Q&A w/ Chris DeLuca

What do hiring managers look for when hiring remote applicants?

Welcome, everyone! And hello to new readers of the newsletter. I had the chance to meet and chat with Chris DeLuca, founder of The Memo a newsletter that focuses on connecting job seekers to remote jobs. Check our AMA with Chris and

-Irma

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Irma: Hi Chris! Can you tell the Remote Newbie community a little about your background?

Chris: I spent about five years as a reporter, covering a range of VC-backed companies in tech and healthcare for Mergermarket. I then transitioned into a marketing and comms role with an early-stage crypto/blockchain startup, while building out a newsletter focused on early-stage startups and the process of raising capital. While building out that newsletter, I saw that many startups were willing to consider remote candidates for roles but who didn’t brand themselves as remote-first and weren’t broadcasting that fact in their job placements. I saw an opportunity to connect job-seekers with those roles and The Memo was born.

Irma: Right now you're leading things up at The Memo. Tell us about who The Memo is for and what inspired you to start it?

Chris: From a high-level, The Memo is for anyone that’s interested in finding a remote role. They don’t need to be fully sold on the idea yet but they’re at least interested in seeing what types of roles are out there.

That said, there are a few customer/member personas that I’ve defined. One is people that have recently gone through a coding boot camp and eager to find a new role. Another centers around technical folks, not necessarily programmers, who have worked at legacy tech companies and who have recently made a move to a new city.

As I mentioned above, the inspiration to start The Memo came when I learned of companies that were willing to consider remote candidates for roles but who made no mention of that publicly. It can be really difficult to land a role and I wanted to create a community where I could give people a leg up in the application process.

The other motivation to launch the newsletter was that I was seeing many early-stage startups that were openly hiring remote candidates but who weren’t offering stock options/equity in the company. Working for an early-stage startup is incredibly difficult and all employees, whether they’re working in-house or remote, should have exposure to the upside if the company is a success. I wanted to specifically highlight roles where remote-friendly early-stage startups offered equity but I’ve since come to learn that the problem is much more complex, especially for international startups with employees in many different regions.

It’s definitely something that as the newsletter and community grows I want to devote more attention to shining a light on and serving as an advocate for. 

Irma: From your perspective, what's the biggest challenge your community of remote workers and makers face in terms of finding a remote job?

Chris: The biggest challenge is finding the time or energy to either find a side door into the company and/or create a personalized application that’s really going to stand out. I do some interviews with startups and whenever I hear that they’re hiring remotely, I try to connect someone in our community to the hiring manager. 

Irma: On the opposite end, what's the biggest challenge you see companies face in terms of hiring qualified remote candidates?

Chris: They’re being inundated with candidates that don’t match the criteria for the role and going through the entire pipeline of candidates takes time and resources. But, from a job applicant perspective, they apply to one role, don’t hear anything back and don’t have any feedback that they can use to strengthen their application moving forward. I imagine that if hiring companies provided more feedback about why they’re passing on a candidate it would be net better for all parties. 

Irma: What advice would you give to someone who's looking to stand out when applying to a remote job? What steps can they take?

Chris: A few things: first, find someone’s email address at the company. Bonus if you can find someone that can make an intro. Second, craft a highly personalized cover letter; go out your way to demonstrate both enthusiasm for the problem that the company is trying to solve and that you can add value. Finally, have someone review your CV. For members of the community, I’ve offered to review their CVs and cover letters and at this point I’ve gone through hundreds of CVs. Biggest takeaways: keep things simple and demonstrate impact with concrete numbers rather than listing tasks. 

Irma: What are you enjoying outside of running The Memo? (books, hobbies, traveling, communities, etc.)

Chris:

In terms of hobbies, I’m into optimizing nutrition and improving my three-mile run time (which has been put on hold because of social distancing). 

Irma: Where can people go to learn more about you? Your newsletter/blog?

Chris:


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