My one year anniversary recruiting a remote team

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Finding the right person for an open position can be tough for any company. Organizations tend to hire employees using a formula determined by multiple variables. In this article, I’m going to share my personal learnings on recruiting a remote team after one full year of recruiting for various positions.

A world map with portraits of Storyblok team members, each coming from a different country.

When Storyblok was looking for an SDR (Sales Development Rep), we had an internal requirement list including the following non-negotiables:

  • Experience in SaaS
  • Fluent in English
  • Excellent communication skills

Our formula looked like this:

Experience in SaaS + fluent english + excellent communication skills = SDR at Storyblok!

In our hiring practice, we decided against limiting our potential employee pool to only local talents, and so far, have never regretted it. When Dominik and Alex founded the company, they started it as location independent, and went all-in on being a fully remote team. And for the last year, we have been recruiting remotely and we now have team members scattered worldwide. While there have been some challenges, our team has expanded traditional mindsets and brought us incredible people from all over the world.

Here’s a deeper look into our recruiting process and what we learned over the past year.

Typically, companies add a requirement that reduces their candidate list enormously. That is, adding a specific working location. This changes the formula: Experience in SaaS + fluent english + excellent communication skills + based in Austria = SDR at Storyblok.

Job posting

Although we recruit remotely, we still mostly follow traditional recruiting processes:

  1. We have a position that needs to be filled.
  2. We discuss internally the needs of the company and the knowledge, experience, and values we need from applicants.
  3. Organizational frameworks are defined such as salary, start date, full-time or part-time, and where the position should be advertised.

In addition to posting open positions on our website, we also decided to use SmartRecruiters.

SmartRecruiters helps us publish our job posting on multiple platforms for free and manage our open job positions with email templates, a predefined recruiting process, and GDPR or document management. Having no restriction for location makes it easier for us to get good applications, as the worldwide talent market is much bigger than Austria.

Recruiting process

After the resume check, we have our first interview through google meet with a prepared questionnaire. The goal of this interview is to find out if the personality, experience, and expectations of the candidate would fit with our organization. For me, it is important to have a video meeting and not a phone call. It allows me to interact better with the candidates and share some company slides that would showcase Storyblok to them.

Every person who applies for a position is required to complete a work task. Sometimes the task would take place before the first call and sometimes after it. For example, when we were looking for a content creator, “writing” as a skill was more important than the background and the CV. That meant we prioritized the task over the video interview and only interviewed those candidates who had already presented a good solution to their task. Meanwhile, when we were recruiting for an SDR position, we needed a person who was going to be very outgoing and would be a representative for Storyblok. So the task came second after the interview.

The task should help explain the role to each candidate; what they will do in the future if they work for Storyblok. Also, it allows us to understand how the person works and handles working for a remote company. In my opinion, this is one of the most important parts of the process, as we need people who can do tasks independently, without needing much guidance. Surprisingly, the results of the tasks are sometimes completely different than what we expect and greatly affect our decisions.

Honesty and authenticity are strongly valued by the recruiting team. During the whole recruiting process, the main goal is to find the right candidate to fit our team long-term. Opening up our recruiting worldwide gave me the chance to speak to amazing people with incredible stories to tell.

A magnifying glass looking at a world map, searching for the perfect candidate.

Offering process

Once we pick the perfect candidate, we have our biggest challenge yet in the process. We have to find answers to the following questions: How should we employ the person? How do we deal with the regulations in different countries? How should we onboard a person remotely?

When we did our research about remote hiring, we found platforms like remote.com or www.letsdeel.com. After trying out and evaluating each platform, we decided to go with Deel as a partner. Deel allows us to hire people around the world, and they take care of legal compliance and payroll. The professional legal advice, their worldwide network and ability to onboard us in a very short time, were the reasons to work with Deel.

Because Storyblok is committed to diversity and inclusion, we decided to use Austrian guidelines regarding social benefits and employer rights as minimum standards. We strive to create a hiring environment where all people feel they are equally respected and valued, irrespective of gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age, religion, or citizenship. Thus our decision to offer every employee the same holiday regulation, social benefits, and employer protection.

Remote team

We are so proud to report that we now have 30 talents representing 12 nationalities working at Storyblok! Each person brings their own value and unique culture to the company. Just this week a new employee commented “It is amazing to see such a motivated, happy and productive team.” I haven’t met one person without an interesting story to tell who hasn’t impressed me in at least one way. Removing just one limitation (local talent only) from the hiring formula has brought amazing people to our company who have contributed so many diverse ideas and talents.

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