Tips for recruiting superstar remote talent in 2021

Mauricio Morales


Finding top talent is always difficult. If you are running a remote company, you need to create a great recruiting strategy, because the world is going towards remote work (as we all have learned) and you are now competing against big companies to attract, and retain the best talent.

We’ve done a lot of research looking at best practices applied by leading remote companies, and we also want to share our own experiences.

TLDR; if we can summarize this post in 3 tips, here they are:

  1. Define your culture values and write a great job description; describe how a day at work looks like for that role, and the work to be done the first 10, 30, N days. Make sure you write about your culture and environment often — employer branding matters a lot —, and always start promoting the job openings via referrals.
  2. Have competitive compensation and perks. Remember that in the remote world, you are competing with global and powerful brands.
    Have standard salaries regardless of location, offer stock options, and create perks that apply to most remote workers, and not only the ones in some geography.
  3. Use the right tools: from AI to analyze whether your job description is attractive, inclusive and gender neutral; to great Job Boards specialized in remote workers; to ATS (applicant tracking system); to apps that help you do asynchronous interviews with videos; to referral systems.

Understanding what makes a remote worker successful in your company

This is an essential step for your recruiting strategy, there are a few common attributes that remote workers should have to be successful, and there are others that are quite unique for your company and culture.

This understanding will be helpful when you are writing your job description, interview questions, and the rest of the content that you probably want to create to tell the world how your company works remotely. We believe that these are the key aspects of successful remote workers; they are:

  • Self-disciplined and independent
  • Trustworthy
  • Great communicators with good writing skills
  • Great at prioritization with good decision-making skills
  • Already used to remote work, and have a proper remote work environment. It’s not only about their personal office space, but also how their life is organized: they care about mental health, work-life balance, etc.

We’ve seen that remote workers that have been working as freelancers already have a good self-discipline and are good at decision making; they already know how to be independent.

Writing a great job post

Think about the new job opening and write a great description of it. It’s not only about the role and responsibilities but also about the company culture, how the life at the company is. When it comes to writing a great post, it’s usually good to keep these elements in mind:

  • Company story and culture
  • Job description and why it is important for the company
  • How is a day in the life of someone working at this role in the company
  • Describe what is expected in the first 10 days, 30 days, 90 days, etc.
  • Benefits pack

Nowadays there are great tools like Textio to help you analyze how effective the job post will be. It helps you write a great job description that is clear and attractive for candidates, and that is also inclusive and gender neutral.

It’s highly encouraged to be transparent about the compensation and perks, companies nowadays are very open with this information. If you cannot show the exact salary then try showing a salary range; this guidance is highly useful for the candidates, and many that are a good fit may not apply if they don’t see this information.

Other tips are:

  • Have a standard compensation regardless of location: this is highly recommended
  • If you cannot have a standard compensation, use stock options and other incentives, and avoid creating huge gaps between locations
  • When defining perks, make them inclusive so they add value to all your remote workers and not only to a few from certain geographic locations

Finding the candidates

The first approach should always be to start getting candidates from your own network. You can create a referral program so that your employees can recommend people they know, then pay them a referral bonus if you end up hiring the candidate. This is a reliable and effective way to hire.

Also, try these approaches:

  • Your product user base: announcing the job openings inside your product or in your web/blog
  • Online meet-ups or events
  • Job boards, prioritizing the ones focused on remote work: i.e. FlexJobs, We Work Remotely, Remote Ok, etc.
  • Share it everywhere: Twitter, AngelList, LinkedIn, or in online communities like Slack’s WorkFrom or Nomad List groups

The application and interview process

It’s a good practice to get applications with unique insights, so define some key questions for your candidates to respond during that application process. It cannot be only about sending a resume.

Prepare in advance a plan to evaluate the candidates, including the questions for that role and for each of the interviews (depending on how many stages of your interview process there are). Make sure you evaluate the soft skills that are important for your remote work environment and team culture.

Once you have filtered your application list, have some video calls with the top candidates.

Depending on how many remote employees you're hiring, this process can be simple or it may require some tooling to be more scalable and successful.

Scaling with specialized tools

There are many tools available for you to make a great process.

  • Manage funnels and candidate check-ins with TalentWall
  • Use an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) like Greenhouse or HomeRun
  • Run asynchronous audio or video interviews with Yac or Loom
  • Record interviews with Spark Hire
  • Make video call scheduling easy with Calendly or HireVue
  • Automate pre-hire assessments with ThriveMap

Test tasks

At DailyBot, we love doing test projects with the candidates. Depending on the role we create some scenarios or tasks, the result helps us understand and evaluate the candidate's problem solving skills and then some. In some cases you may want to pay the candidate for this test project, depending on the effort required or the candidate's situation, for instance, if your candidate is currently a freelancer, consider hiring them for some freelance work first.

As an example, these are some test tasks we use in the process:

  • Solving a problem with source code: for developers
  • Writing an essay about management: for managers or developers
  • Understanding why company X launched product B and writing about it: for PMs

Checking references and making the offer

Once you have the ideal candidate, check the references: if they have worked remotely in the past (ideal) ask questions about how their remote work performance was, how independent they were, etc.

And finally make an offer, sign, and repeat!

I hope you have found these tips useful, happy recruiting!

- Mauricio


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