication tools. The process continues for successful candidates towards either an ongoing contract role, or towards full-time.
The process is quite complicated because we believe the cost of hiring the wrong person is very high. We start with a survey with questions that can break the hiring process fast. Like how much would you like to earn? This is a simple question which allows us to reject a candidate very early and not waste each other’s time. After this step we have a few talks, both technical and informal, and a programming task. Besides technical knowledge, we want to check the candidate’s English and we want to meet in an informal atmosphere to chit chat and check if they fit the company culture. The question we are trying to answer here is “Would I like to go with them for a beer?” 🙂
(Answering these with the customer consultant position in mind) After an applicant has applied for a remote position, we will send them an email with a link to perform tests on their personal computer as well as their Internet Service Provider. We need to verify that they have the necessary technology to enable them to work for us. We will then conduct a series of recorded interviews, assessments, and usually a live interview as well to help us evaluate candidates and make hiring decisions.
A heavy emphasis is placed on whether working remotely will be a good fit for a candidate. People tend to either love or hate working remotely and it is important that we make sure each candidate understands the benefits and challenges of our remote work environment before joining the company. We strongly filter for candidates who are extremely self-motivated, thrive when working individually and are clear communicators via digital channels (Slack, Email, Phone, etc).
Probably the big difference is that you look harder for personal passions. The applicant’s raison d’être. If they are turning up to work remotely every day because they have to, it won’t work. They have to love the role, or at least aspects of it, and it has to enable them to do the thing they love the most in life outside of work. When you find that win/win it’s hiring time.
Our interview process for most roles consists of a hiring exercise, one or several phone interviews, and in-person component. We always discuss team and organizational culture in the interview process, whether for remote or site-based positions. We look to see that candidates are engaged, and ask questions related to culture, training and work that may be unique to working remotely. The interview process helps us assess whether a candidate demonstrates the communication skills, high levels of intrinsic motivation, and results-oriented mindset that are vital in a virtual workplace, and simultaneously helps candidates assess whether TNTP and our virtual environment are a good fit for them.
Previous remote workers are good. We look for people with a lot of initiative, who contribute to other open source projects. We look for people who value remote work, due to kids or anything else, and prefer this flexibility and therefore won’t take advantage of it.
We do now take time zones into account. We try and make sure the teams have at least 4 waking hours overlap with the rest of their team.
Like Uber’s drivers, our teachers are contractors so we sign a contract with them. It’s not hiring per se. Some teachers feel this works to their advantage though because it gives them more working flexibility. They truly are their own boss and this is like an entrepreneurial experience that they love.
We hire for tasks rather than people. For the tasks, it has been fairly clear. And for important tasks we have, we outline the requirement in writing and have a Skype call to set the scope and agree deliverables and expected outcome and timeframe.
We only hire remote workers, so we can’t speak to how this would be different from on-site hiring. A high-level overview looks like this:
- Application submission, review, and selection.
- Initial screening interview via video call, focused on the basic role, qualifications, and values alignment.
- Hiring manager interview via video call, focused on role-specific skills and more values alignment.
- Trial project, a paid experience allowing deeper interaction with a broader selection of XWPeople. This can be an investment of four to eight hours.
- Final interview and offer.