Hiring remote workers is a lot like hiring anyone, only different. And it’s the differences that make all the difference between someone who comes in to an office and someone who works successfully at home.
Since the global experiment in remote work of the last few months, some of those differences have become clear to employers. Not everyone, and that includes even office superstars, is right for remote work.
It is true that companies that had to pivot from a staff they could see to one they mostly can’t were surprised to discover for themselves what years of research established: employees are more productive working from home. So much so that a PWC survey of executives found 55% expect 60% or more of their employees to work remotely in a post COVID world. Another 34% expect 30%-59% of their employees to continue to work remotely.
Yet those who manage remote workers worry about their productivity and engagement, team cohesiveness and a tendency to overwork.
Not every boss is going to see overwork as much of an issue. The 28 extra hours a month workers have been putting in only ups productivity. But LinkedIn tells us workers who feel the need to push themselves are creating health problems that HR professionals say will cause turnover to rise and – in time – productivity to actually fall.
Without the cues from seeing colleagues leave the office at the end of the day remote workers need to have the self-discipline to do the same and unplug. That’s rarely an issue hiring managers and recruiters raise in an interview for an on-site job. For a remote job, it’s a must. Call it good time management; it’s a skill especially critical for remote workers who more often than not, set their own schedules.
Another key difference is communication. All employers want workers who have, as almost any job description says, “good communication skills.” What that usually means is a person who expresses themselves clearly and concisely both verbally and in writing. It means a good listener who is open and honest and approachable.
Remote workers need to be all that and more. They have to be proactive communicators, reaching out regularly to teammates and colleagues and, yes, the boss. Because too often out of sight means out of mind, remote workers have to be assertive – not aggressive – communicators, even to the point of occasionally overcommunicating.
Inc.com suggests the way to plumb a candidate’s communication skills is to ask what the first thing they want to do if they were to be hired. “A good remote worker will ask clarifying questions right away,” says Inc.
Like good communication skills, the other key characteristic of a successful remote worker is to be self-motivated. With no manager present and often – too often in many cases – little direction, a remote worker has to be able to set priorities and move forward without having all the specifics. The best of remote workers not only tolerate ambiguity, they push through its fog to get the job done.
Ask your remote work candidate what they would do in a situation where they ran up against a roadblock and couldn’t reach a manager or team leader. You’re looking to discover how proactive they would be to solving the problem on their own.
Self-motivation, proactive communication and good time management are not talents you’ll find just by looking at a resume. That’s why Visage offers a tool designed especially for hiring remote workers. We know good communication skills and initiative and motivation are ingredients of all good hires, but that they take on special meaning for remote workers.
When you use our sourcing tool for hiring remote workers, your job description is analyzed with those unique meanings in mind. Our sourcing teams look for candidates who have demonstrated they can work remotely, who have shown they are highly motivated, proactive professionals.
Whether you are filling a single remote job, or need to hire a team, we know where to find the best talent to meet your needs.