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WP Buffs is based on remote employees around the globe. We asked Joe to share with us some of the struggles and the insights he had about hiring employees from other continents.

“Yeah, for sure. I really like doing video, like we’re doing right now. It allows me to see someone, to read body language, to really see if I connect with someone. I think that that’s important, but there are people who have been successful in other ways. If you look at Automattic and how they hire, I don’t think they do any video interviews during the hiring process. It’s all written because that’s what a lot of their communication is like in Automattic. Just because I think that one way is a good way to do it, there are people who are successful doing it the other way. I’m always of the … Whenever I say this is how I did something, I always make sure that there’s the asterisk that says, ‘this is how I did it’. It doesn’t mean that’s how you have to do it, but try and take lessons, and at the end of the day, make your own decision.

But yeah, hiring remote is difficult. We’re pretty lucky at this point that we’re able to. We’re hiring. This is good. We’re hiring for someone to help us with growth and marketing right now, so if there are any listeners out there that are looking for a marketing position, come talk to me please. But we’re pretty lucky at this point. We drive a lot of traffic to our website. Like I mentioned before, SEO is kind of my thing, so we drive a lot of traffic to the website. I can put a banner on the top of every page on the website that says we’re hiring this person, like we have right now on the website. That actually drives a good number of applications for positions. Almost all those people are WordPress centric because they did a search on Google to find a solution to a WordPress problem, and they found our blog. That’s a nice way to be able to do that for us.

Yeah, I mean in terms of interview process, in terms of actually what it looks like from application to actually bringing someone onto the team, it’s difficult for sure to pick the right person because there are so many factors that are going to make someone an excellent remote employee. They have to be a good technician or a good worker. They have to have good skills at what they do. They have to be able to work remotely. That’s in itself a skill. Some people I talked to about remote work are like, “I love it. It’s great for me,” but some people are like, “I need an office. I need to be going somewhere.” I totally get that, but that person would probably not be someone I’d want to hire on my remote team. Yeah.

Then there are factors like longevity almost. It’s hard to … There are so many factors. I struggle trying to find out in a two to three week peek into someone’s life. You’re never going to know someone who’s applying for job so well in three weeks. Compare that to your best friend of 15 years. It’s hard to get to know people in such a short amount of time, to say this person is 100% sure the right selection. Yeah.

I think that the key thing for me is before we hire for any position, if people want to go to our website to check out our positions we’re hiring for, every position has key objectives that we’re looking for, for that person to accomplish. So for our marketer, we want you to double traffic to the blog in the first year. We want you to help out with double the amount of meetings we have based on new email subscribers, or based on conversion of HubSpot sequences. We have very data-driven, here’s what we need this position to do.

Then when I’m going through and looking at applications and I’m interviewing people, first thing I’m looking at, I’m not really even looking at fit, culture fit. I’m not really even looking at … I’m not looking at a lot of stuff. The first thing I want to know is, is this person going to be able to accomplish the goals and objectives we have for this position? In terms of culture fit, I want to make sure I’m being explicit, I for sure think that’s extremely important. Just because I said I don’t pay attention to it at the beginning doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention to it. That to me is much more part of the interview process and the video process, like you and me, Matan.

We’re on this call right now. When we hopped on, you were super friendly at first. We have this good rapport. I’m like, ‘Oh, Matan is awesome. I would work with this guy more.’ That’s something that is important to me. I think that if someone’s going to be on video with our team every day and be part of our team in Slack every day, they have to have a good rapport with people. That’s something I think I can figure out, and have our team help figure out on the call as well. Another thing I’ll do is I’ll bring in other people on the team who would be working with that person directly, and have them do some of the parts of the interview, and have them ask questions so they can get to know that candidate. That’s kind of post-initial interview.