Finding and Recruiting Top Talent at a Distance: A Primer

Finding and hiring top talent can be a challenging task, particularly if your company is in an area where workers are likely to move for better job prospects. Nonetheless, this does not mean that you should settle for less than the best applicants. Utilize creative strategies in your recruitment process to ensure that your organization is able to attract and retain the most capable individuals.

Hiring remotely has become increasingly commonplace as a means of accessing the highest caliber of talent. The development of remote working has enabled businesses to draw from a global pool of potential employees, while employing those from locations with a lower cost of living can offer significant savings.

Many businesses place a great emphasis on recruiting excellent staff, yet they often struggle to do so. This could be attributed to a variety of reasons, such as a lack of knowledge of effective recruitment procedures, difficulty in sourcing suitable candidates, and an inadequate experience for applicants throughout the recruitment process.

No matter what your reasons are, you can rely on our assistance. For years, we have been the leading remote recruitment firm, aiding companies in locating and employing top-notch technical personnel from all over the globe. In this introductory guide, we will demonstrate how you can apply some of our most effective advice straight away.

Just what does “Top Talent” entail?

First, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty of what constitutes elite talent.

When talking about ‘defining’, it is not just a matter of simple dictionary definitions. It is important to consider the qualities that make a good employee, such as being able to think innovatively and autonomously, striving to achieve targets, having a genuine enthusiasm for learning and being able to analyze situations. Unfortunately, one of the most common mistakes that Human Resources departments make is to look for the wrong kind of candidate when they should be searching for exemplary performers.

Ensure that all Human Resources staff are aware of the desired candidate profile before establishing a recruitment and selection plan. Establish a basic summary by asking yourself questions to identify the ideal applicant, such as:

  • Which characteristics do you look for in a “high talent” candidate?
  • Where can they get the necessary training and experience?
  • Should there be fixed requirements for these qualities?

The HR department should be particularly mindful when recruiting for a remote team, carefully screening and interviewing potential candidates to ensure they possess the requisite skills to excel in such a role. This includes being adept in communicating with others regardless of their location, as well as having a strong sense of self-motivation and the capability to collaborate with others in a remote environment.

The Value of Hiring Top Performers

As a business owner, it is a dream to fill any open positions with individuals who demonstrate hard work, commitment and enthusiasm to achieve the company goals. Unfortunately, not many workers have this level of dedication and ambition. In some cases, people are so desperate for an income that they will take on any job, no matter how challenging, in order to make ends meet.

It is important to consider the potential consequences of hiring a mediocre applicant. Though they may be able to carry out routine duties and jobs, they may not always meet the required standards. Furthermore, it is important to consider the potential costs of training and retaining an applicant who may not be able to meet the requirements of the job.

It is regrettable that many organizations suffer from low retention rates, often as a result of their approach to recruitment. They may be continually searching for new personnel to fill vacancies, yet struggle to find suitable and compatible candidates.

A recent report from the National Association of Colleges and Employers revealed that the average cost of hiring a new employee is approximately $7,645. In addition, Glassdoor estimates that the typical American company may need to allocate a budget of $4,000 and up to 52 days in order to recruit a suitable candidate.

Should recruitment and retention of high caliber personnel prove challenging, there is potential for costs to significantly increase and impede progress towards achieving the organization’s goals.

A recent survey of over 600,000 professionals from a range of industries has revealed an interesting finding – the influence of successful individuals on businesses extends beyond monetary incentives and retention. The research suggests that top performers are 400% more productive than their average counterparts, and organizations that are able to attract and retain these individuals will be able to work more quickly and efficiently.

The key advantages of luring the best employees are as follows:

The Foundations of Effective Recruitment

Before progressing with remote hires, it is essential to identify precisely what is required and what can be expected of them. Here are a few pointers to consider:

Consult a Reliable Reference

Candidates on many job sites catering to remote workers are carefully assessed before being allowed to create a profile. This will take the burden off you, allowing you to have peace of mind, knowing that all applications meet the required standards. Furthermore, there are multiple avenues for you to refine your search to suit your individual needs.

It can be difficult to decide which recruitment channels are the most reliable and worthwhile to use. To ensure you make the right decision, it may be beneficial to hire a specialist recruitment firm such as Works. Alternatively, you can research client reviews and ratings online, which can provide you with a good indication of the quality of the service. At Works, we continually check and verify information from across the internet to ensure we are sourcing the most reliable data.

Identify Your Perfect Job Candidate.

Job descriptions are essential for any position, regardless of geography. When searching for a candidate for a remote role, it is even more important to be precise about the desired qualities. This is the optimal way to evaluate suitability. Make sure to include a list of skills and qualifications that the candidate should possess, in addition to those required for the job.

