All You Need To Know About Hiring Remote Workers | DistantJob - Remote Recruitment Agency
Offshore IT Staffing Advice

All You Need To Know About Hiring Remote Workers

Luis Magalhaes
VP of Marketing at DistantJob - - - 3 min. to read

You’re probably familiar with the hiring and firing process in previous companies you’ve worked in, but hiring remote workers is a totally different ball game, my friends.

So if you’re new to it, we want to give you some helpful tips and tricks to make the process as simple and stress-free as possible.

You might find yourself thinking:

  • Where will I find them?
  • How do I know they’re right for the job?
  • What skills should I be looking for?
  • How should I interview them?

Don’t worry, because we’ll be covering all this and more in this article.

Where to find remote workers

You’ll be facing mission impossible if you’re trying to hire remote workers for your position, but you have no idea where to look for them. That’s as good as wanting to make a sandwich but trying to do it without bread – don’t be that guy.

If you’re a small or startup company, it can be particularly difficult to get the word out there that you’re hiring if you don’t already have a strong audience from a blog, email list or your social media channels to reach out to.

If you want to find the best candidates, you have to ensure you use the best channels open to you.

Here are some of the platforms you can utilize:

  • Social media – The internet is a great place to begin your search because remote workers tend to be big fans of the internet – after all, it’s because of this that they’re able to be remote workers in the first place.

And where do most people hang out online? Yes, social media sites of course! Advertise your position on Facebook, Twitter, linkedIn, AngelList, and any other channels you have access to. The more places you spread the word, the higher your chances are of the right person stumbling across it.

  • Your company career website – If you already have a website, it would be a great idea to dedicate a space on there for positions you’re hiring for, and making it known that you’re looking for remote workers.
  • Your own professional network – Remote workers often start out as freelancers before they go remote, so reach out to your existing network and ask if anyone knows a suitable freelancer who might be right for your position.

Think about anyone you’ve personally worked with throughout your career who might also be interested and the right fit, especially if you enjoyed working with them and found them easy to work with.

Family and friends are also good people to ask to refer anyone they know who might be interested in taking on a new role.

  • Job boards – There are a number of job sites that post remote positions and attract large numbers of applicants including ProBlogger, We Work Remotely, Flex Jobs, and Working Nomads. Remote workers, especially in the early stages of their careers, tend to frequent job sites like these to find work, so save yourself time by going directly to the source.
  • Remote hiring specialists – We’re not ones to self-promote, but quite frankly, we couldn’t not mention our services when they could be exactly what you’re looking for. Here at Distant Job, we specialize in remote recruitment and deliver suitable candidates to you from the world’s best talent.

Make a list of every platform and resource you can think of to get the word out.

When you begin interviewing and eventually hiring, keep track of where the best candidates come from so you know for future reference where to go first.

Questions to ask yourself when hiring remote workers

  • Availability – Think about the amount of contact you really need to have with this remote hire, and when or if they need to be available during a specific time block each day.

Remote workers are often used to working their own hours and enjoy the freedom that brings. That being said, if you’re looking for someone who must be available during regular office hours, be upfront about this when advertising the position.

  • Specific needs – Figure out exactly what it is you want from your remote worker. What are your expectations day to day, and in long-term projects? What programs do they need to be familiar with, if any? Do they need to be able to work within a team, or will they be doing solo work? What are your rules when it comes to taking holidays?

The clearer you are in your own head on what you want, the easier it will be to find that person.

  • Freedom – Remote workers will have a slightly different set of qualities compared to employees in an office where everyone follows the status quo.

Do you need someone who can problem solve on their own, and use their initiative? Do you need someone who can offer new ways of doing things, and be forthcoming in voicing in their opinion? Think about how much freedom you’re willing to offer.

Competencies to measure when hiring remote workers

When thinking about the kind of elements you need to include in your job listing, as well as the interview tasks or prep you ask your candidates to complete, it’s important you’re testing a set of competencies that are vital for success in a remote position, so you can separate the wheat from the chaff.

  • Initiative – every remote worker needs a certain amount of initiative because they won’t have a manager keeping an eye on them, making sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing. You need to look for someone who doesn’t need constant direction and babysitting.
  • Commitment – being a remote worker means there’s a chance you might slack off, or take an unnecessary number of long breaks because there’s no one telling you what you can or can’t do. This is why you need to hire a candidate who is committed to the job, your company’s goals and values, and in it for more than just the money.
  • Time management – strong time management skills are necessary for remote workers because most of the time, they are one hundred percent in control of how they organize their day. They need to be good at estimating how long each task will take, and able to plan their day accordingly.
  • Realistic job preview – make sure the candidate is aware of what to expect from your position and set clear expectations from the start. How often do they need to update you? Can they work whenever they want as long as they get the work done? A clear job preview will help to determine whether a candidate is suitable or not for the job.
  • Able to prioritize – often, your remote worker will be given a list of tasks for the day or week, and left to use their judgment to determine what needs completing first and what can wait. You need someone who is able to focus and prioritize on the most important task each day.
  • Proficient written communicator – the majority of the time you’ll be communicating with this candidate via email or team chats. This is why you need to ensure you hire someone who is a strongly written communicator and can effectively converse with all members of the team without speaking face to face.
  • Trustworthy – make sure you can trust whoever you hire to get on with the job and complete it professionally and to the standards you require. You don’t want to lose any sleep worrying what they’re doing half way around the world where you’re not able to see a damn thing.

Questions to ask when interviewing remote workers

It’s a good idea to use multiple interview methods, including email, phone or skype interviews; because it’s hard to tell what someone’s really like when you can’t see their body language, tone or expressions. Video will help you gauge their personality to see if they’re a good fit for your company.

Conversing via email will also help you assess how strong they are in written communication, and how quickly they respond.

Ask them how they schedule their day, what being a remote worker means to them, and how they prioritize tasks. Use everything you’ve learned above to make sure you’re assessing their competencies.

The final takeaway about hiring remote workers

There isn’t a shortage of remote workers. In fact, there are way more people trying to be remote workers than there are jobs available, many of whom won’t have the right skills for your position.

That being said, there are great remote workers out there who do have the exact skills and qualities you are looking for. Your challenge is to figure out how to reach them and keep them.

Here at DistantJob, we’re a remote placement agency that will find you the best developer for your remote position. Simply send us your job description, and we’ll search the globe to find the best talent, and send you our short list of candidates to interview and choose from.

If you’re interested in learning more, just get in touch with the team today.

Luis Magalhaes

Luis Magalhães is Director of Marketing and podcast host DistantJob. He writes about how to build and manage remote teams, to ensure companies are attracting and retaining the right talent. He‘s been managing editorial teams remotely for the past 15 years, and training teammates to do so for nearly as long.

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