Quick tips for hiring remotely

Mar 20, 2020 · 4 min read · 1,456 views

You are most likely already experienced with hiring so think of this more as a quick FYI focusing on hiring remotely…

What issues do you face when you hire remotely?

  • You have more people applying
  • Your team is multiple locations
  • You interview people with different cultural background

Let’s go…

How to handle inbound:

If you do your job well you will have a lot more inbound for remote roles. This is good because you have more people to choose from, this can also be bad because it might overwhelm you.

  • Have dedicated people for sourcing and screening
  • Explain the role really well so that people know when to apply and not to apply
  • Have a questionaire as part of your onboarding
    • Zapier is doing this imho best - Example

Cultural differences

Be aware of cultural differences.

People from different regions are used to present themselves differently.

The engineer from California might be chirpy and super excited while talking tech like a pro.

The engineer from Eastern Europe might be reserved, almost annoyed and not giving advice unless you ask for it.

Some of this might be personal style, some cultural differences.

Under-index on interviews. In many cases they are just a “how good can this person talk shop” and you will just prefer native speakers from tech hubs if you do this.

Get them to do real work asap.

How to evaluate

I focus here on engineering, because it’s my background, but you can adapt this to other parts of the company.

  • Do normal screening calls and a hiring manager call for general fit and process
  • Have a take-home challenge
  • Do a pair-programming session

Your Take-Home Challenge

  • No brainteasers
  • Do a simple version of your application (or the feature this team works on)
  • Ideally the application features real world problems that are not part of the challenge to see how they treat those
  • (eg technical debt, broken tests, spelling mistakes, etc)
  • Ask for a small simple change that shows basic understanding of tech and product

If your take-home is more complex and timeconsuming consider paying a fixed fee for this.

Your pair-programming session

  • With the hiring manager
  • One hour via video screen-sharing
  • Give the candidate now a bit more challenging task
  • And work together on it
  • They can ask questions
  • Keep in mind that they are nervous os help them
  • But avoid helping too much as you might accidently confuse them

A good pair programming task could be solved in a way that’s too long for the session or in a shorter approach

Picking a “good enough for now” solution is part of the evaluation

The same is true for testing - are they adding high impact tests or get lost in details already?


Consider having and ATS solution – eg Lever – to streamline your process.

If you want to have your interviewers become better over time and want to make sure you are aware of internal biases/problems/etc in your hiring funnel consider getting a tool like Metaview.


Whenever possible i recommend contract-to-hire for remote teams.

Get them on for 1-2 weeks on a specific project. This will tell you more about them than any whiteboarding tests you will ever do.

I know teams that rely mainly on team-fit interviews, one take-home and then a contract-to-hire period.

How much should the freelance rate be?

  • The contract rate should not be their normal freelance rate.
  • Their freelance rate is considering no-work time. The goal of this is a fulltime job.
  • Agree on a yearly salary - divide down to the weeks - add a little multiplier to keep things fair if you disagree to continue (eg 1.3)

Hope this helps

Let me know if you have improvement ideas for this