I’m not in that same situation, although I have some supply-side perspective. I imagine it’s just as challenging to hire remote employees as it is to find and hire on with a remote team.
Yegor Bugayenko is a blogger and programmer who runs a distributed team of developers. One of the ways he evaluates them is on the basis of their Stack Overflow profile, as it showcases the ability to formulate and answer questions in writing. Those skills seem a lot more critical to the remote team than the open office, where one can just walk over and interrupt someone with a question. Plus, there’s a reputation component to a SO profile which arguably represents community feedback as a metric of know-how or expertise.
Jason Fried (who of course wrote a book on remote teams) has talked about looking beyond just portfolios to try and get a sense of who candidates are as a person: “We tend to look at what they’ve done for themselves in their spare time, for fun…when you could do whatever you want, what would you do? Would you do anything?”
So those are two very different examples, though specific to certain roles.
I’m really curious to hear others’ thoughts on this topic.