Fishing for Top Talent in the Digital Hiring Pool

With office buildings closed across America and work piling up, the need for experienced remote workers is high.  If you are used to perusing resumes, then scheduling face-to-face interviews, hooking complete unknowns from a digital pond might feel like casting blind.   So how do you go about sourcing and hiring top-notch remote workers – remotely?  

Start with good bait 

Hopefully, your company already has a stellar hiring reputation and a strong internet presence.  Why does this matter?  Because online job ads are only the tickler.  Once top e-talent bites, the only way you will hook them is if one or two clicks lands them right in the middle of your amazing corporate story!   Digital presence is paramount; be easy to find on multiple sites and go over-board explaining your culture, dynamic work environment, and the benefits that mobile professionals seek.  

If you have not Googled your company lately, do it today.  Does it take more than a few clicks to get jobs or company information?  If so, take steps to broaden your reach using selected media choices.  For example, if you use a recruiting platform or job boards, make your company profile and job descriptions read like a ‘best place to work.’  

Are your Contact and Careers links accessible on the main page of your website?  Have you highlighted positive reviews and employee testimonials that tell the story about what it is like to work at your company?  Do search engines list your website, profile on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter?  

Are you also listed on rating websites like Yelp, Google Reviews, or Glassdoor?  If so, then part of the HR branding strategy should be to acknowledge great reviews and immediately address negative posts because fish and bad reviews stink after three days.  

Ensure that job postings are attractive and clearly explain the role, as well as the values, diversity, benefits, and perks that digital nomads prize, and you’ll be sure to land high-level virtual candidates!


Your virtual hiring plan should not differ markedly from an interview process once you get a pool of applications from which to choose.  First, review applications, cover letters, and job experience.  Don’t automatically dismiss cross-country candidates; after all, the best part of remote work is that you can hire from anywhere.  Give priority to telecommuting experience.  According to Payscale, nearly 5% of the U.S. workforce was working remotely full time before COVID, and 53% have worked at least half-time at home, so look to add at least one experienced person to help lead and monitor an amateur digital team.  

If hiring several candidates at once, schedule a webinar, or post a video to explain the hiring process, pre-employment tests, and required skills.  Using your company’s preferred remote app for a group introduction, like Zoom or Google Hangouts, will help you get a sense of how technologically adept people are communicating remotely using current teaming technology.  

As you narrow the pool, begin scheduling remote interviews.  Look for excellent communication skills and ask for examples of collaboration, self-discipline, and time management, aside from technical abilities.  Ideally, the meeting should include direct team members and those they will work or report to within levels in the organization.  Immediately after the interview, discuss or collect feedback from your interviewers to help you make the final selection.  


To land the ideal candidate, you need to offer a package that they’ll value.  In a 2019 Harris poll commissioned by app company Zapier, top reasons to eschew the office were to save money (48%), the ability to work anywhere (47%), extra time with family (44%), and that they could be more productive at home (35%).  

In the same poll, 66% of knowledge workers think the office is a dead pool, so expect your remote worker to be already working in the future.  Job offerings should acknowledge this reality by not dictating working environments but also be clear about the position’s requirements.  Remote workers value flexibility, autonomy, and clearly-set work product goals and timelines.  Help them visualize what working with your office staff and other remote teams will look like, so they can bow out early if the job is not a fit.

The community of working nomads is also used to transparency as many remote tech companies publish their salaries and benefits on jobs boards.  Educate yourself on pay and benefits standards and expect some negotiation.  Still not sure if an eager candidate will suit?   Many companies offer a paid work trial on a real project, which is a great option is you are still unsure how managing a digital worker will go.  

Baiting, reeling, and landing the ideal remote candidate is a different process from hiring in-person.  But with a thoughtful hiring process, including pre-employment tests, remote interviews, and appropriate expectations by you and your candidate, you will attract, process, and land your perfect candidate!