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The remote work hiring process

Published by Andrea Cannistraci on 22 May 2019


Remote work is becoming mainstream. The benefits of remote work range from no commute (hello Angelenos!), to increased productivity, to happier and healthier workers, to flexibility and more. But what does the remote work hiring process actually look like? I spoke with Zach Montroy, Director of People & Team Strategy with Summit CPA Group about the remote work hiring process, and here’s what he had to say:

Andrea: What does the remote work hiring process look like? Where do you start?

Zach: The hiring process actually looks very similar to a brick-and-mortar company process. However, being a distributed firm allows us to be more agile in the process and we’re able to expand our possibilities. For example, we have the opportunity to recruit talent from anywhere in the USA, and we don’t have the added costs of relocation. The way we advertise for the job is different as well. We target a variety of markets and hone in on areas of expertise by tapping into platforms such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Virtual Vocations, and FlexJobs.

 Andrea: Do you interview candidates remotely as well?

Zach: We do. Our team is in front of a screen interacting with colleagues and clients every day, so it’s a perfect filter. It’s important to see how candidates interact with the camera, and also how they handle the technology. We utilize the power of our team in every step asking candidates about their professional journey, how they live out our core values, what their core values are, and we test for things like emotional intelligence and job skills. For our Virtual CFOs, we do interviews in person as well.

Andrea: How does culture fit into the hiring process?

Zach: We take our core values very seriously and we work to live them out daily. We ask our candidates examples of how they live out our core values and what they look like to them. We’re “changing the way people think about accounting”– it’s at the core of who we are, and we need to ensure the candidates’ values align with Summit CPA Group. Studies have found that Emotional Intelligence accounts for 60% of job success so we test for that in our process as well. Emotional intelligence testing gives us a good sense of how the candidate will interact with others and how their emotions play into, and help manage, relationships.

Andrea: Do you require candidates to perform test projects?

Zach: We use case studies as a way to assess past performance and knowledge around the job. We ask candidates how they would approach situations. This allows us to see first-hand how the candidate will likely function in the environment. 

Andrea: What is the biggest challenge of hiring remotely?

Zach: If you had told me 10 years ago that I’d be hiring people without ever meeting them in person, I would have called you crazy. I think there is value in spending extended lengths of time with a candidate, but that can be done virtually as well. Spending an entire day with a candidate is really telling. Anyone can be in character for an hour or two, but throughout a day, you really see their personality and how they handle different situations. You lose a bit of that aspect with remote hiring, but we’ve really tried to compensate for this in our process to make sure we’re getting the right people on the bus and getting them in the right seats quickly.

Andrea: What’s the biggest opportunity of hiring remote workers?

Zach: Being able to pull from a larger geographic area. I can find the best of the best when I don’t have any geographic limitations. Remote work opens up opportunity for people with expertise who have “traditional work hour” limitations. We’re also helping people get their lives back. When we lived in Chicago, my wife commuted 3 hours each day. That was 15 hours of her week, GONE. It also helps team members be more efficient, I’m able to collaborate and be social, but working remotely allows our team members to focus when they need that space as well.

Andrea: What qualities do you see in remote workers?

Zach: Grit, resilience, adaptability, strong work ethic, integrity. The tech tools we use as a remote company are always changing, and at Summit CPA Group we are always embracing new technology. Our team must be comfortable with technology and with change. Self-discipline is huge. As a remote worker you must be able to shut it off. No one is going to show up with their best self if they are working 24/7.

(For more insights into creating a profitable CFO practice, check out our playbook: Building the Virtual CFO Firm in the Cloud, by Jody Grunden.)

Want to work for one of the top 100 remote companies? Visit the Summit CPA Group’s career opportunities page.

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