How to Identify the Best Remote Candidates, with Nicole Le Maire

Nicole Le Maire is the global people advisor at thepeopleengine.me, and the head of technical recruitment at Tutuka. She designs, creates, and supports modern people operations internationally, helping global professionals do work effectively together.

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Nicole Le Maire

Luis Magalhaes:

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to another episode of the DistantJob Podcast, your podcast about building and leading awesome remote teams. I am your host as usual, Luis. Today, my guest is Nicole Le Maire, the global people advisor at thepeopleengine.me, and the head of technical recruitment at Tutuka. She designs, creates, and supports modern people operations internationally, helping global professionals do work effectively together. Nicole, welcome to the show.

Nicole Le Maire:

Welcome, Luis. Thank you so much.

Luis Magalhaes:

All right, I want to start by asking you, what’s up with your remote work situation? How did remote work get into your life? How did it shape your career?

Nicole Le Maire:

Oh, I’m one of the early kind of explorers of remote work. I probably started when I was probably about 25, 26. I had a very nice job of traveling around the world at a very young age, with a lot of responsibilities. I learned to work from a laptop, you know, those big ones we still had so many years ago.

Luis Magalhaes:

You need a backpack for those. Right? You need a full travel backpack.

Nicole Le Maire:

Exactly. I traveled with two suitcases and I use a backpack. Yeah. It’s not like that with this very early on. I did do a number of years in the office, but for me, that was not always the best way. I quickly found out that I loved working elsewhere, whether that’s from home or whether that’s renting something else or a co-living space or something like that.

Luis Magalhaes:

When was that? I mean, I have a feeling about the timeline just from the description of the laptop, but can we get a little bit more precise?

Nicole Le Maire:

Correct. Yeah, it’d probably be, I would say, early 2000s I started, middle of 2005, 2004, something like that, so quite some time ago.

Luis Magalhaes:

I don’t know. When I think just 2000s and quite some time ago, it sounds wrong. Right? It sounds wrong. I was an old man in the 2000s. I’m like, “Oh, it was a lot time ago.” I have an adult sister that was born in ’99. That still blows my mind away. But, yeah.

Nicole Le Maire:

Wow.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. So, you were doing it then. I guess the first question, and you were doing the traveling thing, it was not the work from home, right? “Oh, I’m working from home,” thing. You were actually doing the working and traveling. So, how did you manage to make that work? I ask because even today, a lot of people find it challenging, specifically with regards to access to the internet, to the ability to communicate as we are doing now, it’s one thing to do it when you’re at home, you can rely on your internet provider, hopefully stable internet, et cetera, but traveling, that’s challenging in 2021, I can’t imagine on 2005.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yes. I must have been one of the first Skype users ever, because it was Skype then. Right? That was the big thing at that time. It was a lot around that channel, and also a lot via email, but I think it was also very common to sit there in your little laptop and speaking to a conference room full of people. It still happens nowadays, but you were the only one that was outside of the meeting room. I think you got used to it, but it allowed for doing different things. Right? It allowed you to go and… I mean, I did a lot of golfing, I did a lot of going to the beach, which I would have never done if I wouldn’t have been able to do that.

Nicole Le Maire:

So, I think it created a certain lifestyle, but I also understand the need for people to work from an office. I don’t feel that need at all whatsoever, but I can understand both sides. I had many conversations around, especially from a people operations side, can it be remote? Yes or no? Especially in the last five, six years. Everyone always said, no, you can’t do it remotely. It’s not possible. You have to have the human contacts. Then look where we are now. So, for me, I sit there really with a smile. “See, I told you so?” So, that’s cool.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. Turns out human contact was overrated. Right? Actually, no, that’s not true, but it was overrated how much you need to be in the same space to have the human connection. Right?

