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hiring remote workers

Hiring Remote Workers Like You Mean It with Creative Market VPE Chris Winn

Ah, remote work. The coffee shops. The sweatpants. The Netflix temptations.

More and more workers are choosing flexibility and convenience over the standard office building 9-to-5, and no amount of ping pong tables or snack walls appear to be reversing the tide. In addition to providing the talent themselves with a host of benefits (you can’t beat the commute), adding a remote wing to your staff means a wider talent pool, less office-related expenses, and greater staff loyalty and retention.

But as with all recruiting, it’s not as easy as merely signing people up. At Hired, we work with many companies who are hiring remote workers, and they’ve gotten pretty good at determining what kind of people will be successful in a remote capacity. One in particular, Creative Market, has remote talent in their very DNA. Creative Market connects the design assets of independent content creators to the business pros who need them, and to learn more about how they’ve built their remote team, we caught up with their VP of Engineering, Chris Winn.

Where to Look

No matter where your employees are getting stuff done, you’ll want them all to be as synched as possible. Communication best takes place in real time, and you’ll want to prevent the distances from slowing processes. To accomplish this, keep your search within two time zones in either direction. When it comes to collaborating instantaneously and scheduling meetings at reasonable times, it’s far easier to get everyone on the same page when it’s not the middle of the night for half the squad. Extrapolating this from the sourcing stage to the actual employee stage, Chris emphasizes scheduling meetings only in the time windows that are reasonable business hours for all attendees, rather than having east coasters sitting around for 9PM calls. Once your teams have reliable documentation and specific project needs, you can think about searching far and wide. In the mean time, keep things within spittin’ distance.

Remote-Specific Qualities

When it comes to hiring, Creative Market prefers to err on the side of seniority. Chris explained that junior professionals typically need the discipline and skill osmosis that comes from working directly alongside other effective co-workers. More senior individuals will already have this under their belts, and thus are more likely to be effective when they’re on their own.

Beyond assessing for the ability to actually, you know, do the job, it takes a certain kind of person to be effective and productive outside the office. These workers set their own schedules and structure their own days, and if they’re used to working in an office, that can be a tricky transition. Here’s how Chris frames it:

“You’ve gotta come with the skills. Remote is a very different mindset. It almost has a higher bar, you have to manage your own time and have structure in your life. I’ll ask if they have a quiet space, good lighting, etc. You want the same things for your remote employees that you would want for your on-site team.”

Creative Market also will offer a stipend for home office set up. In addition to providing your workforce a productive environment, this helps illustrate to remote workers you’re willing to invest in them, because they’re a valued part of the team. Which, by the way, seamless segway…

Part of the Team

Your hiring managers may be skeptical of a not-coming-in-to-work workforce, as it introduces the possibility of disconnect from the on-site team. In addition to feeling left out, team collaboration and communication can suffer. Chris prioritizes video chats and frequent team stand-ups to make sure everyone’s on the same page about their work.

Do you ever have team members traveling  meet with prospects or attend conferences? If they’re headed a place you have remote workers, consider renting some shared office space for them to work out of during the trip. On a similar note, if there’s a big project, fly them out to your HQ for a few days to work in tandem with the team.

At the evaluation stage, have candidates give examples of when and how they’ve raised their hands to get clarity on projects and responsibilities. With a traditional workforce, this is as simple as wheeling your chair around the pod, but with remote talent, they need to be more comfortable seeking out answers.

Ready to get started hiring contractors, freelancers, and remote workers? Of course you are, and your pals at Hired are here to help.