How to Interview and Hire Remote Workers

It’s hard enough to find quality employees when conducting interviews in-office. Replace face-to-face body language cues and quality cross-team assessments with internet connection lag times and people talking over each other on Zoom and you’re up against some barriers.

With that said, if teams can figure out how to manage teams remotely, they can figure out how to hire teams remotely as well. It’s all about trial and error — taking the best elements of your current hiring process and translating them to the digital space.

Here are a handful of tips for interviewing and hiring remote workers successfully.

Vet Applicants with the Right Questions

Remote workers come with their own set of requirements, which means you should ask relevant questions. For example, remote employees (regardless of the specific job they’re being hired for) should possess some technical acumen.

It’s crucial to gauge their comfort with tools they’d be expected to use on the daily.

Additionally, ask questions relative to the remote work experience:

  • How comfortable are you with self-managing your workload?

  • What processes and routines have you created for yourself to stay on task?

  • How would you describe your communication skills?

  • What do you like and dislike about working from home?

Putting these questions in the context of specific examples can be an even more effective way of understanding thought processes.

Replace In-Person Meetings with Video Calls

The remote workers you’re hiring will spend most of their time interacting with team members via video calls. For this reason, use them as the primary interview method.

Seeing how someone conducts themselves over video during the hiring process will provide a glimpse of what team members could expect moving forward. As with in-person interviews, pay attention to timeliness and presentation.

Utilize Test Projects When It Makes Sense

Asking interview questions in the form of scenarios puts answers in context. Test projects do the same for potential hires relative to their skill set.

If you have a solid pool of quality candidates, it might be hard to differentiate between them using video calls alone. Work with hiring managers to develop short test projects that’ll be representative of what would be expected of an employee if hired.

For example, if you’re hiring a customer service representative, ask candidates to respond to a series of potential tickets. If you can create a test environment that’d require hires to interact with technology they’d encounter, even better.

Assess Communications Skills at Every Stage of the Process

Regardless of the job title you’re hiring for, communication will be a critical skill needed for those working remotely. Be cognizant of how an interviewee is responding to emails, presenting themselves on camera, and engaging with team members.

The right person for the job will be capable of expressing their needs, asking questions, and making themselves available when needed. If too much is falling through the cracks during the interview alone, that should be an immediate red flag.

By Staples Canada

August 17, 2020

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