Remote roles have already expanded to include senior level and managerial positions. During 2020, because the pandemic forced most companies to close their offices and start working from home, there was an acceleration of remote hiring in many positions, including managerial roles.
If you’re planning to hire a remote manager, you might have to re-think the hiring process a bit. Using the same methods and looking out for the same qualities as hiring for a junior role or an in-office manager may not get you the most suitable candidate.
In this post, we’re discussing the remote manager’s role in a distributed team and how to hire for such a position.
How to hire a Good Remote Manager?
One of the keys for hiring a good remote manager is looking in the right places. Seriously, hiring remote managers is not just about posting an effective job description and hoping that talented candidates apply. You need to go out there and do some serious recruiting.
These are 3 strategies for hiring a good remote manager:
1) Social Media
LinkedIn is the tool of the moment for recruiters. Did you know that 87% of recruiters use Instagram daily? We are included in that percentage because through this professional network; we’ve found serious talent. Other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are a great way to connect with potential candidates looking for a job or wanting to find a better job.
2) Hiring Marketplace
These platforms are also a good strategy when wanting to find a talented remote manager. One of its highlights is that it has more filters than regular job boards, helping you save time. You can categorize and search for employees in a determined area of expertise, making the hiring process accurate and faster. The downside of the hiring marketplace is that it’s harder to know for sure if a candidate is as talented as they say they are, and in this case, if they can manage a remote team.
3) Remote Recruitment Agency
Hands down, this is one of the best strategies to hire a remote manager and we should know best. These agencies including DistantJob take care of everything regarding the recruitment process. We headhunt and interview candidates making sure they match skills, abilities, and personality traits, and in less time than you think, you have a new face working for you. For instance, we’re a recruitment agency specialized in remote tech talent. And besides helping companies find the talent they are looking for, we at DistantJob also take care of all the HR-related aspects.
What is the Role of The Remote Manager?
The most important role a good remote manager plays is that of a support system for the entire distributed team.
Even when a remote team consists of fully-capable people, excellent at their respective jobs, someone has to watch out for the group as a whole as well as the entire business.
You’ve heard that creative roles are particularly suited for remote work. According to statistics, the 3 roles more likely to have remote workers are IT, Marketing, and Business Administration. These jobs are highly suitable for a remote environment because creative work is best done without disturbance or interference. Creatives need to own their stride and quiet space.
But the same quality that makes them so capable of working on their own can isolate people in the team from one another. Creatives love to zoom in on the problems they are working on with complete disregard to everything else. That approach is fantastic for getting top-notch results.
That means they need someone to help them come out of their worlds and coordinate with the team. When companies hire a remote manager, they have someone who will make sure that everyone is on the same page, all details of the project are logged, changes clarified, and most importantly, client requirements and deadlines are met. 2020 has made it clear that remote work is here to stay. Companies need to adapt to these changes by having the right team members – not only virtual employees but also remote managers who are skilled enough to efficiently lead distributed teams.
Responsibilities of a Remote Manager
- Strike a balance between letting remote team members work on their own and reining them in for common goals
- Institute and implement processes that enable communication with everyone and at all times
- Maintain workflow keeping in mind deadlines and different time zones
- Provide the team with the right tools for every aspect of remote work from daily chats to video meetings to archiving project changes
- Build an air-tight knowledge base for new and old members to refer to, especially if the remote manager isn’t available 24X7 (and why would they be?)
- Track the progress of each team member and provide them with any help they need
- Create and promote an excellent remote team culture
Skills of a Remote Manager
A person who is going to support your almost-all-knowing developers better be that good. They should know their Python from HTML5, also know when a program is deviating from a systematic, logical flow, and they’ll dare to call them out when the user interface isn’t intuitive.
But an excellent remote manager will display a few other qualities, like:
- Knows when to lose the rulebook – because remote teams function best when they play by their own rules
- Hyper-communicative – without getting in the way of the work
- Eye for details while holding on to the big picture – to help bring the team’s work together
- Be a figure of responsibility, not a figurehead – who observes and periodically gives feedback
- Stamina in the face of red-tape – every business has to deal with it, but creatives usually don’t excel at mundane chores and managers have to ensure those get completed, too
- Familiar with remote management tools – which is not quite the same as being proficient in programming languages
- Uber-organized – with requirement changes, different versions, communicating them with clients, senior management, and team members
- Availability – not 24X7 perhaps, but has to be mindful of varying time zones her distributed team members are at and be available to them
All this in addition to exceptional leadership qualities like inspiring the team, aligning their work with company goals, and taking initiatives that help both the business and the team grow.
Remote Manager vs. Onsite Manager
But not everyone with previous managerial experience is suited to the post of a remote manager. Here are a few qualities to watch out for:
- No previous remote work experience – for a newbie, remote work can be a distraction in itself. A senior position warrants full knowledge of how to balance work and life when working from home.
- Likes to work on their own – although they’ll be working from an isolated space, the remote manager will have to coordinate with all team members.
- Is rigid or has a very structured work background – a remote manager needs to roll with the punches, needs to be experimental.
- Vacillates on options – highly-developed decision-making skill even when presented with many alternatives is the remote manager’s secret weapon.
- Differentiates work hours and off hours – if a team is distributed globally, keeping in touch with the entire team is crucial. A manager cannot wait till “her work hours” to respond to queries. She needs to reply as soon as possible to keep the workflow going.
What Should the Hiring Process be Like for a Remote Manager?
In the technical realm, scrutinizing resumes, asking experiential software interview questions, even asking to solve problems that are crossovers between technical and managerial difficulties might get you closer to the right candidate. The software engineer manager should have experience working with a programming language for 4-5 years minimum and in the specific industry for 3-4 years. Experience as a manager should include working with a distributed team.
But the best fit will come down to applicants who have proven track records and sourcing them. People who are already working in similar roles have better chances of fitting with your organization than others. We can help you with that search and find you a remote software engineer manager who will support your distributed team flourish. Contact us now and let’s get started.