How to Attract Remote Employees

Supporting remote work opens up your talent pool, but that doesn't mean attracting remote employees is easy. Here are our tips and best practices.

Abi Tyas Tunggal

18 Sep 2021 • 13 min read

How to Attract Remote Employees

In this article

Despite the enormous size of the remote talent pool, attracting remote candidates is often harder than first anticipated. Particularly if you aren't known for having a remote work culture.

You can't rely on your local presence and competition has never been fiercer.

The COVID pandemic has shown us how well employees can work remotely as well as the advantages that remote companies have over their in-office counterparts. This had led to many companies scrambling to fill newly remote opportunities.

To attract remote employees, you need to take advantage of every channel you can. Just as you would market your products and services and keep track of where good leads come from, you need to market your company and keep track of where good remote candidates come from.

Candidates want to know that your team is set up to effectively support remote employees so it's important to make this information as easy as possible for them to find.

In this article, you'll learn about the benefits of hiring remote employees and the best practices your company needs follow to attract them to your remote job ads.

Build a strong remote employer brand online

Himalayas website screenshot
Create free company profiles to show off your brand on sites like Himalayas

Finding and attracting new employees who live locally is often easier than finding their remote equivalent. Local candidates have probably heard about your company, know one of your employees or have been to your offices during the interview process.

If you're hiring remotely, you can't rely on any of these things. You need to build a strong digital presence so potential new employees can discover and learn about your company.

Make sure your online presence shows you're trustworthy, clearly articulates your company culture, and helps candidates assess whether or not they'd be a good fit. To achieve this, you'll want to create an attractive and informative careers page that:

  • Describes your way of working: Some remote companies are totally asynchronous and hiring employees all around the world while others require remote employees to live in specific countries or work in common time zones. Explain how your organization works and the level of flexibility you offer. If possible, give candidates a glimpse into the typical day of a remote employee. Learn more about asynchronous and synchronous communication here.
  • Includes remote employee testimonials: Remote employees want to know what other remote employees think about working at your company. Give them the chance to tell their story on your careers page. These stories serve as proof that your company understands and cares about remote working. Engaged remote employees are your best marketing channel. Learn how to keep remote employees engaged.
  • Showcases in-person and remote activities: If you host annual company off-sites that allow remote team members to get together let people know. This can be a huge benefit as it helps remote colleagues get to know each other. Likewise, if you use a tool like QuizBreaker for virtual team building that's another great thing to highlight. Remote collaboration comes far easier when people have built strong social bonds in person.
  • Outlines what values drive your company culture: People want to work at companies that align to their values. Be open about what you're looking for and what the values that drive your team are.
  • Provides information on your tech stack: As remote employees aren't sitting next to each other, it's often easier for people to work at companies that use a tech stack they're used to. This is a great way to attract remote tech workers. We highly recommend making this information accessible to potential candidates before they apply. We also recommend thinking about this beyond just your engineering team, your marketing, sales, and customer support teams also use tools! If you do this, you might just find an ideal candidate who has deep experience in the tools that are relevant to your business.
  • Highlight the skills that are most important to you: Every company values the different remote work skills at varying levels and every remote job seeker has their strong points. Make it easy to find employee-company fit by outlining what your ideal employee would look like.

You can create a free remote company profile on Himalayas by signing up here. Once you've signed up, you'll be able to tell your company's story to the world and shine a spotlight on your culture, tech stack, and the countries that your team works from. Creating and completing your company profile will leave a lasting impression and get candidates excited to work with you, even before you've met. If you're looking for inspiration, you can browse thousands of remote company profiles here.

Write remote specific job posts

Before you start sourcing candidates, clearly define the position. Don't just throw up a generic job description and call it a day. You need to put in the work to help the candidate decide whether they want to work at your company. You don't have a local reputation to lean on, so it's up to you to sell your company as much as the role itself.

The best way to clearly define a remote position is to take the time to understand the work the person will be responsible for. You can do this in one of two ways:

  1. Do the work yourself before hiring: When Basecamp hires for a new role in the company, they get their existing team members to do the work first. The benefit of doing this is two-fold. One, you know what work you want the person to be doing. Two, you know what skills and attributes you want to assess candidates against.
  2. Gather information about the role and its related activities: If you're expanding an existing function in the company, ask the people doing the job about what they do. You'll want to understand their day-to-day activities, how the role interacts with other teams, and any key qualitative or quantitative goals they need to meet.
Jason Fried quote

If you're looking for inspiration, check out the remote jobs on Himalayas.

