Finding and Recruiting Top Talent at a Distance: A Primer

In today’s competitive job market, recruiting and retaining highly skilled individuals can prove to be a daunting task, especially if your organization is based in an area where top talent is inclined to relocate in search of better opportunities. However, this should not deter you from seeking out the best candidates. Implement innovative recruitment techniques to secure the most competent individuals for your company and keep them engaged in the long run.

Employing remote workers has now become a popular practice for organizations to enlist the most skilled personnel. The evolution of remote work has made it possible for companies to tap into a vast talent pool around the world, and hiring employees from regions with a lower cost of living can lead to substantial cost savings.

While most companies recognize the importance of hiring exceptional employees, they frequently face challenges in achieving this goal. The reasons for this may vary, ranging from insufficient knowledge of effective recruitment techniques to difficulties in identifying the right candidates and providing a suboptimal recruitment experience to qualified applicants.

Whatever your motives may be, we are here to support you. For years, we have been at the forefront of remote recruitment as a premier firm, providing expert assistance to businesses in sourcing and hiring highly skilled technical talent from across the world. In this initial guide, we will showcase some of our top-notch tips that you can implement right away.

What Exactly Constitutes “Top Talent”?

To begin with, let us delve into the specifics of what defines exceptional talent.

When discussing ‘defining’, it is not merely a question of consulting standard dictionary definitions. It is crucial to take into account the attributes that distinguish a valuable employee, which may include the ability to think creatively and independently, a dedication to meeting objectives, a true passion for learning, and sound analytical skills. Unfortunately, one of the most prevalent errors that Human Resources departments commit is pursuing unsuitable candidates instead of seeking out outstanding performers.

Before devising a recruitment and selection strategy, it is essential to ensure that all Human Resources personnel are familiar with the ideal candidate profile. Develop a basic overview by asking questions that help define the preferred candidate, such as:

  • What are the attributes you seek in a “top talent” candidate?
  • What are the training and experiential qualifications that they should possess?
  • Are there any mandatory standards for these qualifications?

When hiring for a remote team, the HR department must exercise additional caution, meticulously assessing and interviewing potential candidates to determine if they possess the necessary attributes to thrive in such a position. This entails being skilled at communicating effectively with others irrespective of their location, being highly self-motivated, and having the ability to operate collaboratively with other members of a distributed team.

The Benefits of Recruiting Exceptional Performers

As an entrepreneur, it is a desire to hire candidates with a strong work ethic, a sense of purpose, and an eagerness to pursue the company’s objectives. However, not all employees have this degree of dedication and drive. Sometimes, people are so desperately in need of employment that they will accept any job, no matter how demanding, simply to earn a living.

It is crucial to contemplate the possible outcomes of recruiting an average candidate. While they may be able to perform routine tasks and responsibilities, they may not always meet the necessary benchmarks. Moreover, it is vital to reflect on the potential expenditures of training and retaining a candidate who may be unable to fulfil the demands of the position.

It is disheartening that numerous companies grapple with low retention rates, which may often be attributable to their recruitment strategies. They may constantly seek new employees to fill job vacancies, but experience difficulty locating appropriate and aligned candidates.

According to a recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the mean expenditure of recruiting a new staff member is around $7,645. Furthermore, Glassdoor projects that a typical American organization may necessitate a budget of $4,000 or more and up to 52 days just to secure a compatible candidate.

If attracting and retaining exceptional employees proves difficult, it is possible that the expenses may substantially escalate, potentially hindering progress towards accomplishing the company’s objectives.

A recent study of over 600,000 professionals from various fields has revealed an intriguing discovery – the impact of successful individuals on businesses extends beyond financial incentives and retention. The findings indicate that exceptional performers are 400% more productive than their average peers, and organizations that are capable of attracting and retaining such employees can operate with greater speed and efficiency.

