The rise of remote work has transformed the way we work. With the ability to work from anywhere in the world, companies can now recruit the best talent from all over the globe. However, recruiting a winning team for a remote-first, globally distributed Saas company comes with a particular set of challenges. In this article, we'll discuss how liblab recruits the best talent from all over the world to join our remote-first company, and the strategies we use to build and retain a winning remote team.
Challenge #1: Lack of Physical Presence and Face-to-Face Interaction
One of the biggest challenges we encounter while recruiting is the lack of physical presence and face-to-face interaction. In a traditional office setting, recruiters and hiring managers can meet with the candidates in person, get a sense of their personality and work style, and assess their fit with the company culture. However, in a remote setting, these interactions are limited to virtual meetings and online communication.
To overcome this challenge, we’re very intentional about creating opportunities for virtual face-to-face interaction. This can include video interviews, virtual team-building activities, and online assessments that allow candidates to showcase their skills and work style. We leverage all types of video conferencing technology.
Additionally, it's important for us to have a strong company culture that is communicated effectively to candidates. By clearly defining our company's values and mission, and emphasizing the importance of collaboration and communication in a remote setting, we’re more likely to attract candidates who are a good fit for our work-from-anywhere culture.
Challenge #2: Ensuring Cultural Fit in a Distributed Team
Cultural fit is a critical factor in the success of any team, but it can be particularly challenging to assess in a remote setting. Without the benefit of in-person interactions and observations, our recruiters and hiring managers must rely on other indicators to assess cultural fit, such as a candidate's communication style, work habits, and attitude.
To ensure cultural fit in our distributed team, we’re careful about defining our company culture and values, and careful about communicating them effectively to candidates. Additionally, we include as many of our team members in the hiring process, allowing them to assess the candidate's fit within the respective team. This includes virtual team interviews and technical assessments, where team members can ask questions and provide feedback on the candidate's technical and cultural fit.
Challenge #3: Evaluating Technical Skills and Expertise Without In-Person Assessments
Another challenge we face is evaluating technical skills and expertise without in-person assessments. In a traditional office setting, candidates can be asked to complete technical assessments or work samples in person, which can provide valuable insights into their skills and abilities, and allow observation of how they may relate to teammates. However, in a remote setting, these assessments must be conducted online, which can be more challenging to manage and evaluate because it reduces the amount of personality clues we can collect.
To evaluate technical skills and expertise in a remote setting, we use online assessment tools and platforms that allow candidates to complete assessments and submit coding samples remotely. Additionally, we conduct virtual coding challenges and pair programming exercises, where candidates can work with our team members to solve real-world problems and demonstrate their skills.
Challenge #4: Addressing Time Zone Differences and Collaboration Challenges
Finally, we must address time zone differences and collaboration challenges when recruiting and hiring. In a distributed team, team members may be located in different time zones, which can make communication and collaboration more difficult. Additionally, remote teams may face other collaboration challenges, such as language barriers or differences in work styles.
To address time zone differences and collaboration challenges, we’re very obsessed with promoting clear communication and collaboration practices. This means a heavy reliance on video conferencing and chat tools, and setting expectations for response times and availability. We also leverage productivity tools that allow us to share and collaborate on documentation.
Additionally, being distributed across different time zones means we need to be more efficient and proficient with asynchronous communication. We heavily leverage our instant chat app. Whether it’s by voice, video, or text, we're constantly messaging, emailing, and leaving comments. Our gif and meme games are topnotch.
As can be seen with the challenges mentioned, recruiting a winning team for a globally dispersed remote company is no easy task. However, with the right strategies in place, it’s very possible to attract and retain the right talent for a distributed team. Next we’ll explore some of the key strategies liblab uses to recruit talented and passionate candidates from all over the world.
