How to Find and Hire the Best Remote Workers

Hiring manager talking with diverse professionals in virtual video interview

As of 2024, about 22 million adults, or 14% of the American workforce, work from home full-time. By 2025, that number is expected to jump to about 20% or one in five people. An even bigger portion of workers do their jobs remotely some of the time, amounting to about half of all employees. 

Demand is strong for the ability to work from home, and as an employer, you can set yourself apart by hiring remote and hybrid workers. The big question is, where do you find them? And how do you hire remote workers you can trust to do their jobs when you’re not physically able to keep an eye on them?

We’ll explain where to find qualified, professional remote workers and how to hire them effectively. 

How to Find Remote Workers

Rely on referrals

Referrals have long been one of the most reliable channels for producing top-notch hires. When a referral comes from one of your top performers, it’s even more potent, as great workers tend to have other great people in their professional network. When someone comes in via a personal introduction, they’re more likely to be invested in the process than if they’re applying to a hiring manager with whom they have no connection. 

Capitalize on this channel by nurturing a strong referral program. Put out a call for referrals regularly–once a quarter works well for many organizations–and implement a system for rewarding employees whose recommendations lead to a new hire. 

Related: How to Make Your Employee Referral Program a Powerful Recruitment Tool

Post on the right job boards

Remote positions are highly desirable, so if you offer the option to work from home, this fact alone should help you attract a more competitive candidate pool. Be sure you’re reaching the talented workers who are searching for remote positions by listing them on the right job boards. Posting on sites dedicated to flexible work, like FlexJobs and, will help differentiate your positions from other roles that are onsite only. 

Look for a proven track record

The shifts of the last few years mean millions of new candidates now have experience working from home. Zero in on those with a proven track record for successful remote work, whether it was a temporary situation during the pandemic or they’re currently working from home. 

Ask questions that will help you drill down to a candidate’s work style and methods for successfully getting the job done off-site, like:

  • What prior experience do you have with remote work?
  • How do you stay on top of tasks when you’re not working in an office?
  • How does the lack of regular in-person interaction with coworkers affect you?
  • What tools do you use to collaborate with remote peers and manage your work?

Source from the freelance market

When you’re searching for a resume that includes working from home, consider this untapped source: freelancers. Representing a sizable segment of the workforce, contract and gig workers are used to working from anywhere and juggling multiple projects at once. Plus, you might already have a few you’re comfortable working with who would be interested in going full-time. 

Prioritize necessary qualities

Working from home requires a different set of skills–or at least more proficiency in certain areas–than doing the same job in an office. For example, remote employees must be independently motivated, adept at time management, and comfortable navigating minor tech snafus without having in-person help from the company’s IT team. 

To attract applicants who meet these qualifications, make sure your job listings emphasize the right criteria. State them directly in the list of job requirements alongside the technical skill requirements. Then, as you review resumes, use these same keywords and phrases to screen applicants with the required capabilities. 

Build a strong employer brand

When you’re hiring in person for an onsite role, you can rely at least somewhat on local word of mouth and your presence in the community to spread the word about your job opening. When you’re hiring online, you don’t have that luxury. You have to rely fully on your digital channels and your established presence to get you in front of the right applicants.

Thus, an ongoing effort to build a strong employer brand is paramount. Use content marketing to show off what it’s like to work for your company. Tap outgoing employees to act as brand advocates at public-facing events. Monitor and make efforts to improve your rating on sites like Glassdoor that remote candidates are likely to visit when researching before they apply.  

Related: How to Elevate Your Employer Branding to Attract Top Talent

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How to Hire Remote Employees

Set clear expectations

One critical step for a successful remote work arrangement is setting clear expectations from day one. Outlining key details, like how many days each week or month a candidate will be expected to come into the office, special situations that would necessitate onsite work, and any requirements around start times, end times, and availability during the day, ensures everyone is on the same page. 

