Do not assume every person is cut out to work remotely. Instead, treat the ability to function well in a remote environment as a specific skill, just like knowing a second language or being an effective communicator. Interview questions that can aid in figuring out how suited the individual is to remote work include:
- A Performance Profile that identifies the tasks, behaviors, skills, education and experience needed for each role
- 5 things that are needed to host a successful remote interview
- An inventory of task-focused behavioral questions
- Prove-it-to-me activities to use during the interview process
- A remote interview evaluation and process for making improvements
Have you ever worked remotely before?
Possessing a track record of successfully telecommuting for previous employers supports the notion that this candidate understands what this arrangement entails and can handle it. Even if the applicant hasn’t worked remotely full-time, being able to talk about some experience working from home (such as one day a week or during inclement weather) can help you gauge potential.
What do you foresee as the greatest challenges to telecommuting?
A job seeker who can’t name any potential problems may not have a clear idea of what remote work involves. People who have telecommuted before (or at least thoughtfully pondered the issue) will be able to discuss obstacles such as managing time, staying in the office loop, avoiding distractions, or solving tech issues. Noteworthy candidates for remote positions will tell you how they cope (or would cope) with these problems.
Can you describe your home office set-up?
The reason for asking this question isn’t to judge fanciness. Rather, listen for evidence that the person realizes a corner of the kitchen table isn’t the best idea. Remote work requires a dedicated area where company material won’t get mixed up with a child’s homework. Likewise, the chosen space should be quiet enough to promote concentration and ample enough to allow spreading out.
2020 — the year that started with a “war for talent” is predicted to end with a 12% unemployment rate. When it comes to the talent market, we’ve effectively gone from shortage to surplus.
The silver lining? There’s more talent on the market right now, which means you’ll have a higher pool of qualified candidates for every position you look to fill. Now is a great time to find employees who fit both the role and culture of your organization.
What communication tools are you comfortable using?
What technology does your company depend on to keep in touch with remote staff? If, for instance, the person who gets this remote position will be expected to converse with colleagues through Google Hangout or check in daily with a manager via Skype, it pays to inquire about familiarity with these things. In the absence of direct experience, how willing does the candidate seem to learn new communication methods?
What strategies do you use to ensure work gets done correctly and on time?
Organizational skills are important for all workers, but they prove especially critical for telecommuters since a manager isn’t there looking over a shoulder and providing reminders. A person with a methodical system involving a calendar, daily to-do lists, and similar tactics demonstrates a commitment to deadlines and not letting details fall through the cracks.
Also, look for evidence that the candidate feels comfortable speaking up as needed. A remote employee willing to ask questions and double-check information is highly preferable to someone who fears “bothering” managers and colleagues by picking up the phone or texting.
Why do you want this particular job?
Undoubtedly, the remote nature of the position proves attractive to many applicants. A candidate expressing how she thrives working on her own or loves the ability to skip a regular commute is natural. However, listen to what reasons (if any) the person gives beyond the telecommuting aspect. Genuine excitement over the work to be performed or the opportunity to be a part of your company’s culture lets you know the job seeker sees this role as more than just a chance to work from home.
An effective hiring process matters now more than ever
- Create a Performance Profile that contains the tasks and attributes you need for the position.
- Host an effective remote interview using behavioral-based questions and prove-it-to-me activities.
- Effectively evaluate a remote interview candidate.
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