Get started

Hiring new members for your remote team? It’s time to create an internal scoring system that rates candidates based on collaboration, productivity and diversity. 

Conducting traditional interviews for jobs on-site and in offices, are usually performed using a number of methods. Starting with candidates submitting applications, then followed by a phone call to gauge interest and get to know the candidate.

After that, candidates are usually invited to a phone interview or an in-person interview with the organization. Potential employees are then evaluated and assessed using an internal scoring system that takes their skills and experience into account.

The thing about hiring a potential employee for a position in-house is that you’re evaluating qualifications, skills, experience, and character based on the ability to perform in-office.

For organizations with remote-first structures, the rules are a little different. The ideal candidate persona that you develop has to assess their ability to perform in a virtual environment. That means, no physical leaders and team members to collaborate and bond with, but colleagues that could be on the other side of the world.

For example, a leader has to build and generate trust with employees they’ve never met in person. If you’re hiring for a position that requires a confident self-starter with delegation and communication skills, you’ll need a leader that can make tasks clear and ensure productivity is at its peak in a remote environment.

Creating a Successful Remote Company Culture  

A company’s core and belief system is crucial to its success. When an organization positions itself as a progressive, agile and employee-centric company; they’re able to create a culture that drives success.

A survey by Deloitte shows that 94 percent of c-suite execs and 88 percent of employees believe that healthy workplace culture is crucial to its success. The same research data indicates that 83 percent of decision-makers think that highly engaged and motivated employees contribute a large portion to a company’s success.

When it comes to companies that drive remote-first structures, it’s important to remember that the conventional rules don’t apply. Culture building doesn’t occur naturally and has to be worked into the organization from the bottom up.

Evaluating Candidates for Remote Company Culture

Seeking out candidates for remote-first organizational structures, you need to be able to gauge their competency in assimilating into your culture. It all starts with understanding the value in remote work and highlighting how employees are making a difference in a virtual work environment.

Building a productive remote culture is about how you work as a company and how you solve problems as a team. Speed, efficiency, and collaboration are strong skills to look for in candidates for remote environments. This is where open communication and feedback becomes imperative when assessing a new candidate. Potential employees need to be transparent in their communication and work well in an environment where everybody is contributing, not just a virtual space where extroverts contribute.

Hiring Engineers for Remote Work Environments

For in-person interviews, it’s easy to judge a candidate based on the university they went to, gender, race, and physical appearance preferences. All of those have nothing to do with the candidate’s job performance.

When hiring remotely, the goal post has changed, you’re given data on the candidate; the skills they possess, their education, work history, and portfolio. That data only helps a fraction of the recruitment process, you still need to see if they’re a good fit for your remote team.

There are specific attributes to evaluate and look out for when hiring remote engineers. Approaching the remote team as a whole means to take diversity into account. There’s a common myth that offshore engineers aren’t as skilled or qualified as domestic engineers. The truth is that expanding your candidate pool to the global market means taking diversity into account and diversity is beneficial for your remote team.

Diversity makes engineering teams more innovative because it keeps the team out of a rut of complacency. Furthermore, diversity helps to mix things up a bit by showing that not all remote engineers agree on a single solution. This works in your favor because engineers will collaborate more and share knowledge, skills, and experience to find a solution through input from all members of the team.

A few points to take into consideration:

  • Culture, languages, and time zones aren’t always problematic: candidates in different time zones can help keep your team’s workflow productive in out of work hours for everyone else. For example, if you have engineers patching workstations on the backend that can’t be used simultaneously, the great news is that those employees are still working while everyone else is asleep.
  • Collaboration: this engineer may be the biggest extrovert when working from an office but can they work well through screen-sharing. Does the engineer have what it takes to actively seek out a solution by asking for a team member’s input and help? That’s an attribute that should be considered during a remote interview.
  • Accountability: it’s easy to hide behind a screen, especially if you’ve accidentally made an error in judgment. An important quality to assess is an engineer’s ability to hold themselves accountable if they make an error and work with you to solve the problem.
  • Leadership: working remotely requires a sense of discipline and each employee must be a self-starter to some extent. Strong leadership for remote roles is about guiding employees without coming across as confrontational.
  • Alignment with company vision: let’s face it, no one is going to care about your company as much as you do. However, remote candidates and employees must be aligned with the organization’s vision for them to believe in it. You can do this by creating a company culture that promotes happiness. Research shows that happy engineers are more productive. Furthermore, studies indicate that one of the main reasons that engineers are unhappy is tight deadlines and lack of problem-solving. Aim to hire candidates that are proficient in time-management and collaboration.

Conclusion

When hiring engineers based on your remote-first infrastructure, it’s important to take the factors that will boost your team’s productivity into account. Hiring for likability isn’t an option, you need to look beyond the surface and create an internal scorecard that rates factors like their ability to collaborate and problem-solve on their own and part of a team.

Roy Solomon is Chief Revenue Officer at Codility, and an expert in the future of work. Roy leads Codility’s customer-facing teams and advises TA and Engineering leaders from around the world on how to build their technical hiring and retention plans.

Connect on LinkedIn