Nicole Le Maire:

Correct.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah, yeah. I made the best friends online, which I’ve never seen before literally in person.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. I mean, that’s my story too, though I didn’t start working remotely quite so soon. I mean, I had a lot of projects. I was an early internet adopters, so I had a lot of projects in the internet, especially regarding editorial teams, regarding working in community groups to make things happen, especially in the video game space, but the next rule real nine to five job online, that I didn’t have so early on, but I was meeting a lot of people online. I made some of my best friends online as well. So, to me, it was never a question of whether you could socialize with other people online. I was doing that since my teens, really. Right? Ever since I had access to the internet, during the time where it was even just a 24K modem connected to the telephone, I was already making friends there.

Luis Magalhaes:

That was never a question to me. I think that people think that’s a big challenge, but the challenge that most people seems to face is number one, to check on people, right? Because they aren’t used to having good processes to seeing if work is delivered well according to expectations or not. They rely on looking at people and seeing if they’re working, and two, of trust, which is somewhat connected. Now, I know that your expertise is really in designing operations, right? That thing that couldn’t be done remotely, you actually designed that and do it remotely. So, tell me a bit about how this past year, this past two years specifically, I mean, we’re recording this at the end of September, 2021 we’ve had in many countries enforced remote work, right? Because of the 2020 pandemic. So, what changed your mind the most about remote work? Right? What surprised you the most? A lot of us were having into this forced remote work space with some ideas, some preconceptions, both positive and negative about remote work. I wonder if the everybody going remote at once changed any of those for you?

Nicole Le Maire:

Yes. I think it made everything a lot more clear in terms of a transparent, in terms of, yes, there are people who, first of all, probably about, well, at least 50% of the jobs can be remote if you would wish to.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah.

Nicole Le Maire:

I think that’s very clear now. I think it made it also very clear as to if people want to, yes or no, that’s also a big thing, because previously we would have never had that, and also if they can or not, and I think that’s a big thing, right? A lot of people actually can’t work remotely. They just don’t have that, and I mean this in the most positive, sweet sense, that they just don’t want it and they don’t have the ability to do so. There’s nothing wrong with that at all. But I do think we have to realize that there are people out there that might not fit being at home or working from anywhere.

Luis Magalhaes:

Of course.

Nicole Le Maire:

But that said, for me, it’s pretty cool to see that we can work remotely and it is possible, especially from a people ops side. Yeah, it’s amazing what has been achieved.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. We have this tendency to do these sweeping statements about, “Oh, this is the new way of doing things. This is the right way of doing things,” and we seem to mostly forget that human experience happens in a spectrum, right? Whatever we’re discussing, right? Whatever we’re discussing, there will always be some people that feel comfortable at one extreme of the spectrum, and other people that will be at the opposite extreme. Actually, I hope that we’ll be able to arrange, in terms of work, I hope that, even though I’m the remote person with the remote podcast, my wish is actually that we’ll be able to arrange the workplace in a way that roughly half of the people can work from home and roughly half of the people will have an office to go and work with, because I do think that the distribution is probably more or less even. It’s just that the half that wanted to do remote, or a lot of times that would try being remote didn’t even know it because they weren’t aware it was a possibility or it was something that could be done.

Luis Magalhaes:

But I think that when the chips fall, we’ll find out that it’s actually a very broad distribution of how people prefer to work. Right? Maybe Manny will actually like going a few days to the office and spending other days working from home. People like me, and maybe I think it’s your case as well, don’t want to set even a foot in the office, just want to spend their whole lives working from home. That’s fine. I know people that their life is in the office. That’s where they’re happy, legitimately happy. That’s where they feel most at ease. So, I wouldn’t want to take that away from those people.

Nicole Le Maire:

No, it’s an interesting one as well, because I think this for me highlighted, this period really highlighted also the different phases around the world in terms of, “Okay, people are forced to work from home.” I have a number of team members that are still being forced to work from home because they’re in different countries around the world, but the productivity and the positivity they bring is just amazing in comparison to maybe people working from the office. I do have to say, it’s so much fun being together online. Of course, when you meet in person, you have that fun as well, but it’s very short. Here, it’s longer term, it’s always there. So, I think that highlights also, yeah, the different ways of building relationships.

Luis Magalhaes:

Tell me a bit about that. Tell me a bit about that fun. Can you give me an example of a story about that? Because I don’t think that most people automatically realize that. I mean, again, I’ve been having fun online since I was a teen, mostly in games and then chat rooms and stuff like that, but I think that a lot of people haven’t found that joy that you found and still associate online working with endless Zoom calls, and now I have to type something into a chat and hope that someone sees it and et cetera. So, give me a story, a couple of examples of where you find that joy.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah. I think it’s important to know. I’ve worked with a team totally distributed. We work mostly asynchronous, but there is some overlap, and we want to keep that overlap, and that’s how we create that fun. We have a lot of different jokes on our Slack channel. There’s constantly different jokes. We had a lot of fun, like something goes wrong and we make fun out of it. We make fun out of that learning experience online. I think you have to see the opportunities to create that fun. Initially, it is something, “Okay, where do I create that fun?” Like, if you’re using, for example, Slack, from a video from Zoom or Teamwork or whatever you use, it’s really showing the interest in the individuals. It’s really getting to know them as a person. We had a lot of fun around some people not being able to get out of their apartments and people think, “Okay, well, that’s not fun,” but you have to make a not good situation fun. So, we actually did treasure hunts in each other’s houses.

Luis Magalhaes:

How did that work?

Nicole Le Maire:

Well, you would see something in front of you or in the back of you, and we would actually, okay, do first, for example, the color thing. “Okay. I see something orange,” or, “I see something…” so, that’s a game we play, or we do a treasure hunt. We tell them to think, “Okay, well, everyone will have something,” like a toothbrush in the bathroom. Right? So, we take things everyone in each country would have in the house, and then we make a treasure hunt out of that. The quickest one who comes back with all the items wins, those types of things. So, we make it fun. We use a lot of gift cards as well. Yeah. We give training, there’s a need for some extra learning, et cetera. So, it’s all about creating that human touch, I think.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah, fair enough. Early on, you told me that obviously, well, maybe not so obviously, but admittedly, some people aren’t really fit for remote work, right? Just as some people aren’t fit really to work in the office, right? Some people aren’t fit for remote work. Now, I’m very interested to getting more in the weeds of this with you, because you do have a role as the head of technical recruitment. So, I want to talk a bit, if you would like, I wanted to talk a bit more about recruitment with you. I guess that the great place to start is really at how do you usually identify if someone is a good fit for remote work or not?

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah. There’s two things. There’s the personal focus, and then there’s what does the company value? Right? There’s values for each company, whatever company you work for is really important. That should really align with that, I’m going to call it remote work. So, if you look at what a remote worker would need, having humor, can see always the fun side of things is really, really important to see and make things light. It means you can own your own work, so being very responsible and accountable for whatever you do. Understanding of digital tools, some people might not always be aware of all the different tech tools, so that’s really, really important that as well. Then interest in other people, if they don’t have an interest in other people, it’s very difficult. That doesn’t mean, I’m not talking about extrovert or introvert, but it’s really, am I interested in learning about somebody else’s culture? Am I interested in learning about something that that person has done?

Nicole Le Maire:

I think that’s also really an important part of remote work. If you look at a CV of a candidate, you see pretty much what they have done, right? So, they’ve worked 10 years with four companies. That’s not at all what we look at. Yes, from a tech skill perspective, yes. But the other stuff, what else have they done? Do they have different profiles on different platforms, especially from a tech side? Do they have a website? Do they have built a portfolio? Are they live on social media? For example, your podcast, do they have a podcast, yes or no? That for us is really, really interesting, because it shows that you have a different interest in something next to work, which means you have a creative mind. With remote work, those are snapped up immediately.

