What We Learned From Making our First Remote Hire

Remote work can be difficult, and growing a remote team definitely has its challenges. We made our first remote hire a few months ago and there was a definite learning curve. We made some mistakes, but since we took a lot of time to prepare before releasing our job description and job mission we’re extremely happy with our results. What follows are the 4 biggest takeaways from our hiring process. Read on!

Have a System

The thing that saved us from the very start was how much time we spent making sure we were organized. Here’s a breakdown of what we did:

  1. First we wrote up the traditional job description and included a job mission which was specifically what we expected the person to do. We were transparent about our expectations of the position, and which qualifications were non-negotiable.

  2. We prepped documentation for our interviews. Two of us were going to interview all prospective candidates. First round phone screen, second round technical interview, and a final roundtable interview after a short take home project. In order to keep things moving along efficiently, it was crucial that we ask questions consistently in our phone screens and document answers for later review as a team.

  3. We received over 100 applicants in 24 hours. Sorting the candidates into categories helped keep us on track. I sorted them into 3 pools: does not meet qualifications, maybe, and definitely interested. That helped us prioritize candidates quickly and make sure we were efficient with our time spent in interviews.

Split the responsibilities

Combined, the two of us probably spent 30 hours of work on making one hire. Luckily, we fully trusted each other’s judgment on the candidates.  This meant we could split the work and not have the hiring process take over our working lives temporarily. If you have someone else that can help with the process, be sure to loop them in!

Stick to the plan, no matter what

It may be tempting at times to take a shortcut, but you spent all this time preparing a process: stick to it! There was one candidate that we had prior professional experience with, so we let them skip the phone screen round of interviews. You wouldn’t think this would cause any issues, but when it came time to discuss candidates, it caused a disconnect between our opinions on the candidates. When we were both able to sit down with the candidate in the final interview, these issues evaporated immediately, but we wouldn’t have had to deal with them in the first place if we had stuck to our plan and stayed on the same page from the get go.

Set aside more time than you think you need

I planned for the hiring process to take us around 20 hours split relatively evenly between the two of us. It wound up taking closer to 30, perhaps even more.  Be sure to budget extra time to let the process run its course, especially if it’s your first time making a remote hire. At the end of the day, you want to make sure you feel confident about your decision. I know we do!

Jonathan Svilar