By doing this, you'll have all the information you need to write an accurate and compelling job description that defines how the new role relates to the company and its goals.

Your goal is to write a detailed listing for any open positions that explains the what the role is, how it fits into the company, and what your company does. This level of detail may turn way some candidates, but this is exactly what you want. Instead, the applicants for your remote roles will be much more invested in your company and its culture.

Consider advertising your remote jobs on job boards and social networks that are dedicated to remote work. Here are some good options:

Himalayas website screenshot

Himalayas: Himalayas is the best place to find remote talent. Our free remote company profiles let you tell your company's story and shine a spotlight on your culture, tech stack, and more. You can create a free remote company profile on Himalayas by signing up here.

Flexjobs website screenshot

FlexJobs: A popular job site to find remote, work from home, and flexible job opportunities.

We Work Remotely website screenshot

We Work Remotely: One of the largest remote work job boards with over 3 million visitors a month.

Remote OK website screenshot

Remote OK: Another popular remote job board that has a range of prices for job posts.

Working Nomads website screenshot

Working Nomads: A smaller remote job board run by two digital digital nomads.

If you are looking for more options, see our guide on the best remote job boards.

You can also find success posting on larger job boards like Indeed or LinkedIn as long as you make it clear the role is remote. Likewise, if you want to recruit candidates in a specific country, it can be a good idea to advertise job openings on local job boards. However, you'll find the most success on remote-focused job boards.

Design an attractive and fair compensation policy

Woman in interview

Remote employees, much like their in-office counterparts, want to be compensated well and fairly. Don't believe the myth that you can underpay them. When you're hiring remote workers, you're not only competing against local companies but also remote companies all over the world.

This means you need to put effort into designing a compelling and competitive compensation package. If you can't compete on salary, think about offering additional benefits like stock option plans or profit-sharing.

You also need to make sure that compensation is fair between remote employees and their in-office counterparts. You should also do your best to make the compensation of remote employees doing the same job fair.

This doesn't necessarily mean paying everyone the same regardless of location. Nor should it mean that two employees doing the same job should have vastly different salaries based solely on where they live. It's a balance.

The most important thing is to be transparent with potential candidates so they know what to expect. For example, Buffer has a public-facing page that explains how they calculate employees' salaries, how they increase over time, and how they differ based on location. This means potential employees can plug in their role and cost of living and see what they would get paid.

Showcase your remote work benefits

Family crossing the road
Remote workers often value family-focused benefit more highly

Beyond the usual financial incentivise like a competitive salary, what else do you provide to your remote employees? It's much easier to impress a potential candidate with nice office and in-office perks than it is to impress remote workers.

Remote workers get none of the benefits on-site workers enjoy, so think about developing remote-specific perks like money to spend on a home office or a learning and development budget. Whatever you choose, ensure that remote team members have equal benefits and opportunities to their in-office equivalents. Here are some examples:

  • Professional development: Remote workers, like most employees, want to grow professionally so remember to include them when designing career paths and training programs. You should also help them level up and take on more challenging projects over time.
  • Learning and development budget: You could also provide remote employees with a budget to buy tickets to conferences, enrol in online courses, or to buy books.
  • Home office budget: A new (and regularly refreshed) laptop for work and a budget to set up or improve their home workspace can go a long way when attracting remote employees.
  • Autonomy at work: One of the main reasons people are attracted to remote work is the increased autonomy it can provide. Do your best to make this a reality if you want to attract talented remote employees.
  • Work from anywhere: If your organization allows remote employees to work from where they want and when they want, this is a great perk to highlight. This means employees can live and work form where they like!
  • Company retreats: While remote work has its benefits, it can also be lonely at times. That's why many remote companies have company get-togethers so team members from around the world can get to know each other in person.
  • Paid vacation plan: Remote employees can end up working longer hours than office employees, as they don’t need to commute, so they'll  appreciate a generous vacation plan or even unlimited vacation days.
  • Paid parental leave: When the time comes to welcome a new member to the family, remote employees love companies that offer generous and fully paid parental leave.
  • Health and life insurance: Employees who choose remote jobs often do so to be closer to their families. Offering health and life insurance plans for your employees and their loved ones is a great way to attract and retain talented employees.
  • Employee wellness programs: Remote employee wellness programs are designed to bolster general employee health or target specific wellness goals like weight loss, stress management, nutrition, etc.
  • Memberships to coworking spaces or coffee budget: Not every remote employee wants to work from home. For example, they might want to work in a shared office space or a local cafe. Either way, it's a great benefit if you offer to pay for some or all of the expenses related to working out of home.

