What to Look for When Hiring Remote Employees

NOTE – Visual collaboration is at the heard of everything we do at Creately. And remote employees can benefit a great deal from our visual collaboration platform which has real-time collaboration, easy sharing features and team management features. To collaborate you need to hire them first and following tips by Matt Boyd of Sqwiggle will surely help when hiring remote employees.

Hiring is tough and extremely important. You’ve probably heard the old saying “good help is hard to find”. That definitely applies when hiring remote employees. When hiring anyone, it takes careful consideration of all the options to make sure you’re making the right decision.

As a person who’s hired remote workers, I’ve learned some great techniques to find the best employees, no matter where they’re located.

“It’s very important in a restaurant to really do the right hiring because there’s no restaurant that you have one cook and one chef and nobody else in the kitchen. Generally you have five, ten, 15 people with you. So that’s really important is to train them right, but first you have to hire the right people.” -Wolfgang Puck

Hiring remote employees

things to consider before hiring remote employees ( credit – Under 30 CEO )

When hiring anyone, regardless of location, it takes a certain level of trust that’s only developed over months of working together. Unfortunately, that’s rarely an option when you need someone quickly. This list contains a few simple tips that will help you qualify your applicants and narrow down the right person for the job.

1. Work Ethic and Past History

Work ethic is a big factor when considering applicants for your remote position. Working with someone over long distances requires major trust and a solid work ethic. This can easily be verified by paying attention to the details of their work history. If the applicant presents a work history that’s littered with instability, then they’re probably not a right fit for your remote position.

2. Ability To Communicate

Remote working requires an amazing skill to communicate ideas simply and effectively. When considering applicants for your position, it’s important to remember communication will be limited because of time zones. Take into consideration their ability to articulate ideas in a quick and effective manner. This ability goes a long way in a remote working environment.

3. Responsive When Needed

If you’re working in a business where emotions run high and things shift very quickly, it’s important to work with people who can shift with you and be there when you need them most. A solid level of responsiveness and quick action are great attributes to look for in a remote employee. In your applicant interviews, be very upfront about what you require and the level of responsiveness you need. Most applicants will be honest about their ability to perform under this kind of pressure.

4. Attention to Detail

This rule goes for any employee, but especially remote workers. Always be on the lookout for the applicant’s attention to detail. A detailed employee will make sure all the I’s are dotted and the T’s are crossed. Pay attention to typos in their writing and give them small tests with the sole purpose of determining their level of detail. The last thing you want is an employee that never achieves their maximum potential because they aren’t detail oriented.

5. Problem Solving Abilities

When working in a high pressure remote environment, hand holding is not an option. It’s important to find someone with the ability to solve difficult problems with little to no outside help. You can easily determine your applicant’s ability to solve problems by asking difficult questions and gauging their responsiveness. If they respond quickly with a detailed plan, then you’re certainly closer to finding the right person for the job.

6. Technical Qualifications

This probably goes without saying but is worth noting. It’s important to hire someone that’s very technically proficient in your particular category. You can easily determine their level of expertise by again, giving them a simple list of questions and asking them how they would solve the problem. If it’s a code based question, ask them to show how they found the solution on a sheet of paper via a video conference. This is a great way to test your applicants and understand their level of proficiency.

The Amazing Advantage to Hiring Remote Employees

As a person that’s relied heavily on remote employees in the past, I want to briefly mention the great advantage I’ve found in hiring from all over the world. When you ultimately decide to break through the barrier of your local talent pool and move toward a distributed workforce independent of physical location, you’ll understand the amazing power and strategic advantage you have over your competition. Talent is no longer limited by physical location and to me, that’s really exciting. It’s your responsibility to hire the right people for your organization that will help you become as productive as possible.


No matter where you are or what you’re working on, you can probably benefit from hiring remote employees. It takes patience, skill and a bit of luck to find and qualify the right people but when you do, the results are amazing!

Don’t give up and pay attention to the details. Hiring is an exciting opportunity to grow and improve your company’s skill-set and thrive in a remote world. Take advantage of this amazing opportunity and make sure you hire the right people. It’s a very important task so be responsible and make the right decision!

If you have any great tips on hiring remote employees, I’d love to see them in the comments!

Matt Boyd is co-founder of Sqwiggle, an app designed to make remote working a more collaborative experience. Follow him and his journey as a remote worker and distributed team builder at http://blog.sqwiggle.com or http://www.twitter.com/mattboyd

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  1. Fred Harrington

    Great stuff.. I think attention to detail and direction is one of the most important traits to look for when hiring remote workers.

  2. When i hire someone on site like odesk and freelancer i perform a thorough analysis of services previously rendered by employee and his work experience

  3. Parks Daniel

    From this post i really aware about how to hire remote employee and from that i also get quick response from clients.

  4. Hiring employees helps you to speed the work which means achieving sucess at much faster rate than before .

  5. Joey

    This is so crucial.

    I can’t even bring myself to think of how many dollars our companies have lost in the past several years because we hired people we simply “liked” as opposed to a more rational approach like you’ve outlined above!

  6. Thank you for giving us more insights into what to look for when hiring remote employees.
    Hiring is very tough because it is hard to judge who is good and who is not. When I am hiring, I always put the person to test. I always make sure I conduct 2nd interview just to be sure that I am getting that right candidate.
    You cannot always get it right; some people are good at interviews but cannot deliver
    Thanks for sharing.

  7. I also agree hiring remote employees will certainly help cost efficiency what we see in outsourcing

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