By: David Mizne
The way we work is changing. Surveys indicate people are working from home or remotely in record numbers. There’s no reason to believe this trend won’t continue.
As a manager, you need to understand how to find ideal employees when job candidates are remote. The following signs will let you know you’ve found the right person for a job.
Strong Communication Skills
It’s important for a remote worker to communicate well in written language. Because they don’t have the opportunity to just knock on your office door when they have questions, they may be getting in touch via email and similar channels quite often. You want to be certain they can express their thoughts effectively when they do.
Reviewing a candidate’s past accomplishments (and comparing them to what they’ll be expected to accomplish in their new role) is always crucial during the interview process. However, it’s even more important when you’re hiring someone for a remote position.
When they’re not sharing an office with you, you don’t have frequent opportunities to motivate them. While management by objectives is one way of encouraging employees to reach their goals, it’s still important to ensure they’re able to completing tasks and meeting deadlines. Check their work background to see if they are capable of self-motivating instead. That’s an ideal quality in an out-of-office employee.
A remote worker will often set their own schedule. Without a supervisor looking over their shoulder, they’re free to complete tasks as they please.
Ask candidates about instances when they’ve missed deadlines, steps they take to manage their time well, and whether they’re the type to get so distracted by one task they neglect others. Someone who can clearly and easily describe how they manage to stay on schedule is likely worth considering for the position.
Include a video interview in the recruitment process if a remote candidate can’t make it to the office. During the interview, pay attention to their surroundings. Do they appear to have a cluttered home office? This may indicate they aren’t organized enough to succeed working remotely.
On the other hand, if they are dressed professionally, appear to be working in a well-organized environment, and don’t make errors such as typos or missing interview times, they’re probably good at staying organized without extra help.
A Matching Schedule
Remote candidates may be in different time zones. Others might simply have unconventional work schedules. Although they may be able to get some tasks done on their own (and flexible scheduling can boost engagement), it’s best if remote employees work according to your basic schedule to at least some degree. This simply makes everything from setting deadlines to holding phone conferences much easier. Be sure to ask candidates to describe their schedules before making a choice.
Again, odds are good you’ll need to hire remote employees in the near future (assuming you haven’t already). Knowing whether certain candidates are qualified for open positions requires approaching the interview process in a slightly unique manner. Luckily, when you know what qualities to look for, finding the right people becomes simpler than ever.
David Mizne is Content Manager at 15Five, a lightweight weekly check-in that delivers a full suite of integrated tools – including continuous employee feedback, OKRs, pulse surveys, and peer recognition. David interviews thought leaders & writes on trends in employee performance management.