Luis Magalhaes:

So, do you expect people to include this, or have your people go and do their own research? Because, for example, you gave the example of me. On my CV, I have the director of marketing at distant job. Right? I don’t include the podcast directly on my CV. That’s something that comes under the director of marketing umbrella. Right? Because we’ve been trained, right? We’ve been trained from very early, almost since we entered the job market, to put the minimum amount of information, to trim our CVs, let’s say, to make sure that there’s only the essential there, because recruiters are busy, busy people and they won’t pay attention to your CV if it’s too big.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah. Interesting one. I would add as much as possible about all the passions you have. I think it really helps show who you are as a person. That’s what remote workers should do in terms of who are they as a person, that’s most interesting for a company. So, you might not have all the skills for that role, but for example, you have a podcast or you have a blog, or, I mean, it might be something that you’re a professional or have been a professional basketball player previously when you were 16. That’s really, really interesting for recruiters to know, because it means you have different skill sets, which means that, for example, if you take a basketball player, they’re used to training hard, they’re used to being responsible, accountable, they’re used to being creative in terms of their play game. So, for us, that creates totally different skillsets. That’s really what we’re looking for. So, always please, put it on your CV. It’s sometimes more important than actually the company you work for.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. Right now, I’m hiring for an artist/designer, and I’ve had a really… bad would be pushing it, but somewhat annoying experience in that I get a lot of portfolios with pretty images, pretty designs, et cetera. But what I really want to know is the thought process behind those designs. They never tell you. You never know. A lot of the designs, even just for contractual reasons or whatnot, usually have just the designs, and then they just have and text. They don’t even have real texts. So, I’m really left to wonder, what was the thought process here? Because the design might not land for me, but if I know how the artist thought process was, how he communicated with the person, what were the requirements for the job, then I can have a better picture if I would like to work with that person, rather than just showing me a screen with pretty stuff, because pretty stuff can even be an accident. Right?

Luis Magalhaes:

I can Google random images and see some pretty things every now and then. Right? So, definitely, I don’t know if you encounter this a lot with technical requirements, but definitely. When I’m looking, my side is more of the content marketing, right? When I’m looking for writers or for designers, for artists, I’m really appalled at how people usually just showcase almost the nuts and bolts of their work, but very rarely the thought process.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah. I think it’s a good one. Do you use projects in your selection process?

Luis Magalhaes:

Oh, yeah.

Nicole Le Maire:

That you give them a project early on?

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah, yeah. I’m a big fan of paid test projects, because I actually don’t believe in giving people work for free. I’ve been very inflexible in that than in my career. I worked somewhat for free when I started, and I recognize that there’s some value for that, but in general, I think that people’s work has worth, and that’s where it should be met. So, I don’t use it in the early stage of the process, no, but I do use it on the final stages.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah. I think you can also do a little one early on, like a little split test in terms of saying, “Okay, well, only apply if you can show some of your thinking around this,” and that should really cut down on your CVs checking candidates.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah.

Nicole Le Maire:

People then really also show, it’s a good first pre-screen, right? It helps you quickly identify people when the candidates will really want it, and those who may just send out just CVs and portfolios.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. Do you think that specifically when you’re hiring for remote people, right? You probably got a lot of people that are trying, especially now, fleeing companies where they’re calling them back to the office because they like remote work so much. Right? But just because they like remote work, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re a match for remote work. So, how do you usually try to understand those people and if they’re the kind of person that you’re looking for?

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah, really good question, and it happens a lot at the moment. For a company, it’s really interesting that you do have remote work experience. The last one-and-a-half year don’t really count 100% as remote work experience, unless you really, really enjoyed it and have made it your own. If you do it just to get out of your commute, it’s unlikely to work in the long run for the employee or for the company. There are ways we do double check fit. I wouldn’t say fit, I would say maybe contribution to a company, and how do you make your best contribution to a teamwork project? So, there are ways. Oh, yeah. Are there specific ways? There’s certain questions you can ask, but at some point, a recruiter will know very quickly if you were meant to be or not. This is not a bias thing, it’s just really it’s everything, including from your CV, from those conversations, from a project, it’s very clear if you’re able to be able to contribute.

