Hiring for a remote team

According to a Gallup Poll, Telecommuting Work has climbed to 37% in the United States. As we see these statistics rise we also see companies hit growing pains as add more remote workers. Hiring a remote team is quite different than regular hiring.


Douglas McGregor pioneered the Theory X and Theory Y Managment style back in the 1960s. Basically one believes you must watch your people because they will mess up if you don’t where the other believes you can trust them to do the right thing.

Remote teams require trust from the start. So you have to bake this into your hiring process. One important piece about finding a candidate you trust is by getting the team involved. Have people on the team interview the person separately and see how they feel.

Try it out

Bringing people in for an interview is a great time to see them work. More and more companies are giving the person being interviewed some small amount of work to do. This helps get an idea of how they work and the quality they can produce in a short time.

You want to find something they can do in a short amount of time and see if you can challenge them. Some companies will have them collaborate with potential co-workers to see if they fit in well.

Aligned interests

Why do you want to work here? I realize some people will take this question and give you what you want to hear. You should be able to decipher that. We want to bring someone in who is going to be part of the team and row in the right direction.

If you are going to invest in someone you want them to stick around. Bringing in high achievers can make this a challenge that we are willing to take.  People like this will usually bring good ideas and a strong work ethic to the table.


Do you have any experience working with a remote team? This is not required but should be encouraged. Remote work can have different challenges than working in an office. People need to have the discipline it takes to get their work done. If they don’t they will find their way out.

Steve worked for a company that was closing their office in a major city and switching to remote work. He thought he could handle it and keep himself productive. Steve was usually consistent with completing his work on time. Once the company made the switch he began to miss a few deadlines. His project manager confronted him about this. They came to the conclusion remote work wasn’t for Steve. It is not for everyone and we need to be okay with that.

Slow hiring

There is a job website that advertised a lot that talks about how fast you can find great candidates and hire them fast. I know if you haven’t done hiring that may sound good but, it is completely backward. I will speak from my experience hiring people when we made quick decisions they usually end up being the wrong choice.

One simple way to slow down the hiring process is to have multiple interviews instead of the one. Some companies and organizations like the big interview. This is where you have five or six people talking to one person. What happens here though is one person dominates the interview and generally prejudices the other interviewers. Setting up separate one on one interviews with people from different levels adds touch points and new perspectives.

Fast letting go

There is nothing as difficult when you lead a team as letting someone go. If we made a mistake in hiring someone it is important to own it and move this person out.

One critical note on this is we must be sure the employee has been given proper guidance. Dave Ramsey once related in his Entreleadership podcast about how a leader on his team wanted to let someone go. After they reviewed the leader’s guidance they had to change the leadership style and communication. It turned out the leader was not making it clear what expectations were.

So once you have everything ready from a Human Resources angle it is time for a frank conversation. Talk to the person and get right to the point. If you try to make small talk first you will fumble the message. Make like you are ripping off a bandage so it is quick and doesn’t draw out.

The person will be better off as they move on into another engagement and your team will benefit as well. I have seen a team really come together once you get rid of the wrong people.

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