The primary benefits of attracting top-notch employees are as follows:

The Fundamentals of Successful Recruitment

Before proceeding with the recruitment of remote staff, it is imperative to establish precisely what attributes are required and what expectations can be set for them. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind:

Seek Advice from a Trustworthy Source

Candidates on various job websites catering to remote employees undergo meticulous vetting before they are permitted to establish a profile. This alleviates the load on you, enabling you to rest assured that all applications adhere to the necessary benchmarks. Additionally, there are numerous methods for you to narrow down your search to your particular specifications.

It can be challenging to determine which recruitment channels are the most dependable and worthwhile to utilise. To guarantee you make the correct choice, it may be advantageous to engage a specialist recruiting agency like Works. Alternatively, you can explore client feedback and ratings online, which can provide you with a strong indication of the quality of service. At Works, we constantly monitor and authenticate data from various sources to ensure we procure the most trustworthy information.

Pinpoint Your Ideal Job Applicant.

Job descriptions are critical for every position, regardless of location. When seeking a candidate for a remote position, it is even more imperative to be specific about the desired attributes. This is the best approach to assess suitability. Ensure that a roster of competencies and qualifications that the candidate must possess is included, in addition to those that are requisite for the job.

A few examples include:

  • Must have at least three references on their profile.
  • Should have a home office established
  • Must possess the ability to collaborate effectively with others and communicate proficiently.
  • Prepared to work six hours per day

Candidates who do not believe they are appropriate for the position may opt not to submit an application. It is completely acceptable, as the quality rather than the quantity of submissions is vital.

Maximise the Time Devoted to Remote Recruitment

It is crucial to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of candidates prior to making any hiring choices. Due to the difference in time zones and the remote nature of the recruitment process, it is recommended to extend the duration of the process. This will allow you to gain a deeper insight into applicants’ personal qualities, such as their patience, dependability, and dedication. Below are some possible ways to accomplish this.

  • Administer a series of assessments on them periodically.
  • Consider conducting numerous Zoom interviews.
  • Include a paid trial period in the final stages of the hiring process.

Customise Your Survey

It is common practice to inquire how job applicants handle pressure during an interview. Consequently, I am intrigued to learn how you manage time restrictions. Each candidate has probably reflected on and prepared answers to such inquiries. Therefore, it would be advantageous to guarantee that the questions you pose are pertinent to their specific competencies, such as time management, communication, resourcefulness, and self-discipline.

Formulate a set of inquiries to determine the candidate’s responsibility, reliability, and conscientiousness in regards to their job. Elaborate on any concerns you may have with regards to the candidate’s appropriateness for the position and construct queries that will give you a better understanding of these matters.

Specially Chosen: Typical queries for interviews with remote workers

The efficacy of your search for a remote employee hinges on your capacity to sustain clear channels of communication with the prospective staff member. Efficient communication is critical in order to select the most fitting choice. It is crucial to establish a framework for the onboarding and reporting of the new hire. It is advisable to establish a timetable for them to adhere to in order to monitor their duties and productivity, and to also guarantee that routine phone or video calls are arranged for review and feedback.

Strategies for Recruiting High Achievers

Hunting for and employing remote workers necessitates an alternative approach compared to the one adopted with conventional on-site workers. By establishing a distinct remote hiring process, it becomes feasible to locate and hire individuals who can comprehend and conform to your enterprise’s principles and procedures. To assure successful recruitment of exceptional remote staff, the following commendable methods should be put into practice:

Determine your needs and preferences autonomously.

Deliberate on the attributes that you would prefer in a candidate, then record them in a pragmatic fashion. Creating a comprehensive inventory of the credentials and traits that would constitute an appealing applicant is advantageous. However, it is crucial to avoid regarding these as strict requirements.

Identifying and handpicking individuals who exhibit a dedication to superiority is crucial for recruitment success. Businesses that excel comprehend that there is no universal method for hiring employees, and thus adapt their recruitment tactics accordingly. Establishing the vital and desirable traits is the initial step in the hiring procedure.

