When you’re building a virtual team, you need employees who are self-motivated, trustworthy and have the skills needed to hit the ground running. These are important characteristics for any employee, of course, but they’re even more critical for someone who’s going to be working from a distance.
It’s not always realistic to interview virtual candidates in person, so how can you be sure you’re choosing the best fit for the job and your company’s culture?
Here are four tips for hiring remote workers you can count on.
1. Don’t Skip Face-To-Face Contact
If it’s not possible to meet candidates in person, arrange a video interview through Google Hangouts, Skype, or another web-based video conference tool.
This gives you an opportunity to assess non-verbal cues, just as you would in person. If a candidate tells you he or she is outgoing and has excellent customer service skills but refuses to smile or make eye contact, that’s a red flag you’ll be glad you caught before making an offer.
2. Ask Behavioral Questions
Not everyone is well-suited for working as independently as remote employment requires. A candidate may appear qualified for the job on paper but find himself struggling in the less structured environment of a virtual team.
That’s why you’ll want to ask specific questions that reveal behavioral traits, such as self direction and time management. Some examples of good behavioral interview questions include:
- What is your primary source of motivation?
- Tell me about a time when you had to complete a project with little or no supervision. How did you keep yourself on task?
- This job often requires juggling multiple deadlines at once. What makes you well-suited to do this? Can you give an example?
- How do you manage your time and stay organized?
3. Test Their Skills
Anyone can claim to have stellar project management skills or top-notch abilities as a web developer, but you’ll want to be sure they can perform just as well under pressure.
Put their skills to the test by assigning them to complete a project. This should give you a good demonstration of their abilities so you have a better idea of what you can expect if a candidate started work tomorrow.
4. Introduce Them to the Team
Once you’ve narrowed down the candidate pool to just a few top contenders, it’s worthwhile to get input from others—especially those with whom the candidate will have close working relationships.
Zapier, a company that specializes in web application integration, has a unique process for the final step of candidate selection. The hiring manager asks candidates to prepare a short presentation on a topic of their choice and present it to up to 15 members of the team via Google Hangouts.
Team members then have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in a conversation with candidates to get to know them better. This allows everyone to see how a new hire would fit into the company culture, an important but often overlooked factor to consider.
The process of hiring remote workers may not be exactly the same as your standard process for selecting candidates in person, but that doesn’t mean you can take shortcuts. The candidate you ultimately choose will need to have all the same skills and qualities you’d expect of someone who works alongside you in the office each day. Beyond that, he or she will also need to be exceptionally self-motivated to be productive in a virtual environment.