4 tips for hiring remote finance talent

Organisations have a world of talent to choose from if they are willing to be flexible.
4 tips for hiring remote finance talent

The rise of remote work has expanded the talent pool, enabling finance departments and HR teams to find top candidates anywhere around the world. And while it may not be easy to form a globally diverse team, the benefits are often worth the effort.

“There are plenty of studies about how diversity drives better business outcomes,” said Godelieve van Dooren, CEO of South East Asia Growth Markets at Mercer, based in Singapore. “You get different skillsets and therefore more innovation, and you have more balanced teams that can come up with better solutions for a diverse client base. Is it hard work? Yes. Is it worth it? Yes.”

In addition to driving better business outcomes, globally diverse teams, located in different time zones, have the potential to work on projects around the clock, and they’re better positioned to establish a company presence in various hubs around the world.

If your organisation is looking to hire top remote finance talent, consider employing these tips for finding and recruiting candidates from a more diverse geographic range.

Build up referral networks. Without the option of in-person conferences and job fairs, organisations searching for remote global talent are turning to job boards, recruiting agencies, and referrals. Job boards can be a great way to cast a wide net, and recruiting agencies work well for filling high-level roles, but many companies have been finding success leveraging referral networks.

“Research over the years has proven that candidates who come in after being referred by a current employee have a higher retention rate than new employees sourced in any other manner,” said Sean Sullivan, chief human resources officer at the Society for Human Resource Management, which has its headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia.

Sullivan recommends companies offer a small-to-moderate referral bonus to get employees’ attention, properly advertise and communicate the referral programme internally, simplify the referral process, and make sure someone is promptly following up with potential candidates.

If your goal is to form a globally diverse team, communicate to your current employees that you’re actively searching for international candidates with experience working remotely.

“It’s all about referrals and connections now, and it’s safe to assume that people who build good connections are going to do really well remotely,” van Dooren said.

Create compelling job postings. In order to stand out from the barrage of wordy job listings, Sullivan recommends organisations approach the talent search in a more contemporary and engaging way.

He suggests companies try creating short video clips to get candidates hooked into the recruiting process, or condensing job descriptions to the essentials, focusing on your organisation’s purpose and why you’re excited to have this kind of talent.

“Video can make job postings more of a marketing tool, as opposed to a very one-dimensional job description, and the practice has really set firms apart,” Sullivan said. “For candidates who are looking at a number of different postings, that can be the hook.”

Look for green flags. Because technical skills are fairly straightforward to assess in finance professionals, Sullivan encourages hiring managers to focus on what he calls green flags.

Green flags are signs that the candidate could be a great fit for your organisation, and when it comes to remote work, green flags might include attributes such as adaptability, resilience, motivation, communication, and the ability to collaborate without face-to-face interaction.

While references can be helpful for pinpointing green flags, situational interviewing is often a better way to determine whether a candidate will work well remotely.

“With remote work, it’s really about deadlines and communication,” said Tom Gimbel, founder and CEO of LaSalle Network, a staffing, recruiting, and culture firm headquartered in Chicago. “I would ask them to tell me about a time they were up against a deadline. How did they communicate with their manager? You need to make sure people in remote work situations have top-notch verbal and written communication skills.”

Sullivan added that you might want to include stakeholders and representatives from other departments in the interview process to get multiple perspectives about the candidate, and for the candidate to get a sense of what your organisation is about.

“Expanding the notion of who is interviewing the candidate opens the aperture beyond one hiring manager,” Sullivan said.

Keep your funnel full. The remote hiring process cuts out the travel required for face-to-face interviews, which is all the more reason to always be searching for top global talent.

Gimbel recommends organisations get into the habit of “keeping their funnel full” by continuously interviewing people.

“You have to continually be talking to people for roles within your company, or else you’re reactive and you’re hiring out of need rather than desire for the right person,” Gimbel said.

Hannah Pitstick is a freelance writer based in the US. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Drew Adamek, an FM magazine senior editor, at