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Cover image for Hiring for remote work in 2022
Kristian Ivanov
Kristian Ivanov

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Hiring for remote work in 2022

I've written twice about remote work so far, but only from the perspective of an engineer looking for work.

Last year me and old co-worker of mine decided to start something on our own. It started as something to be done on the side. However, after I cashed out from a previous start up that I was an employee of, it became a full time job, and earlier this year we started doing our first hires for the engineering department to speed up the development process. I'll try to cover what platforms we used, which were better and some notes so people could eventually skip some of the wasted time we had.

I'll break down the different options in several categories to make it easier.
Edit: Even though I didn't intend it at the start. The options are ordered from worse to best (in my humble experience of course).

Remote working platforms

This would be your average platform for posting jobs and looking for jobs. I have been a fan of We Work Remotely when I had to work for a job before, but the list of them is pretty long. Some of the ones that spring to mind are

Pros

  • High traffic and visibility, especially if you pay for a promotion
  • The post would usually be up for an entire month

Cons

  • Cost! As I've mentioned, I am a fan of we work remotely when looking for a job. From a recruiter's perspective, things are a little bit different though. Most (all that I've tried) platforms will require you to pay for your posting. This is normal, as the website needs to be profitable to exist. However, based on your funding and recruitment needs, $448 per month for a job posting and an upgrade to show it among all of the postings that have a promotional listing, which are more of them, can be pretty steep. Especially when you post on multiple platforms at the same time. It is true that an early stage start up has plenty of expenses (especially the legal ones), but 4 similar platforms would still sum up to $1500-$2000 per month.
  • No guarantee. You have no guarantee if and how many candidates will apply to your posting.
  • Most of them require a company page and details. If you are still in stealth, this can be annoying.
  • Angel List has a particular low quality of applicants, despite it's fame as a start up place.

LinkedIn

With the pandemic over the last few years, the world migrated more and more towards remote work and so did LinkedIn.

Pros

  • Visibility. More and more people are using LinkedIn to find a job, especially after they added the easy-apply option.
  • Cost! It is cheap and the billing is based on the number of days, the posting is up. The moment you cancel it, you stop being charged, unlike the platforms, which are charging per month.

Cons

  • It requires a company page. If you are still in stealth, this can be annoying. You can circumvent this by using something like Stealth Startup
  • It still requires location for the employees! This is my biggest gripe with LinkedIn, as it limits the remote working, even though it shouldn't.

Recruiters

  • They will be searching proactively for people, and should (theoretically at least) find more people faster than a simple job post. +/- Cost (this can be a con as well). Most of them won't charge you unless they find a candidate. If they do, however, their cost will be calculated based on the monthly salary of the candidate. In the case of an early stage start up, this can be beneficial, as most of the early employees prefer having more shares instead of a bigger salary, which in turn reduces the payment to the recruiter.

HackerNews

This one is a bit more complicated as it has a few different parts:

Searchers build on top of the information from those threads

You can have several different approaches with this one.

Passive - you can post on it for each monthly thread and check/wait for responses.

Proactive - you can check the listings of who is looking for a job. Then research them, see if they are matching your criterias and then reach out to them. It shows a lot more personal approach.

Friends/Old co-workers

This should be your first stop. If you have any people you've worked with before or any friends that you think would be a good fit, try and talk to them. Still, make them follow as much of the recruitment process you have set in place as possible. You can skip the first couple of stages, but always have them talk with your co-founders as well to make sure everyone is on board. Make it clear that this is a working relationship and is completely separate from your friendship in the case they are a friend.

General recruitment notes:

Try to be as accommodating as possible for the candidate in terms of time of the meeting and duration. Don't make them bend backwards by asking them to stay until 3 AM so they can meet you up after you've had morning coffee! Try to find a time that works for both you, and them.