Strategy #1: Define Your Company Culture and Values
In a remote setting, it can be more challenging to establish a strong company culture. But defining company culture and values is essential for attracting and retaining top talent. By clearly defining company culture and values, we can communicate our vision and mission to potential candidates and attract those who share our values.
To define our company culture and values, we start by identifying what is most important to us. This includes things like ownership, agility, or customer satisfaction. With our core values identified, we communicate them to our team and potential candidates through job postings, our website, and other marketing materials (such as this blog!).
Ultimately, we value getting things done. When recruiting, we look for candidates who want to own the stack end-to-end.
Strategy #2: Recruit from Diverse Talent Pools
In a remote setting, we have access to a wider range of talent than we would in a traditional office setting. Not being restricted to a local talent pool, we’re able to find talented candidates that can only be found outside our immediate area. By recruiting from diverse talent pools, we can bring in fresh perspectives and ideas that can help us grow and innovate.
We embrace everyone’s unique backgrounds and make every effort to ensure each and every person feels included, heard, valued. And we believe that such principles should extend beyond our team into our relations with customers, partners, and of course, our candidates.
To recruit from diverse talent pools, it’s highly beneficial to partner with organizations that focus on diversity and inclusion. Additionally, consider posting job openings on sites that cater to diverse candidates. Finally, be sure to devote attention and resources to internal diversity initiatives and inclusion efforts.
Strategy #3: Conduct Thorough Evaluations
We carefully evaluate every potential candidate. Without the opportunity to meet with candidates in person, we can only use other evaluation methods, such as video interviews, online assessments, and work samples.
To conduct thorough evaluations, we start by identifying the key skills and qualities we’re looking for in a candidate. Then, we use a combination of evaluation methods to assess these skills and qualities. For example, we might conduct a video interview to assess communication skills, a pair programming session to evaluate live problem solving skills, and a coding challenge to understand technical proficiency.
Obviously, the more thorough the evaluation methods, the more strain it is on our resources. To alleviate the time our developers spend on reviewing candidate coding samples, we leverage external partners to augment the remote technical assessment portion of our recruiting. If you’re wondering how to get buy-in to pursue these partnerships, here’s our blogpost on How to Convince Management to Invest in the Tools You Need.
Ultimately, we’ve designed a recruiting workflow that allows us to efficiently evaluate the candidate while at the same time providing a positive experience for the candidate.
Strategy #4: Offer Competitive Compensation Packages
Offering competitive compensation packages is another important strategy for recruiting a winning team. In a remote setting, we’re competing with companies from all over the world for top talent, so it is important to offer compensation packages that are competitive with other companies in our industry.
To offer competitive compensation packages, we research industry standards and benchmark salaries for similar positions. Additionally, we offer benefits that are attractive to remote workers, such as flexible work-from-anywhere arrangements, professional development opportunities, and health and wellness benefits.
Strategy #5: Foster a Positive Company Culture
Finally, fostering a positive company culture is essential. In a remote setting, it can be more challenging to establish a strong company culture, but it’s critical for building a strong and cohesive team.
To foster a positive company culture, we start by codifying our core values. We then communicate our mission, we align in our vision, and we help each other achieve goals. As a mantra, we say “be smart and kind”. It’s not enough to be brilliant on our team; you must also be able to help your teammates win.
Additionally, provide opportunities for team members to connect and collaborate. We sponsor teammate travel to each other’s locations to collaborate and work together in person. Finally, we bring people together at least once a year to get to know each other and bond in person. “liblab week” is an annual offsite where we all meet, get to know our peers, and have fun together.
Recruiting the best talent for a remote Saas company doesn’t require re-inventing the wheel. But it does require understanding of the challenges and a dedication to the strategies that make it possible to find the best available talent anywhere.
When it comes to growing the team, we focus on implementing a robust recruitment process and establishing a strong company culture. Also, we value adaptability, self-motivation, and autonomy, and we only look for difference makers who embody these ideals.
At liblab we’re proving that with a winning remote team, any SDK is possible.