Hiring and Managing Successful Remote Teams
Engineering Manager at LinkedIn
"When I was working at Walmart, I was tasked with hiring an entirely new team. I had a project with a lot of consultants, and it is a real challenge to hire in the San Francisco Bay area, as the marketplace for engineers is extremely competitive. I had worked with remote developers before, so I worked to convince my manager to search nationwide and to find developers who could work remotely."
"While I received a lot of resistance to this plan, as Walmart prefers teams to be co-located, it was the only way we could hire enough people for our project in the limited timeframe that was available for us. However, there were a lot of advantages to this plan, as I was able to find more people, and I was able to find people who were passionate about Walmart."
"I wanted people who worked in similar time zones and who were in the United States, in order to avoid cultural issues. It's very important to have an overlap of time when all the team is working at the same time, so I only considered people who were three to four hours away in terms of timezone. We also flew candidates to our office to be interviewed, as I felt it was important to meet them in real life. In addition, I set up a system where the remote workers could come and visit our headquarters twice a year, in order to get to know their Bay area colleagues and to build comradery."
"Over the course of six months, I ended up recruiting a team of fourteen people, with eight of the team working remotely. It was a high-performing team, but it was still a challenge, as Walmart still strongly preferred having everyone co-located. When managing a team with remote workers, it's important to ensure that they have a clear direction, and it's important to trust your workers. In addition, when hiring remote developers you should focus on more experienced, senior developers, as it's difficult to have enough oversight and to be able to mentor and train junior developers remotely."
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