Don't ask them why they are excited to work for your company! In my experience (sorry for being cynical) people are looking for a job based on this criteria (in order of importance):
1 - Salary
2 - Title/company structure - is it a step up, or how easy it would be to step up based on the company structure
3 - Technologies (for engineers) - is the company using something they find interesting and have or want to have an experience with.
4 - Direct managers - How easy would be for them to work with you. This brings things back to the be as accommodating as much as possible point and leaving a good impression. And old HR friend of mine had the saying that "People don't leave companies, they leave their bosses".
5 - What is the company product or what the company does. So don't expect them to focus on this one as much as you want.

Don't go overboard with the technical take at home test. People most often than not already have a job that they want to change. Try to keep it as simple as possible and within 2-3 hours.
I got into the habit of specifying only the tech stack and some basic complexity requirements and letting the candidate run wild with it. It showed much more of what they are interested in and comfortable with than otherwise and was a better source for a discussion during out next in person interview.

Don't go overboard with the cover letter (same reasoning as the technical take at home test), but do ask them to write something. Focus on a few key points and don't provide too rigid of a structure. I believe this also shows much more about them and it would be a lot more interesting read than the usual stock cover letter.
I am mentioning it for another reason - the remote work leads to a lot of written communication. Be it slack, emails, specifications, jira tickets or anything else, they should be able to read and write well. The same goes for the recruiter too, by the way!
It is worth mentioning I've started working at a company before and liked another company before that, simply because of the cover letter requirements and that I honestly had fun writing it and telling a story within it.

Be quick to reply to their emails. Nobody wants to wait for 6 months to hear back from a company. I expect the same from candidates, as well.

Don't go overboard with the recruitment process by having a million steps. The bigger the company, the more complex this tends to become, but still, do your best to keep it simple and easy moving. Also, do your best to let the applicant know what the next step is and what would be expected of them during the next meeting, to put them at ease.

Be transparent - in your requirements, expectations, when rejecting them, or when offering them the position at the end.

P.S. Everything written above is from my own limited perspective after recruiting and interviewing for a couple of start ups and now doing it for my own. So far I've had to handle 2000+ candidates for several positions. It is not a lot, so take everything I've said with a grain of salt. I would love to discuss what others have come across while searching for new colleagues in the comments below or on Twitter

Last disclaimer - The image at the top of the article is from Eric Prouzet at Unsplash

Top comments (7)

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

This was a good read and very insightful. I never took into account how the job platform can have a big significant impact on the companies who are trying to hire candidates. I have always been a job seeker so I was not aware of the financial costs of posting job ads. Otta and LinkedIn are the only ones that I have actively used from your list.

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k_ivanow profile image
Kristian Ivanov Author

Thank you for your kind words! How was your experience with Otta and LinkedIn?

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andrewbaisden profile image
Andrew Baisden

Otta is quite good for getting interviews and finding interesting companies. LinkedIn is a great place for connecting with developers and recruiters. I have even gotten some freelance writing roles through Linkedin.

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ebonydomingue13 profile image
Ebony Dominguez

I was recently looking for a remote job. it was a real challenge

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leob profile image
leob

Can you expand on that? Obviously it's going to take effort, but what specifically was challenging? In my experience it just takes time and effort - well, as anything in life does that has any value.

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ebonydomingue13 profile image
Ebony Dominguez

Of course, I agree with you. Everything requires time and effort. In my case, the working conditions that were provided to me did not suit me. In addition, many employers did not agree to remote work. Fortunately, everything is over and now I work in a good position in one company

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leob profile image
leob

I see what you mean! Yes it can be hard to get something that really suits you, and that ticks all the boxes - it requires not just time and effort, but sometimes it just requires a degree of luck, simple as that.

Companies not agreeing to remote - well I call them dinosaurs, I thought or hoped we'd be past that by now .... I consider remote the default nowadays, not allowing it is completely backwards ... well, a company with that kind of mentality or company culture, that's not a place where you want to be anyway.

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