Use your existing network

Group of people in meeting
Your existing network is a great resource for talent

One of the best ways to attract candidates to a new job opening is to reach out to people you've worked with in the past. Chances are if you're thinking about reaching out you enjoyed working with them in the past and want to work with them again. Also reach out to customers, partners, investors, family members, friends, and anyone else you think could be helpful.

People don't often actively look for jobs but will often take a meeting if you reach out to them.

Attend and sponsor local meetups

Meetup website screenshot

This might seem counterintuitive but a great way to fill a remote role is to find someone locally and meetups are a great place to do that. Use Eventbrite or Meetup to find local meetups that are relevant to the role and attend. If you have the budget, consider sponsoring them. It's a great way to build a local presence.

Ask your users

Two people in meeting

If you have users make sure that you are telling them about any remote job opportunities you have. Former users are some of the best employees. They already know and are passionate about your product, understand your company culture, and best of all, often know about little UX papercuts that aren't reported but are important to fix.

Use content marketing

Zapier's blog screenshot

Content marketing isn't only good for marketing, it's great for attracting remote employees. Zapier has found almost every candidate that they interview mentions their blog as one of the reasons that they want to work at Zapier. In fact, 1 in 10 of their employees said they applied to Zapier because of what they read.

You should also think about writing blog posts on your remote culture and interviewing your remote employees.

Ask for employee referrals

Zoom meeting

Your existing employees have their own networks that you can leverage. Ask them about the best people they've worked with for any roles you have open. You can even ask them to passively spread the word through their own social media channels. At the end of the day, your employees will be working with new team members, so it's a net benefit to get them involved in the process.

Reach out to previous employees who left on good terms

Man reading message

Consider reaching out to employees who left your company on good terms, particularly if they left because they wanted to move somewhere else. These are people you know are good workers and they're familiar with your company's culture and values.

Don't forget about social media

This might be obvious but share your open roles on social media. Leverage Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and any other channels you have to let people know you're open to hiring remotely. The more you do this, the more likely you'll find the right person.

The benefits of hiring remote employees

If you're on the fence about hiring employees, you should know about the benefits remote work provides to employers. Hiring remote employees benefits your organization by giving you access to talented employees who don't live within commuting distance of your offices.

Good talent is everywhere and there's a good chance that the best person for the job isn't going to live in the same city or country as your office. Yes, it's possible to get employees to relocate but this is time consuming and expensive for you and the employee. Not to mention that many job seekers now prefer remote teams over in-office roles.

And why wouldn't they? The prospect of relocating away from your community and suffering through a long commute isn't appealing when you can work from home.

If you don't support remote work, you're missing out on the following benefits:

  1. Increased employee productivity: The myth that remote workers are lazy is just that a myth. Employees who skip the long commute and open office plans are able to focus on their work and productivity increases.
  2. Lower costs: Global Workplace Analytics have said that employers who allow employees to work-from-home part-time save around $11,000 per year per employee. Think lower real estate costs and no transit subsidies, in-office perks, and everything else that comes with having a physical office space.
  3. Easier recruitment and access to larger talent pool: By supporting remote work, you quite literally have the world's best talent at your fingertips. In other words, you can hire the best person for the job, regardless of geography.
  4. Increased employee satisfaction and better employee retention: Employee retention is one of the hardest problems to solve for all businesses. It's common knowledge that the longer an employee stays at a company, the more valuable they become. By allowing team members to work remotely, you give them more work life balance which leads to increased employee satisfaction.
  5. Better disaster preparedness: A remote workforce means that your business can continue to run even if there is a natural disaster, local or national emergency, or say a global pandemic...
  6. Better networked employees: Many professional development and networking opportunities are hard to juggle alongside a traditional 9-to-5 job. The flexibility that remote work provides makes it easier fo employees to fit things into their schedule.
  7. Lower carbon footprint: Less employees commuting means less greenhouse gas emissions. By supporting remote work, you are demonstrating that you care about the environment to potential employees and customers.

Remote work isn't all smooth sailing. There are also a number of remote work challenges you should be aware of.

Hire your next remote employees with Himalayas

Himalayas website screenshot

Whether you already support flexible work arrangements at your company, or are just starting to think about how you can begin to support remote work, if you've read this far there's a good chance that you're looking to hire remote employees and we'd love to help. Be sure to check out our post on remote onboarding best practices.

Himalayas is the best place to find and hire remote talent. We’re focused on providing job seekers with an experience that has great UX, focused on speed and efficiency so your job can be found by the right people fast. You can also specify time zone or visa requirements so only candidates you care about apply.

Create your free remote company profile today.

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