To help you differentiate between the two, we have provided the following series of queries:

Skills and traits that are essentialPossessing the aforementioned desirable traits and abilities
Is there a list of responsibilities that the applicant will take on? Specifically, what abilities will they need to carry out these responsibilities?Which qualifications are not required but would be an asset?
Do you need experience in a similar capacity to apply? In what ways have you been exposed?Is there a certain set of characteristics that you would look for in a teammate?
Just what does it mean to work for your company? In terms of your company’s ethos, what characteristics do you look for in potential hires?

Create a Job Description

Research indicates that while the majority of HR experts feel they have devised thorough job descriptions, only 36% of job seekers truly believe this to be the case. This underscores the significance of composing a job description that precisely reflects your company and the role on offer, as it is the initial impression that will be formed by potential employees.

A job description must distinctly enumerate the obligatory proficiencies and aptitudes that are necessary for the job, without placing undue emphasis on the company’s mission and values. It is crucial to incorporate all pertinent information that job seekers may find useful, such as the necessary qualifications and experience.

  • Professional Title
  • Company Mission
  • Responsibilities and Obligations
  • Requirements

Develop a Pool of Talent

Formulating a talent pipeline is the third approach for hiring the finest workers for your company. A talent pipeline refers to a pre-existing candidate pool consisting of individuals who are trained and primed to assume available positions within the company.

Candidates from within the company, as well as external prospects acquired through a variety of sources such as referrals, online job boards, recruitment agencies, social media, etc., are all feasible alternatives.

Sharing a job advertisement on a job board is a simple process, however, we have discovered that headhunting can be an extremely effective approach to locate and entice top-notch candidates. Recruitment doesn’t necessarily need to begin by actively seeking individuals who are currently job hunting. More often than not, the best aspirants are already employed – the challenge is to determine what could entice them to leave their current position and persuade them to join your organization.

According to a recent LinkedIn research, 86% of 20,000 talent professionals stated that their recruitment firms gave preference to passive candidates. This implies that the percentage is likely to rise in the future.

Headhunting, also known as passive recruitment, is now largely carried out through online social networks such as LinkedIn. Typically, this entails presenting an enticing proposition to the potential candidate; we have discovered that IT experts, apart from a competitive salary and perks, often cherish the possibility of remote work.

Below are some online resources that can help you broaden your list of potential candidates:

Employment Bulletin BoardsRemote Work WebsitesNetworks for Social MediaEmployment Agencies That Use Technology to Recruit Candidates
CareerBuilderWorksLinkedInWorks (Remote tech professionals) (Remote tech professionals)
MonsterUpworkFacebookI. Robert H. Half
Just Paid For It The Number of Individuals per Hour Twitter

Conduct Background Screening

Candidates come with more than just their CVs, which makes it unfeasible to evaluate every candidate. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is a useful tool for bigger companies to shortlist the most suitable candidates.

It is quite common for job hunters to apply for job postings without completely reading them. They generally give a quick glance to spot key information such as salary and mandatory qualifications before applying for the position. According to Dovetail’s research, among every 225 applications received for a single position, 90% of the applicants hadn’t fully read the job description, and 85% lacked the essential skills required.

The first step is to conduct a screening of candidates, rather than scrutinizing each one comprehensively or scheduling individual interviews. The most efficient technique is to employ an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). As previously mentioned, the foremost benefit is minimizing the time spent on administrative duties, and the secondary advantage is access to a larger pool of highly qualified candidates. This method ensures that HR interacts only with the most proficient candidates based on their specific skills and other requirements.

Conduct Interviews and Evaluate Outcomes

After narrowing down the list of candidates to those with the most pertinent qualifications, the next step is to carry out interviews and finalize hiring decisions. Interviewing candidates is a crucial aspect of building a suitable team. It’s not sufficient to have a candidate who can provide accurate answers to all questions; we also need to obtain a better understanding of them, assess how they react under pressure, and gain insight into their personalities.

It’s crucial to acknowledge that the type of role being recruited for will impact the format of each interview. For instance, when seeking to fill a managerial position, the questions should be focused on evaluating leadership qualities. Likewise, assessing design skills is different from appraising remote engineers. Therefore, it’s important to establish the skills and methods for assessing every position.

