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Remote Hiring 101

I could use some insight from someone familiar with corporate recruiting practices. I’m a recent college graduate with a degree in marketing, and I’m busy applying for relevant full-time jobs.

At first, I was only applying to open positions back home and around campus, but I’m beginning to think I should expand that range. My old roommate agreed. She said she may accept an offer with an all-remote company. In other words, they don’t even have a physical office location. All the employees work from home, and are based around the globe.

I love that idea, but I’m also concerned about the hiring process. I have no experience with remote working or hiring. Because of that, I’m pretty nervous about pitching myself.

Any insight into how they’re similar or different would be much appreciated.

Remote employees who telecommute have taken the workforce by storm. According to a 2015 survey published by experts at Gallup, 37% of the US labor force works remotely. The report also demonstrated how fast the trend has built momentum. In 1995, only 9% of the US labor force admitted to working remotely. That means that, in the span of about two decades, remote working more than quadrupled. That’s good news for anyone aspiring to become a remote worker–yourself included.

There are countless reasons for the changes we’re seeing in American labor dynamics. One important influential factor is the fact that most of the myths surrounding remote workers have been disproven. For instance, Suzanne Zuppello published a piece on Trello’s blog, which debunks the ten most common misconceptions of remote work. That’s a great place to begin some background research. She opens by citing a Harvard Business Review study that argues for businesses to permit remote work, because it’s been proven to increase productivity, rather than decrease it.

Since you don’t have any experience as a remote worker, it would be prudent to reflect with care on each myth described by Suzanne. Things like data security, responsiveness, and diminished company culture remain very important to businesses. It won’t be possible to become a successful remote worker without negotiating such matters. Lucky for you, there’s already much written on the subject. Maren Kate Donovan at Fast Company put together a list of seven tips to help you work remotely. You should take her insights seriously, because she happens to be the CEO of Zirtual, which is also an all-remote company, like the one your roommate plans to join.

Keep these things in mind as you explore possible employment opportunities. Melanie Pinola at Zapier (yet another 100% remote team) wrote a comprehensive article explaining how to find and get hired for a remote job. According to her, you’ll have to invest time and effort to understand what employers are looking for. Aside from that, she reinforces the centrality of four qualities: (1) tech-savvy, (2) effective communication, (3) trustworthiness, and (4) time management. You should have a firm grasp on all four if you plan to thrive as a remote worker.

The last suggestion is to review what has already been written about interviewing tips. You can rest assured that, without a physical space to use for hosting, employers hiring remote workers often rely on video conferencing tools. That means you’ll have to get comfortable with an all-virtual process and being on a live webcam. One of the best interviewing guides was composed by editors at The Muse. They’ve itemized thirty informative tips, and even went as far as to categorize them for you. And last, don’t underestimate the value of tapping into a professional career advisor. You’d be surprised just how much you can learn from an industry player.

“Hiring the right people takes time, the right questions, and a healthy dose of curiosity.” – Richard Branson

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Remote Hiring 101