Companies that hire remote teams have immediate access to a talent pool of the best employees from around the world. But the traditional hiring process doesn’t work when it comes to hiring remote workers. We created a guide to help you know where to find the best people and how to determine if a candidate is suited to thrive in your company.

There is no doubt that remote employment is transforming the workplace for startups and large, established companies alike. 
The benefits of a remote workforce are astounding. Recent statistics supporting remote work include 91% of remote workers reporting improvements in individual productivity, reduced employee turnover by over 50%, and substantial overhead cost savings. 
Hiring remotely opens up your talent pool to the best employees from around the world.
With these advantages, every company should be thinking about hiring a remote workforce. But before you jump in, there is an important factor to consider — finding the right people. If you hire people who aren’t a good fit, having a remote team can become more of a hindrance, creating extra work and wasting valuable time.
Companies often make the mistake of focusing solely on a remote team member’s job skills without taking into account important personal characteristics that make a candidate a good fit for both your company and remote work. 
We’ve put together a hiring guide to help you build an exceptional remote team, highlighting where to find the best candidates, who to consider, and how to determine if a candidate is suited to thrive in your company.

The Where: Finding the Best Remote Talent is a Creative Endeavor

The best talent is out there waiting to hear from you, but you may not find them in the traditional recruiting channels.
The remote work lifestyle has become a cultural movement, where a global community has formed to share ideas, experiences and best practices around the benefits of working remotely for both the employer and employees.
While the mass job boards like Indeed and LinkedIn will yield a high volume of candidates, you will spend an enormous amount of time filtering and responding to a lot of candidates.

Remote Workforce

Before you post a mass job listing, here are some more creative approaches to source remote talent:
Remote Work Advocacy:  Remote is more than a work arrangement, it’s a lifestyle choice with dozens of online resources to help people navigate this new paradigm. As a remote employer, you can attract new talent by becoming involved in this community. Whether it’s by posting a blog series about remote work at your company or having your team post testimonials, you have an opportunity to promote your company within this community as a remote-friendly workplace.
Niche Job Boards: The popularity of working remotely has birthed specialized job boards focusing on remote work. Candidates who are looking for opportunities with companies that understand the remote lifestyle will look at these specific job boards first.  While there are highly-targeted sites like PowerToFly, which focuses solely on females in tech, many remote sites like WeWorkRemotely and have established themselves as resources for all remote opportunities.
Remote Placement Agencies: Remote workers often have the flexibility to work on a contract basis before becoming a full-time employee. Placement agencies that specialize in recruiting remote talent, like Toptal, have a global network of remote workers, allowing you to hire candidates on a temporary contract basis with the option of offering them a full-time position. If you don’t want to commit to hiring a full-time remote employee at the start, using a specialized agency is a way to bring candidates in on a trial basis.

The Who: Successful Remote Employees Share a Unique Persona

The idea of working from anywhere in the world is enticing for most people, but the reality is that remote work is not for everyone.
Employees who succeed in a remote environment share similar traits. They are extremely motivated, results-driven people with exceptional communication, organizational and self-management skills. While you might find several candidates who have the right job skills for the role, ensuring they have the personality traits to thrive away from the office must be your priority.
Remote Employee Persona (2) (1)
Of course, these personal characteristics are ideal for any candidate, both in-office or remote, but exceptional remote candidates will embody a mix of these attributes. For example, you have the flexibility to hire a talented accountant for your office who might not be a self-starter because you have someone in the office who can manage and help that person.

Here are three personality pillars that you’ll find in excellent remote candidates:

1. Enterprising: Employees who are resourceful and passionate don’t need extra motivation to get their job done. They are proactive, always looking for new ways to improve the company and their performance. If a remote team member finishes a task early, they can either turn it in and ask for another assignment, or they can stall and turn it in when it is due. Enterprising employees will not wait for a new assignment. They are motivated to help the company succeed, and use every minute they are on the clock working on tasks to help the company win.
2. High Emotional IQ: In the case of remote work, emotional IQ refers to a candidate’s ability to receive feedback and take responsibility for their actions. Your remote employees will spend most of the day on their own, managing their time and workload. They need to be accountable and trustworthy, even when mistakes are made.
Remote team members often get constructive criticism through written communications, which is much harder to interpret than verbal feedback. An employee with a high emotional IQ will be able to discern criticism and ask clarifying questions to improve their work without overreacting or making excuses.
3. Entrepreneurial:  Remote employees should be entrepreneurial in the sense that they are their own day-to-day managers. Entrepreneurs constantly adapt to changes and are always thinking about results. This mentality helps members of your remote team manage their time wisely and prioritize tasks for the best outcome.
Remote work environments are constantly evolving as new technologies and tools are implemented to improve communication and productivity. A remote worker with an entrepreneurial mindset can adapt to these changes without taking their eye off the end goal, which is to finish their assignments on time and deliver results.

The How: Getting to Know Your Candidates’ Remote Work Style

The persona traits that make up the ideal remote employee are hard to ascertain by relying on interviews alone.
Every company’s day-to-day remote work approach is unique, and it’s critical that your employees mesh with your style and culture. Once you’ve narrowed down your candidates to the top 8-10 people based on the quality of their resumes, you can get a sense of their personality traits and proficiency for the role by giving them a skills-based assignment and inviting them to work with your team for a day.

Remote work style

Four-Step Interview Process

The goal of the interview process is to narrow down your candidates with a skills assessment and then focus your time and energy on getting to know the personalities of your top 2-3 candidates through video and a collaborative work experience.
Step One: Skills Test. To start narrowing down your 10-12 candidates, assign a skills test that can be completed in their own time. The test should give them an opportunity to exhibit their proficiency for the role.
Step Two: 1-to-1 Video Chat. The point person for the open role should conduct a video interview to meet the candidates first before getting the entire team involved.  Video allows you to evaluate personality and measure engagement in the opportunity.
Step Three: Simulated Workday. Have the candidate spend the day working with different team members on a short task that incorporates opportunities for collaboration and written communication. 
If you can’t get a good read on a person in a single day, consider a trial period. The social media management company Buffer invites candidates to participate in a paid 45-day period where they can determine if they are a good fit. Upfront transparency, clear goals, and constant feedback are key in conducting this type of trial period.
Step Four: Team Assessments. Everyone who interacted with the candidate should submit a set of scores on different aspects of the candidate’s performance throughout the trial day to help inform the decision makers.

Strong Remote Teams Are Built One Exceptional Employee at a Time

Hiring a remote team has the potential to save your company a lot of money while improving productivity and retention rates, but like any ambitious venture, success is all about the quality of the people involved.
You now have the opportunity to hire the best talent in the world to fill your open roles. Knowing where to look and which types of candidates to look for will help you find the most qualified candidates that excel in a remote work environment.