It’s understandable that the absence of physical proximity can create obstacles in the recruitment process. To ensure satisfactory results, it’s crucial to have the necessary resources for administering interviews and assessing remote candidates. This would comprise not only common platforms like Zoom or Google Teams but also technologies that are appropriate for evaluating relevant job-specific skills of the applicants.

Useful sources for conducting remote skill assessments:

  • HackerRank (for technical skills evaluation)
  • Codility (for technical skills assessment)
  • Assessment of Written and Spoken English Language Proficiency (The English Quiz)
  • HireSelect (for personality assessment tests)
  • OMG’s Sales Evaluation (for sales positions)
  • The Indices of Foresight (for assessing personality and workplace behavior)
  • Pymetrics (for evaluating cognitive and emotional attributes)

Ensure a Pleasant Application Process for Prospective Employees.

If you wish to hire top-notch professionals for your company, fulfilling the required qualifications won’t be sufficient. Whether they’re actively job hunting or not, it’s crucial to present an irresistible offer. Offering a positive candidate experience from the outset is just as crucial as the compensation and the growth prospects provided.

Today, how a business nurtures and extends their online existence has a significant impact on their success in attracting customers and recruiting top-notch talent. Prior to applying, potential candidates develop an understanding of your firm by reading evaluations on platforms like Glassdoor, garnering suggestions from their connections, and evaluating the complexity of the application process, among other factors.

Following the identification of prospective candidates, it’s essential to establish an efficient channel for communicating with them, addressing their queries, and providing them with a clear understanding of the application process. By maintaining a pleasant and professional demeanour throughout the interview process, we can guarantee that candidates receive excellent customer service.


After several interviews and assessments, it’s time to make the final selection. As an employer, selecting the most suitable addition to the team from among several qualified candidates presents a variety of challenges. During this phase, it’s essential to review the interview notes and make a decision.

Unconscious biases can obstruct the process of finding the best candidate for the job. When making a decision, it’s crucial to consider if any preconceived notions of the applicant should be factored in. Ask yourself, “Do I have a job-related reason for rejecting this person before making any assumptions?” It’s critical to assess each candidate objectively and impartially, without relying on any misguided preconceptions.

We highly recommend reviewing the interview notes and creating scorecards to quantify the candidate’s responses and enable evaluation of different prospects based on the ratings.


Congratulations on successfully identifying the necessary skill set. It is now essential to review your remote working regulations, communication protocols for remote work, and the onboarding process.

It’s essential to bear in mind that the equipment and documentation required for hiring top-notch talent remotely are distinct from those required for on-site recruitment. Before sending the new employee abroad, it’s imperative to gather all of the essential paperwork and resources necessary for them to perform their job successfully.

Review Your Recruitment Techniques

Neglecting to monitor the results of your recruitment and hiring initiatives is a certain way to conclude that they are ineffective. The final step is to evaluate data and metrics to gauge the success or failure of the hiring process. This will aid in the enhancement and maximisation of current resources.

Consider the following steps:

  • Fuel for the conversion fire: What percentage of candidates accept job offers? What are the frequently cited reasons for rejection?
  • If you wish to conserve both time and money, monitoring the duration of each stage of the recruitment process and the reasons behind any delays can be beneficial.
  • The ratio of applicants to available positions can assist in determining the number of individuals to invite for an interview.
  • Where can I find the best candidates to fulfill available positions?

Invest in Established Professionals

Locating and hiring exceptional talent from a distance can be challenging if you are uncertain where to look. If you find the process daunting, we can handle the paperwork, documentation, agreements, and legal components on your behalf.

At Works, we take pride in providing recruitment solutions that are 60% faster for international candidates than the industry average. Our team of IT-specialised recruiters are available to assist you in identifying and interviewing the right individuals for your remote developer positions. Furthermore, our international HR and legal teams will manage all of the necessary documentation, freeing you up to focus on managing your business. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you require additional information.

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