Hiring a Remote Manager

Hiring a Remote Manager
Remote roles have already expanded to include senior level and managerial positions. Last year a quarter of the remote jobs posted were for managerial roles. But if you use the same yardstick to hire a remote manager as another employee, you’ll fall short of the ideal candidate mark. Here’s what you need to know when hiring a remote manager.

Believe it or not, the second wave of remote hiring is here.

What’s that? One, remote hiring is on the rise across all industries globally. Two, remote work is not just for secondary or tertiary roles. Three, senior-level positions are gaining prominence in the remote workplace. Last year, according to remote job postings, 25% of remote roles were managerial.

If you’re still struggling to hire remote employees, won’t you please call us and let us help?

This second wave of remote work is an organic expansion. Increased productivity, minimal distractions, more engaged teams – sure, managers saw the benefits of remote work just as much as other employees.

But if you’re planning to take on 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 role of the remote manager in a distributed team and how to hire for such a position.

 

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. Roles like software developers, programmers, writers. And so they are. 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 whole team. So 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. That someone is the remote manager.

A remote manager will bring the team out from their individual worlds.

What will the remote manager do in addition to the “usual managerial duties”?

  • 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

 

What are the qualities to look out for and which to pass on while hiring a remote manager?

A person who is going to support your almost-all-knowing developers better be that good. She should know her Python from HTML5, she’ll know when a program is deviating from a systematic, logical flow, and she’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.

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?

Scrutinizing resumes, asking experiential interview questions, even asking to solve problems that are crossovers between technical and managerial difficulties might get you closer to the right candidate.

In the technical realm, the candidate 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 manager who will support your distributed team flourish. Call us now and let’s get started.

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