What to Look for When Hiring Remote Employees?

Guest Author | 4/8/2019 | Recruiting

Learn what to look for when hiring remote employees, so you can build a productive and reliable remote team. Working from home is a much different experience than working in an office, so it is only wise to look for specific qualities that make candidates suitable for a remote position.

What to Look for When Hiring Remote Employees?

Remote work - new workplace trend

Since the standardization of the internet in the professional world, every year has brought a host of programs and devices to help facilitate virtual work. 

With wide accessibility of WiFi, online meeting spaces, and a shift to digital documents, telecommuting was born. 

Telecommuting is becoming an increasingly common practice in companies across the world. 

Actually, flexible horus and workspace is one of the key workplace trends in 2019.

Remote work-key-wrkplace-trend

Remote work benefits

Remote work is a fantastic way to reduce commute time, save money, and improve employee satisfaction. 

A survey by CoSo Cloud revealed that 77% of remote workers reported greater productivity.

Remote-work-benefits

➡️ Check out the list of tools that will make your HR team more productive: 13 Must-Have Tools for Ambitious HR Teams!

How to build a great remote work culture?

However, without the structure and discipline provided by an office setting, some employees may tend to slack off and take undue advantage of the remote working option. 

For remote working, it is best to hire people who are accountable and productive without someone having to monitor their every action. In addition, employers should have an effective internal communications strategy

By hiring talent with the skills to succeed in a virtual workplace, you can build a solid remote work culture

How to hire remote employees?

In this article we discuss some of the things to look for when hiring remote employees, so you may build a productive and reliable remote team

Working from home is a much different experience than working in an office, so it is only wise to look for specific qualities that make candidates suitable for a remote position.

Important skills a successful remote worker 

TalentLMS recently published a very interesting Remote Work Survey.  

They asked remote workers  to pick the most important skills a successful remote worker should master. 

Remote workers higlighted these top 4 skills as the most important:

  1. Time management
  2. Organizational skills
  3. Communication
  4. Self-discipline

What skills should you look for in remote candidates?

Here are the top 10 skills you should look for in your remote candidates: 

1. Communication and collaborative skills

Remote team members don’t have the luxury of being seen around in the office, so they must be able and willing to quickly and effectively communicate with other team members. Poor communication skills can hamper the productivity of the whole team. 

When it comes to remote working, it is often safer to err on the side of communicating too frequently than less. Hiring candidates who do not possess the level of written and oral communication skills required can create frustration all around and cost the company time and money.

2. Prioritizing results over activity

A productive remote employee will prioritize final results over empty tasks and sheer number of hours worked. Being an efficient remote worker is not just about logging in and reporting to duty at a specific time every day. 

It is more about accomplishing results and being accountable without a supervisor having to look over their shoulders. Hiring remote employees who understand that results are more important than just filling the day with activities.

3. Ability to plan and execute

When team members work towards a specific goal, they are given clear guidelines on what is expected of them. For a remote worker to be highly productive, they need to have the ability to plan and execute their share of work without being spoon-fed every step of the way. 

Remote working is different from being in an office where one can just lean over to a coworker’s desk and have quick discussions about the project. 

4. Ability to work independently

Very often you will find that candidates who look great on paper and over a phone interview can stumble when they are actually tasked with completing a project. It would be a mistake to hire remote employees without putting the candidate on a test project. 

While they work on the test project, look for things like self-sufficiency, ability to do their own research etc. Remote workers must have the ability to work independently and figure things out on their own.

5. Positive attitude and easy to work with

Reported benefits of telecommuting include lower stress levels and higher productivity. However, while a company may have a great company culture in-office, it could be a challenge to ensure telecommuting employees have the same experience. As a result, it’s important to find workers who can stay positive and motivate themselves.

Collaborating with a team member who is not in the same physical space as others can be difficult even under the best of circumstances. A negative attitude can really make things difficult and affect the productivity and morale of the whole team. Look for positive people who get along well with others and can handle stressful situations.

6. Strong sense of accountability

If a team member does not complete their tasks on time or does a shabby job, the whole team suffers. If a task is not completed within a deadline, it may delay other dependent tasks and ultimately the project takes a hit and the company loses money. 

Remote workers need to prove themselves to be reliable and trustworthy members of their team. Other team members need to know that they don’t have to worry about the tasks that are given to their remote colleagues. During the interview process, assess for this trait specifically. 

7. Motivated in the right ways

Find out why exactly a candidate is seeking a remote position. Unfortunately, many employees see telecommuting as a way to take it easy

Ask what specific benefits they are looking for – is it flexibility, avoiding commute time, spending more time with family or anything else. Remote employees need to be completely committed to your company’s mission and must be motivated to contribute to something bigger than themselves.

8. Responsive

It can be nerve-wracking to work with a remote employee who does not respond to emails, chats, or phone calls on time. The team will be left wondering where they are with the tasks that have been assigned to their remote coworker. 

The best remote workers are those who understand the need for communication and frequently update the team on where they stand. Even during the hiring process, if you find that they are not responsive enough, it may be better to look for a better candidate. 

9. Technical aptitude

Remote working is ideally suited for those with an in-depth understanding of digital tools. They are able to troubleshoot technical issues on their one, without having to sacrifice hours of work before support gets back to them. Having technical aptitude also ensures that confidential data stays secure within remote teams.

10. The right mindset

An employee with the right attitude and a growth mindset is far more likely to be successful than one who may be qualified but has a bad attitude and is entitled. 

Hiring people who may have advanced degrees but without the right mindset can quickly become a liability. Especially when interviewing for remote positions, identify candidates who truly believe in the work they’ll be doing.

Conclusion: Hiring the right people is the key to having a successful remote team 

Managing a remote team takes a high level of trust and great members who you know will get the job done. There are many rewards of remote working

Telecommuting brings benefits to both the company and workers, so if you hire the right people and use the right remote working tools, there much to gain. 

Hiring the right people is the foundation of any successful virtual team!

About the author 

Megan McQuade, SHRM-SCP, is Community Relations Director at executive search firm, TruPath. 

TruPath helps established organizations find culturally aligned talent for a variety of roles across multiple industries.

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