Hire a great team

# Hire a great team

Hiring remotely requires a new way of thinking in many ways, including your interview process. This new way of interviewing will de-risk your hiring decisions and help you identify the best people on the market (or even off the market!)

# Running a remote interview process

The biggest change is that you’re not interviewing to meet someone you can sit next to in an office for hours on end. You are vetting someone to make sure they have the expertise you need, a vision of the future that maps to the role you are hiring for, and that they are a good communicator.

# 1. Write an inspiring job post

When you write the job post, be transparent and inclusive. Remember that you are talking to a wide audience, not just candidates who have worked in Silicon Valley tech before. Get people excited about your mission, vision, team, and what exactly they will be working on.

# 2. Create a set of written questions

In each place that you post the job, include a written screen. This will quickly weed out candidates who are not a good fit because of skill set, communication style, and motivation. You’ll learn insights of people you could not have learned through a phone call (people share a lot when they have time to think!) Try to align the questions to your company values, and have an idea of the kinds of answers you are looking for.

# 3. Video call interview #1: General introduction

Set up a time to talk in real time to learn more about the person, how they communicate, get details on their past experience, and decide if they should move on in the process. Make sure to come prepared with a standardized set of questions that you will ask each candidate. This is not a "culture fit" call, it's a casual conversation based on a set of requirements.

# 4. Video call interview #2: Specialized deep dive

This interview should be with someone who would be on the candidate's team - like an engineering manager who can vet their technical ability. Ask them to talk through a past technical problem they have solved, or show them a real problem with your product and ask if they can walk you through their thinking process. The interviewer should know what soft skills and technical abilities they are looking for before the interview begins.

# 5. Technical test: Paid project

The best way to de-risk a hire is to actually work together on a real project. Define a task, pay them hourly for their time, and make it feel like a normal work week. The end result should be a pull request (or some equivalent) so that you can see their communication style, level of polish, and problem solving ability. You can continue this contract project until you have made a clear yes or no decision. Hold weekly meetings with the candidate for as long as you are working together. (Read more in the paid technical project section below).

# 6. Extend the offer!

Once you feel confident that you have found the right person for your team, set up a call. Give them the offer verbally, share how excited you are to have them join the team, and ask them if they have any concerns. Send over the offer paperwork via HelloSign or DocuSign!

# The paid technical project

Companies like Google have a well-known, long, and rigorous interview process around whiteboarding conceptual problems in a conference room together. While this is one proven way to vet technical candidates, it takes a lot of time and is largely theoretical. It was also defined for a time when people would be sitting together all in one office.

As a remote team - you need to be testing for independence, technical ability, and communication style. Using a contract-to-hire process de-risks hiring and makes yes or no decisions really clear.

Here’s how to set up your paid projects:

# 1. Define contained tasks:

Write up defined "contractor-ready" tasks. These tasks should be real problems you want to solve in your code base, that don’t require a complex understanding of the entire system. Examples would be making changes to permissions, changing the timing for system onboarding emails, or making updates to the input field error interface.

# 2. Assign a task:

After signing a legal contract with the developer, assign them to a task. This could be done with limited permissions on an actual task board, or via email or slack. Make sure they have access to any tools, code, and resources they need to get started.

# 3. Work and collaborate:

This is a test of communication and working style, just as much as it’s a test of technical ability. Work together throughout the week and try to integrate them onto the team with daily practices like daily standup, Slack or email conversations, and weekly 1:1s. This contract-to-hire process can last as long as you need to get to a "yes" or “no.”

# 4. Pay candidates for their time:

Pay the developer for hours worked, whether you end up hiring them or not. Paid work will give you a more realistic and transparent view into what kind of work they do. It’s also a great way to attract talented people!

# 5. Task completion:

Have the contractor pass off code or designs once the task is complete. This should come in the form of a pull request or something similar. You want to learn about how they collaborate and write documentation, as well as their technical ability.

# Diversity and Inclusion

You are looking to hire the best people out there, and you need to create a healthy business together. One of the most proven ways to succeed as a business is to bring in diverse perspectives and work on problems together.

Hiring remote employees is the easiest way to get outside your personal network and bring in the best people for the job

hint: they don’t all look/think like you, and don’t all live in your city!

# Write an inclusive job post

You want to attract the best people out there, so it’s tempting to use polarizing words, like "ambitious," “expert,” or “superstar.” But, these words are proven to attract a non-diverse audience, often leading women and other minorities to self-select out of your hiring process altogether.

Write about company values, mission, and what the candidate would be working on. They are vetting you for culture and management style, just as much as you are vetting them for talent.

More resources on writing inclusive job posts:

  • Your tech job posting is broken. Here’s how to fix it.: There are innumerable amounts of tech job postings. A good deal of them are gendered to favour male candidates, full of meaningless buzzwords and failing to picture what the job actually requires, let alone mentioning what you’ll get in return. We need to fix this.

  • Hiring - Project Include: True diversity means better teams, better financial returns, better companies and a better, more innovative world. Project Include is our community for accelerating meaningful, enduring diversity and inclusion in the tech industry.

  • Hire more women in tech: hiring more women & non-binary people in design, product, project management, community, and leadership positions in general creates a healthier workplace. A diverse workplace is proven to get better results, more accurately reflects your customer/client base, and ensures a wider range of experience.

  • 1000 different people, the same words: We used Textio to take a look at the most distinctive language used in the public job posts of ten prominent tech companies.* Each one showed distinct language patterns that showed up in statistically anomalous ways.

# Meet people outside your personal network

People are naturally attracted to those who are similar to them. You need to get outside your bubble of influence if you want to find a diverse team. Being a remote company makes this easier, but you still need to go out of your way to increase awareness to a broader group of potential applicants.

Get started with a few online communities:

  • Elpha: Elpha is where women in tech talk candidly online. We're a private community where members come for personal and professional development.

  • Ladies Get Paid: Career, salary negotiation and professional development for women. Closing the wage gap and fighting for equal pay one raise at a time.

  • Tech Ladies: Tech Ladies is a worldwide community of supportive women in tech. Hire more women in tech for your team. Join us today!

  • Remote Woman: Work remotely at trusted companies.

  • AfroTech: The groundbreaking, revolutionary experience for Black techies, startups, and entrepreneurs.

  • #BlackTechPipeline: Ahashtag and movement bringing awareness and exposure to the Black community in the technology industry.

  • Blacks in technology: Blacks In Technology is a global platform for black women and men in technology.

  • Find Slack communities based on a technical skill - like Go, React, or Kubernetes.

# Use a structured interview process:

One of the proven ways to run a less biased interview process is to define what you’re looking for from the beginning, and make the whole team aware.

The same written evaluation criteria should be completed after every interview. Running a structured interview narrows the focus so a person is being tested for ability and potential, not on likeability or personal similarities.

More resources on how and why to run a structured interview:

  • What is a structured interview?: This format has proved to be one of the strongest predictors of a candidate's future success, allowing companies to hire better candidates simply by changing the way they conduct their interviews.

  • Is a Structured Interview Really Necessary? Yes and Here's Why: A structured interview process follows a straightforward framework: The main parties involved in the hiring process kick off the hiring cycle with a meeting. During this working session, they determine the answer to three key questions.

  • Reducing Unconscious Hiring Bias in Recruiting: In this post, we’ll cover: how biases show up in hiring, why biases are unavoidable, and tactics and tips for curtailing their influence, so the scenario above doesn’t happen at your organization.

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