Some instances are as follows:

  • Need a minimum of three references on their profile.
  • Ought to have a home office set up
  • Needs to be able to work well with others and communicate well.
  • Ready to put in six hours a day

Candidates who do not feel that they would be suitable for the role may choose not to apply. This is perfectly acceptable, as it is the quality of applications rather than the quantity that is important.

Intensify the Time Spent on Remote Recruitment

It is essential to undertake a thorough assessment of candidates before making any hiring decisions. Due to the time difference and the virtual nature of the recruitment process, it is advisable to extend the duration of the process. This will enable you to gain a greater understanding of the applicants’ character traits, such as their patience, consistency, and commitment. Some potential methods for doing this are outlined below.

  • Do a battery of tests on them at regular intervals.
  • Think of doing many Zoom interviews.
  • Incorporate a paid trial period into the last stages of the employment process.

Personalize Your Survey

It is often a standard practice to ask job applicants how they perform under pressure in an interview. Therefore, I would be interested to know how you manage time constraints. It is likely that each candidate has considered and formulated responses to such questions. As such, it would be beneficial to ensure that any questions you ask are relevant to their particular abilities, for example in terms of time management, communication, initiative and discipline.

Create a list of questions to ascertain the applicant’s accountability, dependability and sense of responsibility in relation to their work. Identify in detail any reservations you may have regarding the applicant’s suitability for the role and develop questions that will enable you to gain insight into these areas.

Specially Selected: Commonplace inquiries for interviews with distant employees

The success of your recruitment for a remote worker is dependent upon your ability to maintain open lines of communication with the potential employee. Effective communication is essential to ensure you select the most suitable option. It is important to ensure that there is a system in place for the onboarding and reporting of the new hire. It is advised to create a schedule for them to follow to track their tasks and output, and to also ensure that regular phone or video calls are scheduled for review and feedback.

Methods Most Effective in Recruiting Top Performers

Finding and recruiting remote workers requires a different approach to that which is used for traditional, on-site workers. By having a clear remote recruitment procedure in place, it is possible to find and hire individuals who can understand and adhere to your company’s values and systems. To ensure successful recruitment of high-caliber remote employees, the following best practices should be implemented:

Identify your needs and desires independently.

Consider the qualities that you would like to see in a candidate, then document them in a practical manner. Making a comprehensive list of the qualifications and characteristics that would make a desirable applicant is beneficial. However, it is important to ensure that these are not seen as absolute necessities.

Identifying and selecting individuals who demonstrate a commitment to excellence is key to successful recruitment. Companies that perform well understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to employee selection, and adjust their recruitment strategies accordingly. Establishing the qualities that are essential and those that are desirable is the first step in the recruitment process.

To assist you tell the two apart, we’ve included the following set of questions:

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?

Draft a Position Summary

It has been found that while most Human Resources professionals believe they have created comprehensive job descriptions, only 36% of applicants truly perceive this. This highlights the importance of crafting a job description that accurately portrays your organization and the position being offered, as it is the first impression that will be made on prospective employees.

A job description should clearly list the necessary skills and abilities that are required for the role, without over-emphasizing the organization’s mission and values. It is important to include all relevant information that may be of use to potential applicants, such as the desired qualifications and experience.

  • Professional Label
  • Mission Statement
  • Duties and obligations
  • Requirements

Create a Talent Pipeline

Creating a talent pipeline is the third strategy for staffing your company with the best possible employees. Having a pre-existing pool of applicants who are trained and prepared to take up available roles within the business is what is referred to as a ‘talent pipeline’.

Employees from within the organization, as well as external prospects sourced from sources such as referrals, online job boards, recruitment agencies, social media, etc., are all viable options.

Posting a job ad on a job board is a straightforward process, however we have found that headhunting is a highly effective way of finding and attracting top talent. Recruitment does not have to begin with actively looking for individuals who are actively seeking employment. Typically, the best applicants are already in employment – the challenge is to ascertain what would draw them away from their current role and persuade them to join your organization.

A recent LinkedIn study revealed that 86% of 20,000 talent professionals indicated that their recruitment firms prioritized passive prospects. This suggests that the proportion is likely to increase in the future.

Headhunting, sometimes referred to as passive recruitment, is increasingly conducted through online social networks such as LinkedIn. Generally, this involves making an attractive offer to the potential candidate; we have found that IT specialists, in addition to a competitive salary and benefits package, often value the opportunity for remote working.

Some online resources for expanding your pool of potential employees are as follows:

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

Perform Background Checks

Applicants bring more to the table than their CVs, which is why it would be impractical to consider every candidate. An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is an effective way for larger companies to identify the most qualified applicants.

It is not uncommon for job seekers to submit applications without thoroughly reading the job posting. Typically, they quickly scan the post to identify key details such as salary and required qualifications, before applying for the role. According to research conducted by Dovetail, of every 225 applications for a single position, 90% had not read the job description in full and 85% lacked the fundamental skills needed.

