Introduction to hiring remote employees

An overview of steps to take when the decision has been made to hire remote employees and how to rapidly go from “need” to “hired”.

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4 minute read


🌐Talent: Your pool of talent is as big as the planet, but you have to find them.

👩‍💻Diversity: Is a strength for your team to work.

🏆Culture: Respect and recognition is essential.

⚖Legal Issues: Be careful with interview questions which are strictly illegal.

🚀Recruitment: LinkedIn, headhunters and referrals.

🎯Challenges?: Transparency in management communications and policy, as well as a strong commitment to diversity.

Once you have made the decision to operate as a remote workplace, there are still many challenges ahead. Your pool of talent is as big as the planet, but you have to find them. You also have to be sure that you are sensitive to diversity based on the different cultures they come from and sustain an environment where they can be at their best.

There are many more things to consider, but you have to start somewhere. When you ask the question, “how do I develop a global workforce?” the first steps are going to be cultural and personal. It’s important to have those issues in mind before you contemplate the details of your company.

How does a diverse team work?

One concern that always comes to mind is how a team from around the world can get past barriers of language, culture, and other issues to become an effective organization. There are a few challenges, but they are worth the time and consideration because in a global workforce, diversity is strength.

A study by McKinsey & Company found that more diverse companies are 35% more likely to have above average revenue and outperform in terms of quality. This study is important because it shows, in detail, the true value of a global workforce. Having different perspectives in your company increases your ability to have a holistic view of your product and the markets it serves.

The Center for Talent Innovation found similar results in a separate study. Companies that are more innovative than their peers benefit from a more diverse global workforce and rely on different perspectives that everyone brings to the organization.

Is there a downside?

In order to build a remote team that's diverse and operating at a high level, a culture of respect and recognition is essential. Diversity is not simply a goal, but a guiding principle.

Fortunately, these issues have been carefully studied by a number of researchers, and there are many articles which are available to help guide companies who are unsure about how to proceed. Some care is required across cultural lines in any global workforce, especially given how difficult communication can be when working remotely.

Are there legal issues?

In the United States, and some other nations, there are interview questions which are strictly illegal. These come down to questions regarding the candidate's personal characteristics, such as:

  • Country of origin
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • Disability
  • Religion

There are often legal considerations in other nations which you have to be aware of. Generally speaking, there are ways of getting past these issues and focusing on what matters most as you build your global workforce.

How do I recruit a remote team?

Once you have established your need for a global workforce and understand the cultural issues, the next issue will be finding the right people. Since the entire world is your talent pool, the sheer size of it can be a challenge. It’s often best to start small and gain valuable employees through referrals from those already on your team.

A start-up in particular has no time to waste getting the product to market, and the main advantage of referrals is the speed at which you can find them. Since these employees already know people on your team and could have been colleagues in the past, a team dynamic is often already in place.

Keep in mind that a disadvantage is that your team will be less diverse if everyone already knows everyone else. It’s always possible to start with referrals for your core leadership and recruit from there.

What other resources are available?

You can always start with listings on global career websites such as LinkedIn. If you are building a remote team, it’s critical that you place that in the job description so you attract the right talent. They also need to know that regardless of location, the position is open to them.

There are great advantages to using headhunters to find talent, better known as staffing firms. They are also known as Professional Employment Organizations (PEO). They can help you navigate the different laws which govern hiring in other nations to assemble a truly global workforce. They are often very expensive, however, taking as much as 50% of the total cost for each employee.

You can hire an employee who has been brought on board through a contract, but there is often a penalty written into the contract for this. It’s important to be careful.

The bottom line

In the end, a diverse global workforce is worth the effort. If you are capable of operating in a remote workforce, going global or at least very far-flung increases the pool of talent and the diversity of their perspectives. Your company should be stronger.

Be aware that challenges will arise. Consider them outright and transparently through management communications and policy, as well as strong commitments to diversity.

When it comes to developing a global workforce, it may seem daunting at first but the benefits are very real and worth the time that it takes. A much wider talent pool and different perspectives will make your company stronger, more responsive, innovative and flexible.