Luis Magalhaes:

Well, I’m constantly surprised by the people who come to me, and when I asked them the remote related questions, asking, for example, “Why do you want this job?” And they reply with, “Oh, because I want to get rid of the commute, because I want to spend more time at time with my family.” It’s all me, me, me, me. Then I’m like, “Okay, I’m probably not hiring you because I’d like you to work for the company because you have an interest in working for the company and in your job, and not just feel that…” some people when you’re interviewing them for a job, you quickly get the sense that their ambition is to do as little as possible of the job. I mean, obviously I don’t want people to overwork. I want people to work in a healthy way, but I do want people who are interested in the job.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah. I think it’s really interesting. I think you hit it on the head there, to be honest. There’s also quite a few people in my network also came back early on and said, “Well, these people in my team are not performing. They’re logging in late and they’re doing their cooking, washing, et cetera.” I think it’s also like, “Well, did you show them how? Did you go through a process of what remote work actually means to them and what it is to contribute?” Yeah, it’s an interesting, interesting story, and it’s going to be interesting definitely over the next year or so where that’s going to go. Yeah.

Luis Magalhaes:

When you’re doing your operations, processes building, right? I want to ask you a bit about time. There was this a military person. I don’t fully remember the name now, but basically he had this rule, this law, if you will, that work fills the time available for it. Right? So, however long you have to do something, that’s however long it will take. Even extended this to two other kinds of resources. So, no project ever finishes with budget to spare, you always use up all your budget, et cetera. Right? So, what happens when people are working? Working from home, I mean, because the barrier between regular work and just life disappears. You mentioned about the person working and also cooking and et cetera, it’s challenging to create boundaries, especially, not for everyone, but for many people it is challenging to create boundaries.

Luis Magalhaes:

It can go both ways. Either your work can invade your personal life, and then you overwork and you’re very unhappy, right? Or your life can invade your work and you prioritize kids, cooking, dogs, cats, et cetera, et cetera, goldfish, goldfish need to be fed. You know? I need to clean the aquarium. So, that work gets shoved into the niches of your schedule, and that obviously impacts performance. So, having this in mind, right? And maybe the answer is just hire people that are better at it, but I’m curious to hear your thoughts about how you help organize people’s workflow, taking this into account.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah. It really depends also are they working only in one country, one region, or do they work with different time zones where they have to meet other people? I think also if you look at it from a structuring perspective, it really is people have to need the freedom to work in the best way they can. If that means that you do the washing in between that many of us do, or do the cooking in between, but it works, and you’ll know very quickly that it works, then you can build up from that. Bu there’s a large amount of people that cannot manage certain things, and that becomes very difficult work life. So, from a company perspective, in terms of structuring it, is they have to think about many, many different ways of the different types and personas of people in terms of their management styles. So, it’s going to be quite a difficult one to answer, because it’s so different for each one of us.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. I mean, just today, I was working, and my wife was studying in the living room. She just casually asked me because I was here right in front of her, right? She asked me for help with some problem. Right? She asked me if I could… because she knows that I’ve gone through those studies as well, so she asked me if I could help her out. She asked me a question, and I’m like, “Yeah, but now I need to focus. I’m working, honey.” Right? So, “Sorry, I can’t help, even though I’m here right in front of you in the same room as you.” Right? “I need to focus on this right now. I’ll take a break later on and then I’ll get back to you. But right now, I can’t.” But I do recognize that this isn’t easy to do. My relationship works quite well, fortunately, but even so, there was a moment where I hesitated and I thought, “Okay, I need to drop everything to help my wife, because she’s just here. She’s a person in the room with me.”

Luis Magalhaes:

So, it’s kind of hard to break that intuition and to understand that there’s a time for the family, right? And there’s a time for work. You can probably mix the two to a certain healthy extent. For example, I like the Pomodoro method. With the Pomodoro method, you take a five minute or 10 minute break, right? Every half an hour or one hour. I can use that time for my family, that break time for my family. I wouldn’t be able to do it if I was in office. So, that’s something that I do. Other people might have other systems that works, but just in general, being able to separate the work that’s happening online from what’s needed around you, that’s not super easy.

