Saying that hiring people is a daunting task is an understatement; hiring people is stressful, costly, risky, and time-consuming as hell.
The Economist once referred to it as the biggest failing of businesses today, and making a bad hire costs a company a significant amount of money. The hiring process at so many organizations was so bad that Geoff Smart and Randy Street wrote a whole book that helps businesses make smarter hiring decisions.
The thing is that, in some way, it’s got even harder for companies whose team is remote — such as Nightwatch.
True, we don't have to convince someone to move to another country to come and work for us. But because there are so many companies competing for the same talent, we need to work extra hard. We want the best talent at the best possible price, but we are not in Silicon Valley, and we can’t match their salaries.
Sure, we could have just popped onto all those numerous websites, posted a quick job ad, and picked up a remote worker while hoping to scale our tool and compete with rivals, but you know what? We didn't want a pig in a poke either, and we thought that there are better, more effective ways to make a hire.
Here at Nightwatch, we rely on a fully remote team of workers to get the job done. In this article, we’ll reveal what we do to attract the top talents for our growing company — and a couple of insights we learnt along the way.
Define your company values and mission
The best talents are so good that they don’t just need to sell themselves to you — you also need to sell yourself and your company to them.
They have it pretty easy in the sense that they can choose to apply to work for who they want. The best remote workers might not always land the job they want, but with so many options available to them, they’re only going to take a chance on companies that sell a vision to them that aligns with their own vision.
And if they start a job and find the company disagreeable? They can just walk away. This kind of flexibility puts the best remote workers in a position of power, and it means that you need to work extra hard to attract them to your company.
First, we defined what your company values are, as well as what our mission is. What do we stand for? What do we encourage and tolerate, and what we don’t?
We started with creating a comprehensive Careers page that thoroughly explained our culture, values, and story.
Naturally, this message didn’t attract everyone, but it acted as a dog whistle to those whose values were in line with ours.
What we learnt: Your career landing page is an excellent place to advertise your core values and mission and explain what it would be like for someone to work for you. Everything matters: What are the advantages and benefits? What do you do differently to other companies? Why would someone want to work for you?
Defining your company's values and sharing them is very important. If an employees values are different to yours — if they casually miss deadlines while you’re a stickler for them — a new hire is doomed from the start, and you will lose time and money.
Make an extensive application form
An application form is your chance to vet potential candidates. You need to ask the right questions so that you don’t waste time on Grade C candidates when you should only be pulling Grade A candidates into the interview.
An application form is meant to separate the wheat from the chaff before the interview stage. For this reasons, you need to think carefully about what you want to learn about each candidate. Then, you can ask the questions that matter.
Take a look at the form that we used:
We prepared a pretty extensive questionnaire as the first round. The idea was to use an application form to get some sense of the person behind the form. We wanted to hire the right person — not the right form.
Results? We did get a better idea what kind of employee each of the people applying would be, far beyong their CVs and cover letters. The way the person presents themselves and talks about their motivation and difficulties in a free, casual form told us a lot.
What we learnt: One of the things to be aware of with application forms is catching out the big talkers and those who didn't seem proactive enough. If a person’s answers are clearly inflated and their claims of accomplishment seem exaggerated, take it as a red flag.
A remote worker has to be organized, autonomous, and self-motivated to get stuff done (and to make the rest of the team want to take example, obviously), so it's in your interest to make sure they will manage their responsibilities.
Promote the jobs at the right places
The secret of promoting jobs is in joining and targeting the right Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
We have had some of our best results hiring people by posting the ads in Facebook groups. Also, LinkedIn recently added a feature that allows you to include a video on your profile. Making a short video doesn’t need to cost much at all, and it can help to grab the attention of the best talent while showcasing what your company is all about.
We considered advertising job on Upwork, Freelancer, and other sites related to the niche for which we were looking for the person.
In fact, we spent over $300 posting our job ad on the allegedly relevant websites. But the sad reality is that those sites don’t work for quite a few reasons — the market is too saturated, which makes it hard to stand out. We never ended up finding the right people there.
We knew about the power of Facebook groups already, and we spend some time looking for groups related to a particular niche — depending on the candidate to hire — and the groups related to remote jobs and digital nomads; we joined, and then found where the groups are that allowed job ads.
This didn't take too long, and before we knew it, we happened to be amongst some of the best remote workers on the planet — or at least, it definitely seemed so. Then, we drafted a job ad, posted it, and saw who applied.
Here's is what our job ad in one of the Facebook groups looked like:
What we learnt: Facebook groups are super useful because it’s 99% certain that your next hire has a Facebook. If they’re savvy enough, they will be in groups related to their job — and there’ll be opportunities for companies and employees to link up.
Bonus tip: Post in groups related not only to your niche but to remote jobs and digital nomadism (even if this word scares you) as well. We personally found there some candidates who aligned with our values and expectations way more than those who already worked in our professional niche of marketing and SEO, and this pretty much paid off.
We hope that the information in this article has made the thought of hiring awesome remote workers a little less daunting. It doesn’t have to be hard at all: as long as you know what your company is all about and know how to communicate your values, you can match with the right workers.
Share with your fellow marketers and HRs — and let us know your thoughts in the comments!