June 24, 2021
What does an ideal remote employee look like?
Questions to ask candidates in an interview for a remote position
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Hiring remote employees is a unique process. While you probably want a candidate that is a good fit for your company in terms of their work experience and personality, you might also want to focus on finding someone who is ready to take on the challenge of a remote position. If your new remote hire struggles with organising their remote work and being productive outside of an office, this might impact the performance of the whole remote team and end up costing you a lot of money and resources. That’s why asking the right questions to see if a candidate is remote ready should be a crucial part of any company’s remote hiring process.
As with any job interview, you should always be looking for an applicant that fits the job description in terms of work experience, education, and a successful track record in previous positions. However, when it comes to soft skills, remote employees must prove that they are able to work independently and reliably while maintaining close communication with their team members. This is even more important in a remote position than in an office environment, since the employees have to organise their work day independently and ensure they are meeting deadlines and requirements predominantly on their own.
Additionally, remote work relies heavily on communication, so finding a candidate that is able to communicate actively and continuously while maintaining a balance between over- and under sharing can make a big difference within a remote team.
Now that we know what to look for, it is time to figure out how to actually determine if a candidate is ready for a remote position. Here are some questions that might help you structure your interview process and find the right fit for your remote team.
In the best case scenario, the applicant has had a remote job before and therefore has some experience with the unique proposition of remote work. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give a first-time remote worker a chance. You should rather investigate further what their motivation for switching to a remote position is and what their expectations of their work life will be. This can give you some important insights to base your hiring decision on.
Time and task management are obviously two very essential factors in remote work. The ideal candidate has not only proven in previous positions that they can manage their workload independently, but should also be able to communicate how they did it and thereby show they are actively thinking about how to make the best out of a remote position.
Not saying what you want, but rather turning it around and asking a candidate what they think is necessary to succeed in the offered position is a good way to get insights into an applicant's way of thinking. It is unlikely they will name any traits they don’t have, as that would minimise their chances of getting the job. That allows you to double check if their ideal character traits are insync with what you envision your new employee to be like.
It is always good to get an understanding of how a potential new employee handles stress and goes about dealing with challenging situations, especially in a remote set-up. Transparency and communication are key to maintaining a healthy company culture and the candidate needs to show they are able to solve challenges and focus on the solution for you to be confident in hiring them.
Communication is one of the most crucial aspects for remote teams. Knowing when and how to communicate is key for remote employees, and finding a balance for the right amount of social versus business-related communication can make or break a remote work culture.
Self-motivation is another highly important aspect of remote work, as you don’t have other team members physically around you to pull you through a tough day—and distractions are lurking everywhere when working from home. That’s why your ideal candidate should have some sort of tactic to stay focused or at least be aware of these challenges and seek support in overcoming them.
Finally, you don’t want an overly eager remote employee who doesn’t know how to switch off if their place of work is so closely intertwined with their personal life, as they are highly likely to burn out and become unhappy with their job. Showing you care about their well-being and encourage taking time off also makes you a more attractive employer and represents a healthy company culture.
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