Nicole Le Maire:

No, I think it’s conscious effort as well. It does mean being harsh sometimes. It’s more about the communication right, online and offline, because your wife could have taken that really as, “Wow, he’s never going to come back and help me.” But it’s the communication you have with each other and understanding it can be very hard, especially in same rooms, and especially now with families and kids, I think it is a conscious effort. I’ve seen it work very, very well, where the boundaries have been set very, very clear, and people are only allowed in the room when there’s a case of fire or something else is going, an emergency, but otherwise, usually you can manage in it, but it’s all about how do you actually communicate it to one another?

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah, definitely. It turns out that in order to work well online, you also need to be better at communicating offline.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah, it goes hand in hand.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah, yeah. You kind of just have to be very good. It also helps, I’m building an office, right? So I can actually have a door to shut. I really recommend that to everyone, but I realize that it’s not something that most people can fix right away. Right? Your house has as many rooms as it has, and it’s not easy to expect you to buy a new house because now you work from home, right? Or to rent a new place. But if you can at all have a door you can close while you’re working, that is brilliant.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah. I think also, there’s been a lot of times now everyone has worked from home, forced or not, and it’s very easy to build a desk and get a chair and get an ergonomic chair. They’re not too expensive. I understand that not everybody can afford one, but there’s ways around this. I think it’s a pity to see that people have not infested in that, that if you really want to work remotely, you do have to invest in your workspace and make it as good as you can, as comfortable as you can to perform the best to do your ability. I think that’s a switch that many people still will have to make, and companies actually do have sometimes spreadsheets available for it, so go for it.

Luis Magalhaes:

Oh, yeah.

Nicole Le Maire:

It’s a real pity to see that people are, “I don’t want to work any longer from my kitchen table.” I fully understand. I totally get you. But in the meanwhile-

Luis Magalhaes:

The kitchen is a really nice workspace. Actually, now that you mention it, I don’t know, maybe I have a very good kitchen, but it’s quite zen to work from the kitchen, as long as people as aren’t preparing food, right?

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah. I think also if that’s the case, but I think a lot of people are using it as an excuse nowadays, and I think it’s time to let go of the remote work excuses and say, “Okay, but actually, if you want to be a remote worker, let’s go for it.” You have to also invest in your professional life, go into the office, so see what you can do. Doesn’t have to be very expensive.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah, absolutely. Now that we’re talking about that, let’s move on to some more focused questions. I’d like to start by asking you about your remote work stack, right? What are the apps, tools, browser tabs that you use on a daily basis that make up your virtual office, so to say?

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah. I have a huge screen. This is my home office for a huge screen, one of the Logitech better cameras, although I would have likely preferred another one, but that’s a different story.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah, there’s always something better.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah. They have a lot of these types of cards that are play cards to show

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. This is an audio podcast, so I just want to tell the people listening that Nicole is holding up, I believe they’re collaboration super powers cards.

Nicole Le Maire:

Correct, yes. So I have a number of these. I use Slack. I use different project management tools, everything online, from online training to all the different kind of apps I use. I think security is probably one of the big ones as well, as well as a VPN.

Luis Magalhaes:

What do you use for security? What’s your security stack look like?

Nicole Le Maire:

There’s a number of different ones I use. I always definitely have the Norton, I use the Norton one. Then I have specifically for my browsers, I have different VPNs in different countries, because I’ve worked with so many different countries. Then I also add extra HTTBS on every browser to get more security. Then from a Chrome one, I always use DuckDuckGo.

Luis Magalhaes:

Okay. Well, that sounds interesting. What about passwords? What do you use for password management, if anything?

Nicole Le Maire:

I use either LastPass or 1Password, but usually LastPass.

