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The expansion of remote work means amazing opportunities for job-seekers and companies looking to hire top talent. But without geography to help narrow down your choices, it can be challenging to find the right job or the right candidates. Remote job-seekers need to do their homework on what makes a remote job an awesome remote job. And HR needs to provide easy access to the information those job-seekers are looking for.

Our CEO Job van der Voort knows a thing or two about remote jobs. And he’s working hard to make sure the right people find the right jobs, no matter where they live. So he’s put together little collection of expert advice for remote job seekers.

But this guide is helpful for people on both sides of the interview.

Remote job seekers: use this advice to get more targeted with the types of roles you are looking for to give yourself the best possible chance of landing your dream remote role.

Hiring managers, founders, and HR teams: reverse engineer these tips to find and attract top talent right across the globe!

How to identify the best remote jobs

Here’s what to look for to ensure a great remote work experience.

Make sure you are able to work from your desired location

Wait! If it’s a remote job, then does it really matter where it is?

The short answer is yes, it does.

Read on for the long answer.

“It's not hard to find remote jobs, but it's incredibly hard finding a remote job that works for you. If you're in the USA, it's much easier as most jobs are USA-only. Start by checking whether the job allows you to work from your location.”

You don’t want to waste time with companies you can’t work for. So make sure the company in question is open to employing you in your home location.

What does this mean for the hiring manager?

And as a recruiter or HR professional, you need to familiarize yourself with the legal ramifications of employing remote workers. You must have a solid understanding of permanent establishment risk and the classification laws in each country of any new employee or contractor. Hiring remote workers definitely expands your talent pool, but every country is different. Know where you can and can’t hire and start there.

Assess the current distribution of your target employer's team

“Try to get an idea (e.g. by searching employees on Linkedin) how the team is spread out. If you're the only person in a timezone far from the rest of the team - finding a new role there might be difficult.”

Many companies transitioned to remote work in the wake of Covid, but that doesn’t mean they have a globally distributed team. The company's workers may all be in the same town and just waiting for the all-clear to head back to the office. Consider whether you want to be the one waking up at 4 in the morning for a team meeting. If you find no team members are on your timezone (or close to your region), you could reach out to the recruiter or hiring manager for the role and check with them before you commit to preparing an application.

Even if the company is open to remote workers from your region, you should check to see if they have existing remote-first work practices. This will help you determine the level of commitment you'll need for the role. Without a culture facilitating remote work, you could find yourself working some difficult hours of your clock.

What does this mean for the hiring manager?

Timezones matter to HR, too. You know that team communication is vital and that can be tricky with employees who are sleeping during your whole work day. You may find yourself staying up all night to accommodate your workers if you don't have established async work practices and a culture of remote-first communication and documentation.

Consider citizenship and legal work status

Residency and citizenship can be a critical factor that determines your readiness to remote work. You may need special visas, permissions, or tax documents to stay legally compliant to work remotely (of course, this is especially important for anyone looking to work as a digital nomad).

“If you're planning to work from a different country than where you have citizenship, that can be a challenge. Make sure you understand whether you're allowed to do so - and if you need employer help, address that early on in the interview process.”

What does this mean for the hiring manager?

When hiring remote workers, HR managers and recruiters need to be aware of the candidate’s right to work in their country of residency. Then you need to determine whether your company can support them. Be ready to answer questions in interviews if this questions does come up. Often, the services of an employer of record (EOR) will simplify this process. An EOR provider that owns a legal entity in the relevant country can give you specific advice on the legal requirements you need to consider.

Ask about any hybrid work requirements

“Lastly, make sure to understand what the office/meetup requirements are. Some companies ask you to come into some meetings at company headquarter or attend off-sites once in a while. This can be really fun, or a challenge based on your personal circumstances. Think time to travel and visas.”

The world is opening up and a lot of companies may ask you to travel to them from time to time. Make sure you’re willing and able to do that. Are you well enough to travel? Do you have proper travel documents? Where is the closest company office to your location? Is it possible. for you to manage whatever travel is required with your existing life commitments?

