Best practices for remote recruiters and remote workers

Tips for recruiters and workers on remote jobs – Rodolphe Dutel

Written by on May 21, 2018

The crowded cities and long commutes are all screaming for remote jobs.

For employers, it’s also true that ‘the best’ person for the job doesn’t always live within a 30-kilometer radius. Then, there are workspace constraints, companies that want to give their employees a quality life by allowing them the comfort of their homes, and firms that want to hire the best talent there is, to simply stay ahead in the business game. 

The remote workers in the US are expected to account for three-quarters of the workforce by 2020, according to a survey by Zinc.

In this conversation,  Rodolphe talks about the best practices in recruiting for remote jobs and working on remote jobs. Rodolphe shares insights from building and working with the Remotive.io community, and his years of remote working.

Rodolphe Dutel is the founder of remotive.io. He was formerly the director of operations at Buffer. Also a traveler, blogger, speaker, and teacher!

Rodolphe, can you give us top 3 things to keep an eye out for while hiring remote workers?

Well, for remote workers, the first thing I’ll be looking at is their portfolio. I’ll want to know what it is that they have been doing before. More specifically, the sorts of work they were in and the kind of projects they have been carrying on before. It is not critical for them to have experience of having worked remotely but I want to see their portfolio and what they’ve been up to. If the candidate is an engineer, then I want to see the Github. If the candidate is a designer, I want to see Dribbble or Behance. If they work in marketing or customer support, I’d like to see some blogs or small snippets of how they handle various situations. So, I may be asking them questions to see how they will handle certain situations.

I would usually send a bunch of questions out to a candidate when I find them interesting or if they have an interesting profile. We’ll have it back and forth in writing before we do anything else.

Paying close attention to how someone manages their online presence also helps. As in, when it comes down to the culture at a company, you want someone who shares the spirit of what you do. If someone has a Twitter account or blog, or a podcast, I try to keep a close eye on how they communicate or show their work to the outside world.

The third thing I will look for is references. When I hire a remote worker, I always cross check references. Anyone who applies for a remote job should have relevant references. I am not talking about a neighbor or a cousin; I am talking about someone who hired the candidate, a freelance client or a previous boss who hired you to solve a similar problem like the one you are being hired to solve right now. I’ll look at that with intent.

So, Rodolphe tell us a little about what Remotive does now.

As a company, we help people in our community find remote jobs. Remotive is a newsletter, it is a private Slack community; we have a job board and we have online courses. So we are media/education/community to help people land remote jobs at remote startups. The one thing we help people to find jobs with is a list of 600+ startups hiring remotely that we have been publishing early this year. It’s a live spreadsheet we’ve been updating for two years now. It has received tens of thousands of hits so far.

What’s the one thing you would recommend every business to include in their hiring strategy?

I would recommend reading a book called ‘WHO’. It tells you all about hiring for a specific skill set and specific mission instead of hiring someone you get along with. We all have this inclination to hire a friend or someone whose character is comfortable, and that is not sufficient when you try to carry on the business mission, you have to hire someone for a particular mission. When it comes to inclusion, diversity, having the relevant skill set, you want to make sure you hire a person who is the best person for the job. So I recommend reading the book WHO, it’s very, very helpful.

I would also recommend people to hire within relevant communities when they can. What I mean is you need to have a very clear idea of who you want to hire and then you need to be proactive. The best people to hire often time have a project going on or already working for themselves or already working for someone else. The common thing you will find with quality applicants is often when you approach them they already have something going on. So, understanding where your potential candidates are hanging out –  community, conferences, or events where they specifically hangout will help you hire as a remote startup.

As a remote worker yourself, what would you recommend a remote worker do to make their presence felt, even if they’re not actually in the room?

Sharing a bit more about your personality and what you stand for is immensely helpful. I am not talking about a portfolio. I am talking about sharing thoughts and doing small talk before hopping into business conversations. As a remote worker you have to be filling in for what’s lacking in virtual communication which is you have got to create empathy, you have got to create rapport and that goes through small talk sometimes. You have to be making your presence felt by not only being the person who does the job but the person that has a hobby or presence outside work.

The difference between freelancing and remote working is that a freelancer will only be doing the job they are supposed to be doing for a project. While a remote worker is similar to someone who should be sitting in an office and be working with the company for years. If you want to be that person, if you want to build a rapport with the company and be there for several years, you have got to go the extra mile which might be joining the book club or starting one at your company, or maybe socialising with your colleagues by flying over to HQ or asking your manager if that’s an option sometimes. You have to be more proactive about making your presence felt.

What are some of the apps/tools that keep you going?

I use a lot of things in my day to day work. I use Evernote for note taking; Pocket (getpocket.com) for snippet and bookmarks, Buffer for social media management, Franz, Slack communication, Todoist for making notes and making sure my checklist goes on. I have noise canceling headphones that are lifesavers to me. – BOSE qc35, I have the 25 as well. I have a Roost laptop stand to save my back. This way, I don’t hunch back and it saves me some precious physio time.

What are your favorite places from travel?

New York. Sydney, Australia. Singapore. Paris, France is the coolest place to live, I might be a little biased in saying this because I am from Paris. I like mixing and matching. I would like to take three to four weeks at a time and go work somewhere out to mix it up, to be in another location and to catch up with my friends. 

I don’t really travel for exotic beaches and crazy scenery. I am more of an urban traveler and that’s more my thing. I like to have my things nice and close. I am a routine person. I am very happy to be settled, to have a good time because working remotely can be quite demanding. 

Thanks, Rodolphe. We wish you and Remotive all success. You can find Rodolphe on Twitter over here 🙂

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