Luis Magalhaes:

Oh, interesting. I used to use LastPass. I’ve switched to 1Password because of the family, the family plan. Now all my family is on it, but, yeah, those are great. Those are great options. All right. If you were to have 100 euros, let’s say, right? 100 euros to spend with each person working with you, and you couldn’t just give them the money or a gift card, right? You need to actually buy something, right? In bulk. You needed to buy the same thing for everyone, what would you buy them? Could be a tool, could be an experience, could be an app, it can really be anything. Just roughly 100 euros and the same thing for everyone.

Nicole Le Maire:

I would buy them all special chocolates from out from the island I live on.

Luis Magalhaes:

Ah, okay. Tell me about that chocolate.

Nicole Le Maire:

Handmade chocolates with different flavors. Yeah. Very special.

Luis Magalhaes:

Okay.

Nicole Le Maire:

It’s like the box is a whole experience, so that’s probably more an experience you pay for than actually the chocolates.

Luis Magalhaes:

The chocolate’s an experience.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah.

Luis Magalhaes:

Got it. Nice. All right. What about yourself? What thing have you bought in the past, let’s say, six months, one year, that’s really improved your remote work life?

Nicole Le Maire:

I think my camera, but I would say probably also some new wardrobe, I think it goes a long way.

Luis Magalhaes:

Really?

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah. I’m getting more and more involved in different type of calls, so much more with external companies. So, sometimes you do have to dress up a little bit. I would say probably… but mostly tops, right? There’s no need –

Luis Magalhaes:

I’ve always enjoyed having a nice blazer. Right? My team actually compliments me usually when I come with a blazer. But realistically, in summer and spring in Portugal, it’s hard to wear a blazer inside. So, I usually only do it for something like half of the year.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah. Yeah. But it just gives you sometimes the experience, I think. When I used to, many years ago, it was always a suit to the office. I am so glad I never have to do that again. But sometimes it’s nice to just dress up a little bit.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. I like suits, but not every day. Right?

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah, yeah.

Luis Magalhaes:

Not every day.

Nicole Le Maire:

No.

Luis Magalhaes:

That gets tiring real fast. All right. Let’s talk about books. Do you gift books? Do you enjoy giving books?

Nicole Le Maire:

I usually get them, I must admit.

Luis Magalhaes:

Okay.

Nicole Le Maire:

People use usually send them.

Luis Magalhaes:

Nice.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah.

Luis Magalhaes:

Well, tell me, what book or books have the most inspired you?

Nicole Le Maire:

I would say definitely some of the remote work ones. I think they were interesting, but not always applicable for every situation, I do have to say that. I think also at the moment, I’m really into learning more about World War II and the experiences of people and their autobiographies. That’s what I’m into at the moment. So, learning much more about their personal experiences.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. Reading about World War II is definitely a good way to make you feel better about the life you lead. Right? I find that that’s a huge reality check, right? Reading about the experiences of people that lived something like two generations ago. Right? People are still alive. Right? Many people are still alive that lived through those years, and just the thought of how different, right? We complain when our internet isn’t so good, right? And those people had a real tough time.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah. Yeah. It puts stuff into perspective, totally.

Luis Magalhaes:

Exactly. Those people had a really tough time. It makes our problems seem really minuscule by comparison, so definitely, that’s always nice to read up some of that, improves your quality of life as well. Right? Because your life is basically what you think of it.

Nicole Le Maire:

Yeah. Totally, yeah.

Luis Magalhaes:

Okay. So, final question, this one has a bit of a longer setup. Please bear with me. I don’t know how things are there in the islands. Here in Portugal, we’re okay for doing dinners again, finally, after the long drought of COVID, four people maximum dinners, that was a bit of a drag. But now we’re good with banquets, round tables, huge rooms full of vaccinated people, right? Eating merrily away, and chatting and everything. Let’s say that hypothetically it’s safe, absolutely safe and legal to do such a dinner. So, you’re organizing one and you’re inviting people from the biggest tech companies from all over the world to a dinner. There’s going to be a round table about remote work and the future of work. That’s the topic of discussion for the night. The twist is that the dinner happens in a Chinese restaurant. So, you, as the host, get to choose the message that goes inside the fortune cookie. What is the fortune cookie saying these people, once they open it?