Conversely, if you’re into the idea of remote work because you like to travel, then you might want to seek out companies that bring the possibility of travel into the equation.

What does this mean for the hiring manager?

International travel can get expensive, so companies need to be ready for those costs. And HR managers need to make the expectations clear. On the bright side, you can use the travel as a benefit to attract ambitious candidates who aspire to the digital nomad lifestyle. These candidates are specifically seeking these opportunities (and are often highly skilled and very experienced). This could give you access to a new pool of valuable and ambitious talent.

Check the job's employment agreement & classification

Companies with a globally distributed workforce can handle employment in a few different ways, so make sure to find out how you’ll be employed. Whether you're engaged as a remote contractor or a remote employee, you should be aware of the risks and considerations specific to the employment legislation in your country.

“A company might employ you locally themselves, or they might use a company like Remote to engage you as a contractor or an employee."

It really depends on the company and the countries involved. If the company you’re looking at uses an employer of record like Remote, then you should be able to rest assured that your agreement will be compliant with all applicable local requirements. An employer of record (EOR) will act as your legal employer and manage your payment. If your employer is not using an EOR, check to make sure the company has a fully owned legal entity in your country to make sure your employment contract is legally compliant.

Companies can classify workers as employees or independent contractors. Find out what your classification would be and gather an understanding of when you might need to be converted from contractor status to employee status.

“Being independent means you don't have a job, and are clearly treated as separate from other employees. In some countries you're required to have other customers as well, before you're a valid contractor/freelancer.”

Employees usually have far more benefits and legal protections than contractors under national employment law. Sometimes companies run into problems by misclassifying contractors when local laws would deem them to be employees, leading to taxation ramifications, potential fines, and other more significant penalties.

“Unless you are actually independent of the company, you're probably being misclassified as contractor, which is a risk to both you and your employer (with $$$ fines and losing your job as outcome). If in doubt, have your prospective employer talk with Remote as we can help employers stay compliant with all forms of global employment.”

What does this mean for the hiring manager?

The penalties for misclassification are high for employers. You could be subject to back taxes, penalties, and lawsuits. More and more countries are cracking down on misclassification enforcement. You can always contact our team of employment law experts at Remote to make sure you’re properly classifying your workers. You should also check out our guide to employee and independent contractor misclassification.

Look for a strong remote-first company culture

Just because a company is willing and able to hire a remote worker does not necessarily mean you can expect the flexibility you might expect. Companies without a remote-first culture can unwittingly isolate and ostracise remote workers without adequate support (particularly those who operate with a predominantly on-premise or hybrid model). A remote culture works most effectively for any company with a component of remote workers, so try to look for indicators of this culture when you're scouting a fully remote role.

The best remote companies have a combination of the following factors:

Company handbook

“A company handbook to which everyone contributes can be so valuable for remote team members. This is where all important processes live, and e.g. values are written down.”

A company handbook shows the company’s commitment to transparency, fairness, and procedures. As an employee, you’ll always know where you stand. And a handbook that everyone contributes to shows a commitment to dialogue--and goes a long way towards ensuring that handbook stays up to date.

What does this mean for the hiring manager?

HR managers should make the handbook available to employees and prospective employees? Don’t have one? That’s your action item right there. Remote's employee handbook is publicly available and serves as a good base template for you to customize according to your business culture and practices.

Global compensation policy

Salary and compensation are obviously very important to job-seekers. You want to ensure you’re getting a fair offer and that the offer will cover your lifestyle. Don’t feel like you need to take a position that won’t pay you enough. And if you want more, you can ask.

“How do you know whether the offer you've received is a fair one? A good way to start is by asking what the compensation band is for the position you're applying to. If the range is very large, and your offer turns out on the low end - you have a clear idea of where you are. If you live in a low-cost area, it's possible your prospective employer accounts for this. Generally if the offer is below ~35k USD (yearly), it's too low to take seriously. If you are applying for a role that is in high demand, it can be worthwhile asking for peers in other companies / countries what they earn.”