The initial step is to carry out a screening of candidates, rather than examining each one in detail or arranging individual interviews. The most effective method is to use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). As previously discussed, the primary advantage is reducing the time spent on administrative tasks, and the secondary benefit is access to a wider range of highly qualified applicants. This approach ensures that HR only interacts with the most competent candidates based on their particular abilities and other criteria.

Administer Interviews and Analyze Results

Having narrowed down the applicant pool to those with the most suitable credentials, we now need to conduct interviews and make hiring decisions. Interviewing candidates is an essential part of assembling a team of suitable individuals. It is not enough to simply have a candidate who is able to answer all questions accurately; we also need to gain a deeper understanding of them, observe how they respond to pressure, and gain an insight into their personalities.

It is important to consider that the type of role being recruited for will influence the nature of each interview. When looking to fill a managerial role, questions should be geared towards assessing leadership qualities. The same is true for other roles, such as assessing design skills is different to evaluating remote engineers. It is therefore necessary to define the skills and techniques for evaluating each position.

It is understandable that the lack of physical proximity can present challenges in the recruitment process. To ensure successful outcomes, it is essential that the right resources are made available to conduct interviews and evaluate remote applicants. This would include not only the usual platforms such as Zoom or Google Teams, but also technologies that are suitable for assessing the applicant’s relevant skills depending on the job role.

Helpful resources for doing remote skill assessments:

  • HackerRank (tech) (tech)
  • Codility (tech) (tech)
  • Evaluation of Spoken and Written English Proficiency (The English Quiz)
  • HireSelect (personality tests) (personality tests)
  • OMG’s Sales Evaluation (Sales)
  • The Indices of Foresight (personality and workplace behavior)
  • Pymetrics (cognitive and emotional qualities) (cognitive and emotional traits)

Make the Application Process Enjoyable for Potential Employees.

If you are looking to recruit the best people for your organization, simply meeting a list of requirements will not be enough. Whether they are actively seeking employment or not, it is important to present an offer that is too good to refuse. Providing a positive candidate experience, even before they are a candidate, is just as important as the offer and the opportunities that are available.

Nowadays, a company’s success in acquiring customers and recruiting the best personnel is largely dependent on how they cultivate and expand their online presence. Potential candidates form an opinion of your organization prior to applying by reading reviews on platforms like Glassdoor, gaining insight from their contacts, and assessing the challenge of the application process, among other things.

Once potential candidates have been identified, it is crucial to ensure a system is in place to effectively communicate with them, respond to any queries they may have and provide them with a clear understanding of the application process. By being courteous and professional throughout the interview process, we can ensure that candidates experience the best possible service.


It is time to make a final selection after several interviews and assessments. As an employer, there are a number of challenges to consider when making a decision between multiple qualified applicants. For this step, it is necessary to review interview notes and choose the individual who would be the most suitable addition to the team.

Unconscious biases can be a hindrance to finding the right candidate for the role. It is important to consider whether any preconceived notions of the applicant should be taken into account when making a decision. Ask yourself, “Do I have a valid job-related reason for rejecting this person before I make any assumptions?” It is essential to evaluate each individual objectively and fairly, rather than relying on any misplaced preconceptions.

It is strongly advised to review the interview notes and create scorecards in order to quantify the candidate’s response and enable comparison of various prospects based on the ratings.


Congratulations! You have successfully identified the required skill set. It is now time to review your remote working regulations, remote communication protocols and onboarding process.

It is important to remember that the equipment and documentation required for recruiting top talent remotely is different from that of on-site hires. Prior to sending the new employee abroad, it is essential to compile all of the necessary paperwork and resources required for them to successfully complete their job.

Take Stock of Your Hiring Methods

Failing to monitor the outcomes of your recruitment and hiring efforts is a sure way to realise they are not successful. The final step is to analyze data and statistics to assess the success or failure of the recruitment process. This will help to improve and maximise existing resources.

Here are a few measures to think about:

  • Fuel for the conversion fire: what percentage of applicants accept your job offers? Why do people often say no?
  • If you want to save time and money, tracking how long each stage of the hiring process takes and why might help.
  • The ratio of applicants to open positions may be used to determine how many people to invite for an interview.
  • Where can I find the greatest people to fill open positions?

Invest in Proven Experts

It can be challenging to source and recruit exceptional talent from afar if you are unsure of the best places to look. We can take care of the paperwork, documentation, contracts, and legal aspects for you if you find the process too daunting.

At Works, we are proud to offer 60% faster recruitment solutions for international candidates compared to the average business. Our team of IT-specialized recruiters are here to help you find and interview the right people for remote developer roles. In addition, our international HR and legal teams will handle all the necessary paperwork, leaving you free to focus on the running of your business. If you would like any further information, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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