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Recruiting remote workers is different. Here’s how to tackle the first step

Attracting the strongest remote workers begins with your approach to writing a remote job description. Here are 8 things you must include.

Recruiting remote workers is different. Here’s how to tackle the first step
[Photo: Ketut Subiyanto/Pexels]
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According to a new FlexJobs survey of people who have been working remotely during the pandemic, 65% would prefer to work remotely full-time post-pandemic, while 31% would like a combination of remote and in-office work. An overwhelming majority also report that they have been either more productive (51%) or just as productive (44%) working from home. Companies are taking note of the bottom line benefits of remote work and many businesses are making permanent shifts to a remote workforce.

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FlexJobs has seen a significant increase in the number of companies hiring for remote positions, too. Despite a slower overall job market, there was a 12% increase in remote job listings in August over July, and previous pandemic months saw steady increases as well. We’ve also seen an increase in the number of new companies recruiting remote workers, with a 10% increase in Q2 over Q1, and a 53% jump in Q3 over Q2.

Many strategies have been shared around the importance of building healthy remote company cultures, measuring the productivity of remote workers, and overall best practices regarding the management of remote workers. All of these factors are critical to the success of both fully remote and hybrid workplaces. But what companies need to know about hiring great remote workers is that it starts with crafting a winning remote job description.

While the description for a remote job includes much of the same information as any job description, there are some remote-specific elements that should be included. As someone who has been hiring remote employees for many years at FlexJobs and Remote.co—both of which are fully remote companies—these tips should make your remote job descriptions more efficient and effective.

Use the right keywords

Clarify upfront that it is a remote position. Just like you use common and often searched job titles in your job description, you should also use commonly searched remote keywords. Using the right remote lingo in the job description helps applicants understand that it’s a remote role and helps your job search appear in the search results of people looking for remote positions.

Consider adding some of these common remote keywords to your job description:

  • Work at home
  • Work from home
  • Remote
  • Distributed
  • Work from anywhere
  • Virtual
  • Home office

Define “remote”

Just because you’re offering remote work doesn’t necessarily mean staff can work from home 100% of the time. You may need them to come into the office a few days a week for meetings or training. Likewise, a position may be remote during the pandemic but shift to in-office work once it’s safe.

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Define what remote and flexible means for the role now and in the future. Clearly identify what happens to the role if it’s remote during the pandemic. Can people still work from home when things return to normal? Will it revert to five days in the office, or just a few? If the remote aspect of the role is temporary, make sure that is crystal clear in the job description, so there’s no room for misunderstanding later.

Define “flexible”

Many remote jobs include a certain level of flexibility when it comes to working hours. However, that doesn’t always mean staff can work whatever hours they want. If staff must be “on” during certain hours per your human resource department’s remote work policy, call that out clearly in the job description.

For example, if someone must be working between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Eastern Time, spell that out in the job description. If you don’t, you may find that employees are rarely available during that time, making it difficult to conduct team meetings or client business.

Clarify the location

A common misconception about remote work is that someone can live anywhere and still work for a remote company, but that is not always the case. Many remote companies (and around 95% of remote jobs) have location requirements for tax reasons or because of local employment laws. Some companies allow employees to work from home, but they must live close to the office for meetings or to be near the client base.

Whatever the reason, specify where someone must live when they work remotely for you. In some cases, you may also need to spell out why someone needs to live in a specific region. If it’s for clients, say so. Or, if it’s to attend regular weekly meetings, explain that, too.

Specify where the work can take place

Beyond a country or a state location, your remote role may have additional location requirements. For example, someone handling sensitive personal information may not be allowed to work from a different location if they’re traveling to visit family. Even if the work doesn’t involve sensitive information, you may not want staff logging into company servers from a public Wi-Fi connection.

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If the job requires certain location requirements beyond a city or state, mention that with an explanation of why. “Because you will be handling confidential client information, you must work from your home office. You cannot work in a public location (like a coffee shop or the library).”

Describe the equipment

Be specific about what technology staff needs. Do they require a certain kind of computer? What about internet speed or a VPN? Describe all equipment the company will provide to the employee, as well as any technical support or equipment stipends you make available to virtual workers.

If you expect employees to provide their own equipment, spell out that requirement clearly in the job description.

Also, define what software programs people will use. While many things are cloud-based these days, you may still require staff to have certain licenses to access these programs. Define what they should have and who is paying for it.

Mention the meetings

Some remote companies have mandatory once or twice a year meet-ups for the entire company. And while some positions offer flexibility and control over daily scheduling, staff may still have to be on call for certain hours. Although flexible work usually gives people control over their work hours, there may still be required meetings on X day at Y time. Make sure you include these mandatory meetings in the job description or be prepared to communicate those during the interview process at a minimum.

Include the preferred/required platforms

Crystal clear communication is critical when it comes to having a successful remote team, and there are a plethora of options for platforms and tools for remote companies to choose from. Be sure to include the specific communication and collaboration platforms that the company uses to ensure your candidates have experience with your company’s preferred/required technologies.

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Your remote job descriptions are your first chance to set the stage for applicants, so tell them what to expect and communicate clearly to lay a solid recruiting foundation.


Carol Cochran is the VP of People & Culture at FlexJobs and Remote.co.