How to Build a Remote Tech Team

Building and successfully managing remote teams isn’t easy. It’s a common problem now because just over 50% of the global white-collar workforce are remote workers. By 2025, more than 36 million Americans will be fully remote.

Hiring remote staff for your IT team is just the first issue. Building teams and managing them into highly functional resources is a job all by itself.

As a staffing agency, Prosum understands this issue. Let’s look at the benefits of hiring remote talent as well as the challenges—and how you can overcome them.

Why Should You Hire Remote Talent?

The Next Web says, “Remote work is key in preventing the next great developer resignation.” One survey showed three-quarters of developers want permanent remote work arrangements for at least part of the week. Two-thirds say they are simply more productive when telecommuting. Beyond your efforts to meet the needs of the tech teams you hire, are there other benefits of hiring remote staff?

Reduce Expenses

This idea is simple to grasp; hiring remote employees is less expensive than having them come to an office. If you don’t hire them full-time, a contract may be an attractive alternative to experienced talent when you offer them remote work as the icing on their work cake. Of course, contract workers are employees of the staffing agency they work for, which means you as the end-client do not have to pay for benefits.

We already know remote work is a massive perk for most IT staff. Even if you’re building a full-time IT remote team, these jobs are so in-demand that the candidate may consider less pay to have the remote option. (Don’t assume this, mind you, but it’s something to consider when negotiating.) The cost of living in their home cities may be considerably less, not to mention remote workers save an average of $4,000 on commuting.

Then there are the cost savings associated with dumping your overpriced office space. The latest data shows companies save an average $11,000 per employee by going remote.

The financial savings, however, isn’t the only benefit of hiring remote IT staff.

Remote Teams Boost Productivity

Remote teams are more productive. There’s data now that shows:

  • The majority of remote workers say they are more productive when working from home.
  • Employee productivity has increased by 47% since working remotely.
  • One two-year study of more than 800,000 survey respondents showed that 87% of remote teams say they are more productive when not going to an office.
  • Remote employees also end up working about 1.4 more days each month.

Access National Tech Talent

Allowing remote work allows companies to pull from a national tech talent pool. One significant benefit for technology recruiting firms like Prosum is that we’re now hiring remote IT staff from a much wider pool. That means your time to hire goes down, and you spend less money finding resources. It’s an open market, only hampered by your ability to manage remote teams. Let’s look at how to build an effective remote team.

Tips for Hiring Remote Staff Hiring remote staff starts with three best practices:

  • Write better job descriptions
  • Leverage smarter and more intuitive digital hiring hubs
  • Hire a technology recruiting firm specializing in remote hiring

1. Write Effective Job Descriptions

We hear from IT talent almost every day that most IT job descriptions aren’t realistic. Job descriptions seem to become the dumping ground for every IT skill imaginable, and there is rarely a candidate that can fulfill every laundry list item we see in these ads.

A better job description starts with a skilled and experienced technology recruiting firm that can give your hiring team feedback on what kind of candidates the market will yield. The old laundry list ad just doesn’t work anymore. Instead, your organization must look at a job description from the perspective of the candidate and what’s in it for them.

With more than 10 million open jobs right now, top tech talent understands the reality that some employers haven’t yet recognized: candidates are interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. That means traditional ads just don’t work anymore. Traditional interview approaches where the candidate is eager for a role just don’t apply. Candidates have choices. They know it and you should, too. That means you must work harder to create a better candidate experience. This starts with an online job ad focused on the benefits of why a candidate would even want to consider your company.

2. Utilize Online Job Portals

Today’s modern applicant tracking systems (ATS) practically run themselves. Automation features allow you to schedule candidate communications in a way that keeps them engaged in the process. They also offer a single source of truth in a digital hub that’s as easy to access from any digital device for candidates as well as hiring teams.

From the perspective of an IT candidate, getting lost in the hiring process is like throwing your resume down a dark well. How many times do you hear candidate complaints that the recruiter ghosted them or they never even had an acknowledgment that their resume was received? Online job portals eliminate these, and other concerns that your hiring teams aren’t as efficient as possible and the candidate is suffering as a result. From the perspective of a recruiter who reviews dozens of resumes each day, an online job portal allows them to efficiently review candidates quickly, take notes directly in the candidate record, and even text or email that person to keep communication going. These tools are a win/win for everyone and if you don’t have them your recruiting process will quickly fall behind your competitors.

3. Leverage a Staffing Agency

Technology recruiting firms like Prosum focus increasingly on leveraging their skills with a national pool of candidates for employers. Most staffing agencies aren’t bound by state lines and can identify the IT talentanywhere they live. Hiring remote IT staff is much easier when you partner with technology recruiting firms. Prosum offers clients:

  • Advice and support on posting job ads
  • A proactive network of pre-vetted IT candidates
  • The best technology for recruiting and hiring
  • Resume reviews and candidate pre-screening
  • Technical interviews
  • Hiring negotiation

Building your remote workforce is easier and faster with a technology recruiting firm at your side. We help your HR teams focus less on finding talent and more on employee retention as well as building remote teams—or any other strategic initiative the company needs. But what is it that we look for when hiring remote IT talent? Because the candidates work autonomously off-site, there are a few soft skills that are critical.

Skills to Look for When Hiring Remote Developers

There are unique challenges when trying to build a remote team in IT. For example, when hiring remote developers, you must be sure that the coding ability of the team is up to par. While this is true for any IT candidate, it is particularly important for remote teams who aren’t working elbow-to-elbow, but instead screen-to-screen.

You must also clearly communicate your expectations for your remote workforce. For example, when are they required to answer Instant Messaging (IM)? Is this a 9 to 5 job or can the developer sling code when they’re at peak productivity at 2 a.m.? If you don’t want your remote developer to burn out as quickly as they come on, setting boundaries for the number of hours they should work and training managers not to ping anyone into the wee hours or on the weekends, will help protect your resources.

In this kind of environment, your remote IT staff should also have three critical skills to succeed, including collaboration and communication, critical thinking, and of course, technical skills.

1. Strong Communication Skills

Communication skills have always been critical for IT teams, even more so when working remotely. This includes having strong writing skills since so many communications are online when you are remote. The technical candidate should feel comfortable with video conferencing, as well. How skilled are they on the phone, email, IM, or video chat? Make sure your hiring process incorporates all of these tools.

2. Critical Thinking Abilities

Critical thinkers are self-starters that solve problems. They can work on their own initiative, which is important for anyone that thinks they want to work remotely. There are no supervisors looking over your shoulder in remote work. Remote teams must also know how to solve their own problems, applying excellent troubleshooting abilities to their job every day. It’s great if they have a track record of working independently but you should also screen for these skills to be sure they are solid critical thinkers comfortable with the autonomy that remote work requires.

3. Technical Proficiency

Make sure your hiring process screens for technical proficiency. If the candidate has a GitHub, have someone in IT review their code. You can also make use of technical testing, but ensure your existing IT teams review the tests available not only to pick the one that best fits your stack but that also isn’t overly simplistic for the job. One of the biggest complaints about online canned tests is that they seem to be based more on book learning concepts than the real-life application of code in a production environment. So, choose wisely, and make sure you have representation from real coders in your hiring process.

Hire IT Talent Remotely with Prosum

Prosum is a leading technology recruiting firm focusing on staffing in El Segundo, Phoenix, and Denver. We have a great deal of experience hiring remote IT talent. Let us help you build your remote team. Call on us today.