How to recruit and nurture talent for a fully remote workforce software company


Welcome to the second part of the "Fully Remote Workforce" series. If in the first part we went over the advantages and disadvantages of fully remote workforces, it's now time to dig deeper into both. Find out how to take advantage of the unbound talent pool and geo-expansion, plus learn how to tackle and prevent structural and cultural obstacles.

Tips for Hiring Remote Talent on UpWork

UpWork is the largest freelancing platform on the Internet. In 2017, it reported more than 14 million active users and USD 1 billion in annual freelancer billings. It has become more difficult to wade through the masses at this scale when looking for the ideal candidate. As recently as 2020, the company purged around 1.8 million accounts it deemed "lower-skilled" under its new CEO, Hayden Brown.

Before you start posting jobs and taking applications on UpWork, here are some tips:

Firstly, always include instructions in the job description about a special word or key-phrase applicants use when applying. This has the purpose of filtering out applicants that don't read the whole job description.

Secondly, hire more than one person for the job. You will only do this initially to have options when you finally decide which candidate is best. This only applies to longer-term jobs or projects, where you can initially afford to spend double or triple. Give each candidate a small but identical task to decide which is best.

Lastly, don't pay too much attention to ratings and reviews. Those things are not always representative of the quality of the freelancer. To be clear, I am not saying "hire low-rated freelancers." I am saying, "hire new freelancers that have no ratings." The benefit of this is similar to finding a diamond in the rough.

Addressing Structural Disadvantages with Videos

As was said in the previous article, clients ideally want to see who they are shaking hands with, even if only digitally. They want to put a face to a name. For this reason, your remote workforce must be appropriately represented on the company website.

Make sure the "About us" or "Team" sections of your site have profile pictures of your team. This would represent the minimum. Ideally, you would introduce your team and company in a video. Check out how we achieved this at Novvum with a Youtube video of our team:

Not every freelancer will want to associate their image with your company. First, it will take time. Offer one-time bonuses or hourly raises to sway those on the fence. Most will have no problem with this, though, and it's only normal to associate yourself with the team you're working in.

Can the Self-Hosted Movement Help with Cultural Disadvantages?

An Output/Input surplus can be a great asset for your business's bottom line. At its core, the company is producing more than it is consuming. In the case of fully remote workforce companies, we notice the same surplus but from a communications perspective. The problem is this surplus is measured vertically and not horizontally in the company's organization chart. This can lead to feelings of isolation when replies are not immediate.

Experimenting with self-hosted communications platforms that are independently set up for each level of your organizational chart can channel your workforces' excess output in more responsive environments.

A model where

Some companies work on a model where a communications grant is issued bi-yearly in cash to lease private cloud computing for all our workforce. This concept translates into a digital/virtual form of the water cooler chat environment.

The idea is that we want to encourage and guide the comms output surplus towards a private place that is only available to employees on the same organizational level. If you're familiar with Discord, think of this as private Discord servers for each team. These ideas and concepts are paid for with grants, and management does not have access to them.

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