How to hire remotely

Written by Staszek Kolarzowski

Staszek Kolarzowski’s photo

How to hire remotely

Hiring remote employees is a fast and easy process, but there are a few things you should know.

Today’s most successful products aren’t just built at desks between 9 and 5, by colleagues who live in the same city. They’re built by people from all around the world out of coffee shops, parks and other inspiring places.

⭐️ If you’ve read my previous article, you already know why hiring remote employees is the way go to. Here’s how to do that.

Define key attributes.

Before you get started, you should define what characteristics are important to you and your business. There are 3 key attributes which we put at the top of the list when looking for a remote worker to join Pilot.

Look for outstanding skill.

Are they doing things that others aren’t? Have they worked with any standout companies? Have they created an open source project that’s being used by people across the world? Can you find their name in articles by leading media outlets?

Look for self-starters.

People that work remotely should show signs of motivating themselves and others, of carving their own path. Look for any leadership roles they’ve been placed in, or a proven track record of work on bigger projects—these usually involve strict deadlines.

Also, take note of their career trajectory: have they consistently improved their skill set or level or seniority? The most self-sufficient people have clear ambition to better their craft.

Look for people who need little guidance.

People who pick things up easily, who ask the right questions, who call on their own best practice.

This is typically the result of years of experience, but don’t discredit younger talent — defining new processes, meeting clients, blogging regularly and speaking publicly are all signs of someone who knows what they’re doing.

Pick a reliable selection method.

There are many ways to find and hire remote employees. Some are more effective than others, but each has its benefits depending on how far along your business is.

Employee referrals come first.

This is always our first step at Pilot. Put simply, extraordinary designers and engineers know other extraordinary people. If you already work with top tier talent, ask for recommendations.

Trust your immediate network.

Leaders always remember great workers, and luckily the entrepreneurial world is built on knowledge sharing. Rely on your network for advice and references.

Advertise—but in the relevant places.

Reach the right people by targeting communities that are specific to the role you’re hiring for. For engineers, try StackOverflow and GitHub. For designers, there’s Dribbble and Designer News.

Pick the right marketplace.

You can find the best people in the industry through specialist platforms which carefully vet everyone they work with, so the hard work of finding great people is already taken care of. Pilot is there to help. 😇

Create a thorough screening process.

This is your chance to fill in the gaps on a application, to quiz the person on a methodology they used for a previous project, or to ask why your company is the next logical step in their career.

Have them talk to other team members.

There’s a big chance that the person you’re hiring will know more about the role than you—it’s a mistake to go through the hiring process solo. Ask one of your expert designers or engineers to hop on a call with them. Afterwards, sit together and analyse the person’s information — it’s important that the majority agrees she’ll add value to your business.

Be creative with your challenges.

Delivering a challenge is a good way of seeing how an applicant will react, in a short space of time, to a new brief. At Pilot, we want to see how the person will cope with different time zones, with projects that are only half completed, with collaborating with over 10 different people in the space of a day. In short, the challenges that we, as a company, face every day.

Don’t ignore culture.

You should make sure new employees’ impact on your business and existing team members will be positive. Do some online research and find out what their hobbies are, the types of things they publicly comment on, the kinds of influencers and movements they follow.

Talk about yourself.

Your screening process should allocate time to explain who you are, your future intentions, the working culture you’ve created, and the expectations of the person filling the role. If everything resonates, it’s time to move to the next step. If there’s any doubt, it might not work out.


With time, you’ll find this approach to hiring easier and faster than taking up in-house employees. I hope it will help you build a better team—and ultimately a better product.