The problems with remote hiring – and how we are solving them

3 min and 31 sec to read, 881 words

The biggest question on our minds today at Grow Remote is this. Why are remote jobs – which are open to everyone across the country – still landing in urban areas, rather than being distributed more equally across the country? Why are candidates in rural locations being told by recruiters that there are no remote jobs in their area? 

What is the problem? And more importantly, how can we solve it?

The reality is that, despite the potential for remote work to transform how we live and work, there are still many systematic barriers that are preventing us from realising its full potential.  

At the heart of the problem is the fact that the infrastructure, technology and systems for driving awareness of remote jobs is simply not fit for purpose. Despite a significant rise in the number of remote jobs available, we are still trying to promote and advertise these jobs using a system that was not built for them. It’s a bit like trying to watch an Ultra HD movie on an old TV from the 80s – it just doesn’t work. 

This is because fully remote companies advertise their roles differently to traditional location-based roles. This can be within a single tax jurisdiction (eg. the job is only open to candidates in Ireland); a timezone or a specific group of countries (eg. the job is only open to candidates in Ireland, Spain and Portugal or only in Europe): or sometimes the job is available in any country globally.

So you can already see how this could cause complexity and lead to problems, both for the companies and for the candidates. 

Lack of Awareness

Global fully remote companies like Gitlab, Zapier, Doist and Buffer are not names that are widely known in Ireland. And when hiring, these companies do not look in a particular location or country – they hire wherever the talent is. So talented candidates in local communities are missing out, purely because they haven’t heard about these companies. 


Advertising fully remote jobs is completely different from advertising traditional office-based roles. Even companies that are more well known struggle to reach potential candidates in every town in Ireland.  These companies do not advertise their jobs in the local paper or on the local radio, usually the jobs are posted on their company career site. So how do talented candidates in local communities hear about them? There is no mechanism to make this happen. 

Traditional business model 

There is no one place or platform for a candidate to find all the remote job opportunities that are open where they live. This is because no one gets paid to promote those jobs, or to educate potential candidates on how to reach them. 

Traditional recruiters don’t seem to fully understand how this new market works. This week we took a call from a qualified accountant who had just moved back to Ballinasloe from Sydney and was looking for a remote role. The recruiters she had spoken to told her there were no remote jobs available in the West of Ireland. 

Current job platforms are full of jobs that are advertised as ‘remote’ but when you look at the small print you find out that they require you to be in the office. 

And Applicant Tracking Systems and most job platforms still require you to add a location when advertising a remote job, which does not work for jobs that are available across multiple locations, or even globally. 

Even on job platforms that advertise only remote jobs, such as EU Remote Jobs, it is difficult to find all the remote jobs that are available in your specific location. Usually candidates search these sites by their location, but if the job is tagged as ‘EU’ or ‘EMEA’ you may not find it when you search ‘Ireland’. But when you search ‘EU’ or ‘EMEA’ you will find hundreds of jobs that may only be available in certain countries in these regions – not all will be available in Ireland. 

It’s hugely frustrating, not only for candidates but also for employers who are not reaching as wide as they could with their remote job opportunities. 

These are not easy challenges to solve but this is why Grow Remote exists. We have made this issue our number one problem to solve. We are running several initiatives designed to bridge the gap between talented candidates in local communities and great remote employers who are searching for talented people. 

Our top priority initiative is our new Mentoring Programme, where we will match high potential candidates with companies who are looking for the top remote talent. We are looking for great Mentors to join us on this programme so if you are employed at a remote company and want to meet with talented individuals who are looking for a remote job then sign up today

You will get valuable experience in mentoring, access to a fun and vibrant new community, and also play your part in driving positive social change through volunteering with us and supporting our social mission. Your company will also gain access to new talent pools and have a tangible positive social impact by addressing the unequal access to remote employment that exists today. 

Join us in our mission to solve the problems of remote!

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