01 February

On-ramping the Remote Worker

The author with "Running Remote"
Excerpt from Running Remote by Liam Martin and Rob Rawson 

Among the many challenges of building and sustaining a remote work environment, none is more pressing than mastering hiring, on-ramping, and nurturing the new employee.  

Here’s a list of how to effectively find remote workers and help them onboard.  

1. Build a pipeline. Utilize job boards like FlexJobs, Remote OK, We Work Remotely, Remotive, and AngelList, as well as your internal customers and friends of employees.  

2. Implement an asynchronous job interview. Always ask for a CV, but focus on the applicant’s proof of work rather than explanations of previous roles. If he or she is an engineer, ask for a GitLab profile. If he or she is a designer, ask for the Dribbble account. If he or she is a marketer, ask to see the websites that person has worked on. Once you’ve got the proof in your hands, then you must insist that the applicant walk you through the processes used and what he or she did. Many people, when interviewed, will say they did X when the reality is that they were a very small part of X. Only someone who was deep in the process will be able to describe how it was pulled off.  

3. Invite your second round to a video interview. Always keep these video interviews brief. Y Combinator famously talks about how it can identify whether a start-up is one it can invest in within five minutes. We tend to spend about thirty minutes on a video interview, but if we’re going to be completely honest, the last fifteen minutes are almost always a waste of time. You should already know if the person or organization you’re interviewing can do the job before the interview starts; synchronous meetings are where you try to find out who they are. Bonus question: Ask yourself, “Would I voluntarily sit next to this person on an international economy flight?” If the answer is yes, they usually pass.  

4. Bring in a second interviewer to collaborate. It’s important that you don’t discuss the candidates until you’ve both completed the process, so that you can separate signal from noise. If you both have exactly the same conclusions, great. If you don’t, you may need another round of interviews. By operating asynchronously, you can add as many collaborators as possible, to help review the process and check to see if a given candidate is really the right fit.  

5. Whenever possible, hire on a trial basis. It takes a few months before anyone can decide if a prospective applicant is a good fit, but the process is much more difficult in an on-premise company where you may bring somebody in for a month, then move him or her out a month later, disrupting the internal company culture. Hiring remote allows you to actually work with somebody right away, before you really start to work with them. A few months in, we like to have a “Speak now or forever hold your peace” meeting with managers, stakeholders, coworkers, and even subordinates to decide if someone’s a good fit. 

Print version of Running Remote

Running Remote shares success secrets from original remote work pioneers on the mindset and strategies they developed to build and grow successful organizations from the ground up. Available in: