Why aren't more startups willing to hire remotely?


With talented people being so hard to find, why do startups still struggle for months trying to hire someone in their city?

Recruiting Hiring Remote

asked Mar 31 '14 at 21:12
Pablo Rosa
19 points

2 Answers


Because successful remote arrangement at a company with an office depends on:

1. A certain culture shift (recording presentations or forwarding decks to remote employees).

2. Relevant support tools and processes (dial-in numbers for every meeting, screenshare software, etc).

3. The right attitude (discipline) from the remote employee. Not everyone can be productive at home. Not all roles are a natural fit for a remote arrangements. More junior employees typically need in-person guidance and mentorship.

It's also harder to evaluate someone's performance in the first months on the job. Many smart startups that are open to remote arrangements will ask a new hire to work at least the first month in the office, before switching to a remote arrangement. It's fairly common to let people with seniority (2+ years with company) to switch to remote arrangements because they have proven themselves as top performers.

In other words, if it's not a general/common practice at a company, introducing exceptions causes some overhead and requires additional effort. I would speculate that it might be easier for a brand new startup to just adopt a distributed team approach, then for established company to introduce remote arrangements.

I personally hope more startups consider distributed team setup and think that perhaps the trend has already began.

answered Apr 1 '14 at 19:29
2,835 points


Some startups do. Especially after being unsuccessful in finding a candidate locally for some time.

Managing remote team members has its own set of challenges. Some of which include:

  • Communication is slower with remote teams. Startups have to move at the speed of sound. It's often easier to explain something in person than it is to do over Skype or email.
  • Time zone collaboration
  • Motivation / team building (this one can vary based on how you manage them).

Those are the main reasons why most startups tend not to first look at remote candidates.

I feel the benefits out-weigh the cons though:

  • Exponentially larger talent pool.
  • Employees save time in commuting.
  • You save money in overhead (office space, etc.) and salaries.

Things you should look for when hiring remote people (in order of importance):

  1. Communication skills. The most important, for obvious reasons.
  2. Self motivated and results driven. Do these engineers have contributions to projects outside of their work experience? It's a good signal to notice.
  3. Punctuality when you schedule times to have a Skype call or Google Hangout. Working on your their own time is fine when results are being delivered, but if you schedule a particular time to have a virtual meeting, they should be punctual. Otherwise collaborating will be a problem.
answered Apr 1 '14 at 19:54
Gonzalo Patterson
136 points

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