Look for the right skills

As we touched on above, remote workers require a special set of skills. In addition to the technical skills required for the job, strong candidates must also possess core soft skills required to navigate working off-site successfully. Here are a few of the best soft skills to prioritize when screening applicants:

  • Being a self-starter. A good remote worker needs to be able to look at an assignment and come up with the tasks necessary to complete it, then take action without being told. 
  • Organization. You need someone who can juggle multiple projects independently and stay on top of deadlines without being micromanaged. 
  • Communication. While they don’t necessarily need to be glued to Slack every waking hour, a remote worker needs to stay in touch proactively. Look for someone with strong writing skills who can quickly share what they’re working on and anything they need help with. 
  • Tech-savviness. Not everyone loves digital collaboration tools. When you’re physically in an office, you can get away with using fewer of them. But remote work requires someone who’s proficient–or at least willing to learn–the latest ways to work together even when you’re not actually together. 
  • Time management. When you allow for remote work, you’re entrusting workers with a certain level of independence. This is based on the presumption that they’ll manage their time effectively to finish their work. Look for someone with a demonstrated history of managing their own time and successfully accomplishing goals. 
  • Focus. At-home workspaces are prone to distractions, from the load of laundry that needs to be folded to the latest binge-worthy documentary on Netflix. Remote employees must be adept at avoiding procrastination and focusing on high-priority tasks.

Streamline the interview process

Since remote candidates may be located in far-flung places, you’ll need an interview process that’s also remote-friendly. If you are using a video conferencing platform, ensure that all participants receive instructions and complete any necessary tech setup in advance. Set interviewers up for success by using software that streamlines virtual interviews; many applicant tracking systems now have these capabilities built in. We outline 10 virtual interviewing tips for hiring managers here.  

Be strategic about culture fit

It’s a common pitfall to overlook culture fit when hiring remote workers, but this is a big misstep. Culture fit is just as important, if not more so, for remote workers than onsite ones, as they don’t have as many opportunities to build rapport with their peers and are at greater risk of feeling isolated. So, incorporate culture fit strategically into your selection process. 

Ask interview questions that will help identify alignment with your team, like:

  • Describe your ideal work environment.
  • What does a great team look like to you?
  • What do you value most in an employer?
  • How do you deal with workplace conflict?
  • What motivates you at work?
  • Can you tell me about a project or assignment you were particularly inspired by?
  • Have you ever gone above and beyond to help a colleague?

Additionally, consider using pre-hire screening tools like personality assessments, which can help you gain an objective perspective on a candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. 

Get additional input

One disadvantage of remote work is that you miss out on casual in-person interactions, like passing in the hallway or chatting in the break room, that build camaraderie and contribute to company culture. This missing physical link makes it harder to assess culture fit when hiring. That is why it is so important to convey your company culture when hiring remotely.

To help ensure remote workers are both qualified and a good fit, don’t rely on one person’s judgment (even if it’s your own). Bring other staffers, like peers the new hire will be working with, into the hiring process. A roundtable-style Zoom meeting is a great way to introduce a candidate to other team members whom you can follow up with afterward for feedback. 

Make boomerang hires

The pandemic has upended career plans for even the most established professionals, which may mean some of your former employees are now back on the job market. If you know one who’d be great for your remote role, entice them to come back–bringing with them new skills and expertise–with the ability to work from home as a perk. 

Provide an excellent onboarding experience

One of the biggest mistakes when hiring remote workers is making the initial hire and then going radio silent. Employers must go the extra mile to keep remote employees engaged, starting with an intentional onboarding process. 

As soon as the offer is accepted, provide new hires with the necessary paperwork to complete it at their convenience before their first day on the job. Use interactive materials like videos and gamified onboarding modules to introduce new workers to the company’s policies and processes. Help them get acclimated by setting up dedicated times for them to meet and greet their new teammates and other recent hires–virtually, of course. By providing an engaging onboarding experience, you’ll set a positive tone for a productive new hire period. 

Work With a Specialized Staffing Agency

Advertising your remote role on social media and job boards is a must, but it only gets you so far. To attract hard-to-reach candidates, especially passive ones who don’t regularly search job sites, work with a staffing partner that has experience hiring remote workers. 

Whether you’re new to off-site hiring or are looking to ramp up your remote workforce, We can help you attract and qualify candidates who will get the job done no matter where they work from.

Contact us today to learn about our remote staffing solutions that fit your company.

Pete Newsome

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome is the President of 4 Corner Resources, the staffing and recruiting firm he founded in 2005. 4 Corner is a member of the American Staffing Association and TechServe Alliance, and the top-rated staffing company in Central Florida. Recent awards and recognition include being named to Forbes’ Best Recruiting Firms in America, The Seminole 100, and The Golden 100. Pete also founded zengig, to offer comprehensive career advice, tools, and resources for students and professionals. He hosts two podcasts, Hire Calling and Finding Career Zen, and is blazing new trails in recruitment marketing with the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology. Connect with Pete on LinkedIn