Want to build a high-growth, high-performance business? It goes without saying that you need great talent! If you’re planning on hiring remotely, there are seven key skills you should look out for during the recruitment process to secure the very best candidates and drive your business forward.
In this article, we’ll explain what they are, why they matter, and how you can identify them effectively during interviews.
Remote workers need to be able to work independently without the physical presence of a manager. So autonomy is key. Your successful candidate should have the initiative to tackle problems before they’re asked to, the confidence to make decisions where needed, and the drive to complete their work to a high standard every time.
To evaluate autonomy during the interview process, you could ask the candidate to describe a time when they had to make a quick decision under pressure. How did they handle that situation, and what did they learn from it?
While the office isn’t necessary for productivity, being surrounded by colleagues can help you stay motivated. When you work remotely, you don’t always have this environment, so the ideal remote candidate should come with a good dose of self-motivation. They know how to stay productive at home or in a co-working space, and they don’t need to be micromanaged. However, that’s not to say you shouldn’t create a motivating and inspiring culture to help them thrive.
To gauge self-motivation during the interview process, try asking: “How do you motivate yourself to hit tight deadlines?”
Having great organizational skills will put your candidate in good stead for working remotely. They need to be able to organize their time, workload, tools, and documentation effectively in order to thrive in a remote environment. Time management is particularly important in flexible and asynchronous environments where team members are in charge of their own working hours and schedules. This flexibility can be a huge benefit for potential employees, but first, candidates need to show they’re capable of working effectively within that freedom.
If you want to better understand your candidate's organizational skills during the interview, try asking: “How do you prioritize tasks when you receive requests from multiple people and teams?”
Communication is one of the most important skills for remote workers to possess. Without the luxury of in-person interaction, remote communication can be difficult. In a virtual environment where many interactions take place via email or Slack, good written skills are essential. If your company is globally distributed, you’ll also want to look out for an ability to communicate asynchronously.
An effective way to evaluate communication skills during the interview process is to ask your candidate to do a pre-prepared presentation during the interview. How well do they communicate ideas? Are they able to answer questions with clarity and concision?
Working remotely can throw up many curve balls, from failing technology to impromptu requests to ever-evolving strategies, particularly in a start-up or high-growth environment. So your ideal candidate should be adaptable. They need to be able to think on their feet, embrace change, and handle all the challenges that remote work presents.
You could test the candidate’s adaptability by asking this situational question: “Tell me about a time when you had to quickly change direction on a project. How did you handle that?”
Effective cross-functional collaboration is integral to the success of any organization, but collaborating remotely can be a challenge. That’s why your future hires should demonstrate a good ability to work together with team members from a distance.
Tease out this skill in the interview by asking the candidate to talk about a successful (or not-so-successful) cross-functional project they’ve been involved in and how they’d approach it again if they had the chance. For some roles, you could even conduct real-time collaboration and group problem-solving exercises during the interview.
The majority of remote work is done through technology, be it video calls, Slack messages, or other asynchronous tools. While your candidates don’t need to be the next Steve Jobs, they do need to have foundational tech skills to be successful in a remote role.
Conducting your interview remotely will give you an opportunity to test those skills out. Do they need much assistance using your video conferencing software? Can they tell you about their previous experiences using technology to effectively communicate with their team? Which tools do they prefer to use day to day? If they come up blank, it might be a sign they’re not a suitable candidate.