Hiring might be hard, but hiring for remote work is even harder. Recruiters need someone who is skilled in their area of expertise and able to work remotely—a duo that isn’t always easy to find.
For candidates, job postings are the only way to communicate a job description, your company’s culture, and team dynamics. Writing a great job posting for remote workers takes additional information that you might not think about for traditional office positions.
Accurately Describe Your Remote Situation
Few companies are actually open to remote work, even though many advertise otherwise. Various terms used to describe remote work further confuse people, so it’s important to choose the right one for your team’s situation. Below are three common terms and the differences between them.
A remote first company means everyone works from where they wish, usually because the founders worked this way early on and kept it up. These companies typically have strong internal enthusiasm for remote work and a culture that supports distributed teams.
Remote-first essentially means “remote-only”. There might not be any office space and people might have to get on planes to visit a coworker.
Being a remote friendly company carries inconsistent meaning and ranges from “you can work from home on Fridays” to “we have entire teams that are remote-first”.
Experienced remote workers are usually wary about this term, especially if other parts of the job description don’t clarify exactly what it means. Some remote friendly companies require everyone to be in the same city or expect people to be in an office several times per week.
A distributed company quickly describes a team with remote and/or onsite workers. As the name suggests, people might be all over the place. Sometimes this applies on a per-team basis, so the job description should clarify if just the team or entire company works remotely.
Communicate Logistical Requirements
Once the job description uses the correct term to describe remote work expectations, it’s best to focus on the logistics of distributed work.
Remote workers value the ability to control their own schedules. Many tailor their work to accommodate family needs or personal hobbies. Save time by being clear with exact requirements regarding geography or online presence. Some examples:
- We get together once a year in person at our headquarters for a yearly meeting.
- We expect you to be at your desk and online using instant messaging software during traditional EST business hours, 8 – 5.
- We only check-in with each other once a day at stand up, and you are free to do a solid day’s work at any other time.
Experienced remote workers are sensitive to these requirements, and being upfront in the job posting can save you time and future disappointment.
Explain Why A Company is Remote
Managing remote workers is in itself a manager skillset and an organizational competency.
Tell this story in the job description by explaining what made the company remote and how long it has worked that way. Were the founders of the company on two different sides of the country? Are you on your second year of this team being remote, but the rest of the company is not remote-friendly at all?
If this is too much, a simple explanation of why a company is remote can speak volumes. For example: “We value results over physical presence” or “We feel that remote workers can concentrate on hard problems, and we solve hard problems.”
Mention Your Communication and Collaboration Process
A common challenge for remote teams is staying in sync without relying on constant physical check-ins and ad-hoc discussions. Experienced remote workers know this, and adapt by writing stuff down and working asynchronously.
Candidates can get a clearer picture of a job if the posting explains what systems the company uses and how it handles coordination. There’s no need to reveal logistical secrets here, but a simple explanation can clarify communication expectations and weed out unqualified candidates.
Remote workers want stable jobs with future opportunity. These candidates tend to stay at jobs for longer simply because they have arranged their lives around a remote job and finding another one is harder.
For this reason, they are sensitive to company health. Remote workers can’t take a chance on a company that might not be around next year.
If possible, indicate in the job posting whether you have a high-functioning team and company. Experienced workers know their team matters more than the overall company—but only as long as the company stays in business.
The biggest red flag for experienced remote workers is being told that they will be in the minority of the company. Remote work is a cultural, procedural, and personal change for a company and a worker. Remote companies communicate and work differently than in-office ones.
If only some teams work distributed, be honest about this. If only this team member will not be in the office, explain that but beware that this is a huge red flag. Talk about why you might be testing this arrangement and how the company will work to avoid the “two-team” effect.
Also, don’t overemphasize how great your physical office is. Remote workers don’t care as they won’t get to enjoy it, and it might turn them off as they might fear you will ask them to move there two years from now.
Creating the perfect job posting for remote workers
Job postings for remote workers need to be updated to include additional information and answers that candidates expect upfront. Ensure that your job description properly describes the company’s work style, explains logistics of remote work, and provides a glimpse into the future of the company.
Making these changes to job postings will save you time and set expectations for the role from the start—helping you find the perfect candidate even faster.