Nicole Le Maire:

I would say invest in your people.

Luis Magalhaes:

Invest in your people.

Nicole Le Maire:

In your people.

Luis Magalhaes:

All right.

Nicole Le Maire:

That’s what would be in the fortune cookie.

Luis Magalhaes:

That’s a very wise fortune cookie. Sounds very wise.

Nicole Le Maire:

If you have to pick guys or girls, because once they get going and investing, other people follow, right? Other companies follow. I think the only way for companies to survive now is to invest millions and millions in their people.

Luis Magalhaes:

Yeah. I would definitely agree, in many, many, many things, right? Not just the obvious thing, our education, but there’s a lot to invest. As we talked before, right? Even investing in your people’s offices. Right? Is definitely a great bonus. So, yeah, that’s a good, wise fortune cookie message. Let’s talk about the people listening. If they want to reach out to you, when they want to reach out to you, continue the conversation with you, where can they find you? Where can they continue the conversation, and what are you up to and how can they learn more about that?

Nicole Le Maire:

Cool. You can always reach me on LinkedIn via Nicole Le Maire, or via my website, thepeopleengine.me. I am doing quite a lot of different things at the moment. I’m currently working on as the head of technical recruitment for Tutuka, but we’re coming together with two companies. We’ve just been acquired. So, there’s lots of going on from there. Then there’s quite a few mentoring gigs next to that, which I love. I help people where I can. So, if you have a question, just shoot over and I am always willing to help.

Luis Magalhaes:

Awesome. Well, we’ll have links to all of that in the show notes, so please check there. Yeah, Nicola, it was an absolute pleasure having you on the show.

Nicole Le Maire:

Thank you so much, Luis. It was great to be here.

Luis Magalhaes:

It was great to have you. Ladies and gentlemen, this was Nicole Le Maire, the global people advisor at thepeopleengine.me, and head of technical recruitment at Tutuka. This was your host, Luis, in this podcast that’s all about building and leading awesome remote teams, the DistantJob podcast. See you next week. So, we close another episode of the DistantJob podcast. If you enjoyed the episode, please, you can help us out by sharing it on social media. That would be great. It’s how we reach more listeners, and the more listeners we have, the more awesome guests I can get in touch and convince to participate in these conversations that are a joy to have for me, and I hope they’re a joy for you listen to as well.

Luis Magalhaes:

You can also help a lot leaving reviews on iTunes or your podcast syndication service of choice. Reviews are surprisingly helpful in helping the podcast get to more listeners. Now, another thing that you might want to do is go to distantjob.com/blog/podcast, click on your favorite episode, any episode, really, and subscribe. By subscribing, you will get a notification whenever a new episode is up and whenever we get the transcripts of the episode up, so you can actually peruse the conversations in text form. Of course, if you need to find a great employee for your team, a great remote employee, you should take the whole world into consideration and not just look to hire locally, not just look to hire in your country, look around the whole world, because that’s the talent pool that contains the best talent. To help them with that, again, distantjob.com is the perfect place to start. You will tell us who we need, and we will make sure that you get the best possible candidate 40% faster than the industry standard. With that, I bit you adieu. See you next week on the next episode of DistantJob Podcast.

 

More ways to listen:

The pandemic proved that remote work works. However, in some cases, it also proved that not everyone is suitable to work from a remote environment. Some people rather work from the office than staying at home.

During this episode, Nicole Le Maire shares how to successfully evaluate candidates and identify if they are a good fit for remote work. She also gives insights on how to build a strong remote team culture with fun activities and ideas.

Highlights:

  • Building a strong team culture remotely
  • Fun activities to do with your remote team
  • How to identify candidates that are a good fit for remote work
  • Evaluating remote candidates

 

Don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE so you won’t miss all of the other interesting episodes that we have coming up every Monday!