“The best way to get a higher offer is by asking for it. That can be really challenging, but it's a win-win: if the response is poor, the future you'd have with that company can't be very good either. If it's positive: you just got yourself some more money!”

“Look for some policy on global compensation. You can figure this out by asking directly. Younger companies might not have something super defined, which is OK, but the larger the company, the better the answer must be. It's up to you to decide what an acceptable answer sounds like.”

What does this mean for the hiring manager?

If you’re hiring and want to attract the best talent, you need to offer competitive compensation. Start with your compensation policy and then do your research.

Does your business have a global compensation policy? If you're considering hiring remote workers, it’s time to figure it out. And if you’re a smaller company, there’s no time like the present to develop one. It’s only going to make you more attractive to top talent.

Remote's guide to managing global compensation is a great place to start!

Effective meeting policy

Meetings can easily take over your calendar. And it’s certainly more fun to actually do the work you’re hired to do than to sit in on countless virtual meetings.

Look for remote companies to have the following: “Internal expectations on what meetings are and aren't for. If you never hear the word async or asynchronous when you ask, be warned. An easy check is to ask some of the people interviewing you how many meetings they have a day.”

What does this mean for the hiring manager?

If you’re in HR and thinking of your own packed meeting schedule, then it’s time to think about creating an effective meeting policy for your company. And now is also a good time to start investigating how async can drive productivity in your job and throughout the company. Remote's guide to running a successful meeting is specifically developed for companies with a globally distributed team. Use this resource to guide your internal practices.

Clear time-off policy

Unlimited time-off is becoming a more and more common benefit. And it does sound wonderful, doesn’t it? Who doesn’t want to take off as much time as they can? But these policies can be culturally tricky for the employee to navigate, especially when team members in some countries have different levels of statutory annual leave. Unfortunately, when such policies aren’t combined with a minimum time-off requirement, people tend not to take time off, which leads to burn out. And that’s bad for both workers and companies.

“Unlimited time-off policies don't cut it anymore. There needs to be a minimum (which can just be the statutory minimum). How does your company deal with public holidays? The best remote employers document this clearly”

What does this mean for the hiring manager?

Be prepared for remote job-seekers to ask for the details about leave policies up front. So many people are attracted to the flexibility that remote work offers, and a more balanced relationship between work and life is often a key motivator. HR managers need to be ready with solid answers. Or course, the best remote companies will have that info clearly spelled out in their company handbook.

Inclusion and diversity policies

“Organizations that work truly remotely have few to no excuses for not being diverse. You can hire from anywhere in the world, meaning your company should have some sort of reflection of what the world looks like.”

Luckily, this is easy to evaluate.

“Ask for the numbers and look at who is interviewing you. Ask about diversity and inclusion projects in the organizations. Also here, you should expect larger organizations to do much more, not less than young companies.”

What does this mean for the hiring manager?

HR managers and recruiters can definitely help address diversity issues. Regularly monitor and report on key performance indicators to help you quantify your progress as an organization. Similarly, make sure you are conducting regular surveys across your team to give an opportunity for direct feedback. This will help you gauge satisfaction and pinpoint weaknesses more quickly.

Build a specific, measurable policy to work toward strengthening diversity in your organization. Start from the ground up and make sure your job descriptions are written to encourage candidates from all background and take practical steps to find a wider range of more diverse candidates. For more specific information, read Remote's guide to remote-first recruitment.

Use our Choose Remote toolkit to level-up your search

At Remote, our mission is to help anyone, anywhere to find their dream job. We're passionately trying to enable companies to build a global workforce and we're here to make it easy for them to build trusting global teams

If you're an aspiring remote worker, we have the tools you need to reimagine what it means to work and create the work-life balance you seek! We created our Choose Remote toolkit to help you fast-track progress. You can expect some really helpful expert insights on how to advocate for flexibility at work, find the best remote job opportunities, or relocate while keeping your job remotely!

Download our exclusive toolkit to get started.