What to Look for When Hiring Remote Employees

Nicholas Mushayi / Posted On: 22 June 2022 / Updated On: 1 December 2022 / Human Resources General / 58

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What to Look for When Hiring Remote Employees



The pandemic greatly accelerated the trend toward remote work. What started as a necessity for many organizations soon turned into an advantage. Companies found they could save money on overhead by not having to rent out office space. Employees enjoyed the freedom of working from home.

 

However, not everyone is suited for remote work. Someone may be a great employee but struggle when outside the traditional office setting. To help find candidates suited for remote work, here are some qualities to consider during the hiring process.


Are They Trustworthy?

Remote work often means minimal supervision, which requires trust.

 

Candidates present the best version of themselves during the interview. And many resumés contain inaccuracies. A comprehensive reference check will provide insight into a candidate’s skills, experience, and character.

 

However, to get a complete understanding of a candidate, it’s important to ask the right questions. If you’re looking for a thorough pre-employment screening, check Triton for reference check solutions.

 

Are They Self-Disciplined?

Self-discipline is one of the best predictors of who will succeed in a remote work position. Without the presence of a manager, some employees may struggle to stay productive. Others may take advantage by slacking off.

 

Self-discipline is a soft skill that can be difficult to assess during an interview. Ask them to provide a situation where they demonstrated self-discipline in a previous role. For instance: “Can you give me an example of when you had some extra time available at your last job that you were able to use productively?”

 

Do They Take Initiative?

While an employee may be disciplined, they can still struggle to take initiative without a supervisor telling them what to do. Remote work often requires employees to take matters into their own hands to solve problems or reach out to someone to get the necessary information.

 

You don’t want a remote worker who always needs to be micromanaged.

 

Ask them to tell you about an instance where they were able to complete a task despite several hurdles with minimal supervision.

 

Are They Organized?

Even the hardest workers will stumble unless they’re organized. Remote workers must be able to juggle deadlines on their own. Unless they have a system to keep track of everything, they’re bound to make a mistake at some point.

 

Give a candidate a scenario where they have to complete several different tasks with varying timelines. Ask them how they would organize their time to ensure everything is completed on time.

 

Do They Practice Self-Care?

According to a survey by the American Psychiatric Association from May 2021, nearly two-thirds of people working from home feel isolated at times. Almost 20 per cent report feeling lonely all the time.

 

So much of the pleasure of work involves interacting with co-workers. Also, many of us process work-related stress by venting to team members. Without that support network, remote work can become lonely.

 

It’s important to assess how a candidate deals with stress. Be more specific than “How do you deal with stress?” Invite them to talk about after-work routines they use to unwind.

 

Are They Results-Oriented?

The best remote workers are those who measure performance by results and not by looking busy. Oftentimes, employees at an office may fill the day with empty tasks, avoiding their supervisor’s attention while running out the clock. For remote work, the deliverables must often speak for themselves.

 

Ask a candidate to describe a “good” day at work. Do they define it as good because they were productive? Because they were able to accomplish a challenging task? That will tell you whether they’re results-oriented.

 

Are They Effective Communicators?

Remote work doesn’t afford employees the luxury of walking down the hall to clarify something whenever necessary. People often don’t check their email or return calls as much as we’d like. So, remote workers must be able to communicate effectively without needing to go back and forth multiple times.

 

During the interview, make note of their responses. Do they provide thorough answers to questions? Or do they require multiple prompts?

 

Are They Tech Savvy?

It’s easy to assume everyone knows how to use software like Zoom at this point, but don’t neglect to establish whether candidates have a certain level of technical aptitude. Remote workers must often troubleshoot tech problems on their own, manage system updates, and occasionally learn new tools. You don’t want to have to spend hours handholding through all of this.

 

List the tools you use to confirm they know how to use them or are capable of learning.

 

The Future of Remote Work

Many organizations may not see a full return to work as we once knew it. Remote work will become the norm in some cases. By hiring the right candidates, you can ensure continued success.


Nicholas Mushayi
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