How GitLab and InVision hire and onboard remote teammates

Takeaways from Range’s Meetup panel on hiring remote teammates

Jennifer Dennard,Yellow Squiggle
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At Range’s meetup on hiring remote teammates, we got the chance to chat with some experts in remote work from InVision, GitLab, BeyondHQ, and Craft Ventures.

There are many reasons that companies decide to hire remote teammates or open new offices: Madhu Chamarty, CEO of BeyondHQ, shared that companies are looking for access to more talent, lower salary expectations, and even lower operating costs—skip the office lease!

Once a company has decided to expand its locations for talent, leaders are faced with questions around how to find and hire remote teammates. Read on for advice from the people who’ve been there.

Sourcing — How do you find teammates in other locations?

  • Familiarize yourself with top companies in other markets. And hire people from those companies. If Company X is the top place to work in Atlanta, then start targeting people there. It’s a good bet that they’re talented, says Anthony Maggio, Director of Product at InVision.
  • Hire recruiters local to the market. It’s hard to know what a good resume looks like when you’re not from the area. Madhu recommends hiring someone local to help because they can clarify what companies or experience match what you need. Joe Cheung, Operating Partner - Talent from Craft Ventures, also shared that having a leader or teammate local to that area can make it easier to acquire talent and build a rapport with teammates.
  • Look for people who are writing and speaking about the topics you care about. If you’re flexible on location you can use sources like Reddit, Slack communities, Quora, and more to find people who are already writing about what’s important to your company’s mission or tech stack, says Joe.

Interviewing — How do you identify a successful remote teammate?

  • Screen for strong communication skills. Several panelists shared that they work to make the interview process reflect what working remote will be like. For example, InVision screens for candidates with strong oral and written communication skills, which will be important when working remote.
  • Design the interview process to reflect the work. Include projects in your interview process that are collaborative and allow the teammate to work on their own schedule since that’s how they’ll be working most of the time, says Sung Hae Kim, Chief People Officer at GitLab. It’s also a good idea to compensate candidates for their time away from other jobs.
  • Look for understanding of what it’s like to work remote. GitLab asks candidates what they think will be difficult about working remote — if they say nothing, that’s a red flag as it denotes lack of experience or understanding of the challenges that remote work can bring.

Onboarding — How can you help a remote teammate get started?

  • Design the process for their work. Anthony from InVision suggests that teams be intentional when thinking about how a remote teammate will work. Ask yourself: “How is this person going to interface and collaborate with on a day-to-day basis?” By starting there, managers can set their remote team or teammate up for success rather than making them define that process themselves.
  • Write down processes. When onboarding a new teammate, it’s helpful to have written documents about how decision-making works or how a process is done. This is true for co-located employees as well, but remote teammates benefit even more from a playbook they can follow (especially if they’re in a different timezone and can’t always reach out with a quick question).
  • Set expectations for meetings and working hours. Different teams handle working hours differently. GitLab tries to accommodate different timezones and asks managers to not force employees to attend meetings at awkward times. InVision takes the opposite approach by asking everyone to work 10 am to 6 pm ET. Either way, be clear with a new teammate about expectations.

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Hiring remote teammates is different from hiring someone to work at your headquarters, so your hiring process has to adjust. We hope these tips helped. If you work on a distributed team, check out Range as a way to keep your team in sync. 😀

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How GitLab and InVision hire and onboard remote teammates
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