Five Traits to Look For When Hiring Remote Employees

Whether by choice or because of COVID-19, you may be in a position where you have to hire remote workers or professionals who work offsite. If this is your first time hiring location independent workers, or you want to switch up your current hiring practices, it’s important to understand the type of person that can thrive working remotely. While more people may have to get used to working outside of the office, some characteristics and traits enable people to step into remote work more successfully than others. 

So, what skills and qualities should you be looking for as you hire remote or hybrid workers? Take a look at this list below. 

An Entrepreneurial Mindset 

This phrase has been included in many job descriptions within the last decade. Firms and companies want people to take the initiative, and an entrepreneurial spirit conveys this. Nevertheless, this trait is even more important for those working offsite. 

You aren’t going to have the time or ability to look over the shoulder of team members that may be located in various time zones. Therefore, you will need to hire someone who can take projects and run with them, whether you are visible or not. 

Additionally, those with an entrepreneurial approach to work typically like to take “ownership” of projects and bring their creativity to tasks. This will continue to be important as companies have to be more agile in managing dynamic departments like operations and marketing. 

How do you check for this?  – Candidates could show that they have an entrepreneurial mindset through freelancing, running their own side business, or starting and running programs for a former employer. 

Can Work Alone

This an obvious one, but it is still worth mentioning. You may only physically see your employees once a week, month, or even quarter. Therefore, you need to make sure you are hiring someone who feels comfortable working alone. It is common knowledge that isolation is cited as one of the most significant issues for many remote workers; nonetheless, you want to have someone on your team that knows how to manage this challenge. 

Can this person be trusted to stay motivated even if their co-workers are not one office over? Will the strain of not being able to immediately speak to a manager throw them off? These are questions that you need to consider. 

What should you look for? – When checking for this trait, see if this person has had any other remote work roles. Also, ask how they plan to stay connected with others. Many remote workers join Slack groups or plan virtual lunches with co-workers, see if they have done either of these in the past. 

Can Successfully Collaborate and Communicate With Others—Virtually

While remote work arrangements involve solo work, those on your team will have to collaborate and work with others. However, instead of walking across the hall to ask a question, they will have to use collaboration tools and messaging apps to meet and communicate with others. 

You want to ensure that whomever you hire understands how important it is to stay in consistent communication with their team. The last thing you want is someone who falls off the face of the earth when you need a task handled. On the other hand, you need to check to see if this person either has experience working with virtual collaboration tools or is willing to learn. 

How can you determine this during the interview? – Ask them questions about how they would handle various communication scenarios, and check to see if they are proficient in any collaboration or communication software tools

Can Work During the Time Slot You Need

Some may think that remote work can facilitate any work schedule arrangement. This concept couldn’t be further from the truth. A 2020 survey of over 3,500 remote workers from Buffer found that 10 percent said that being in a different time zone than teammates was the biggest struggle. 

While certain tasks can be done regardless of the time, some positions could require specific team members to be accessible at certain times of the day. For example, if you are hiring for a customer success role, you may need someone to be available during normal business hours in your business location. The same can also be true for people handling administrative tasks. 

How can you make this a priority? – Make sure you have determined what your personnel needs are, and have a good grasp of when they need to be available. Also, see when your customers are most active, as this will inform the shifts you need your employees to work. 

Adaptability 

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses were having to embrace flexibility. Consumer tastes are always evolving, so companies have had to be agile in their approach to giving customers what they want. 

However, COVID-19 has resulted in businesses having to be even more adaptable, especially regarding employee work arrangements. The truth is that anything can happen during the remote workday. Wi-Fi networks could fail, a meeting time could change, or you may need to alter work schedules to manage a hectic time. You need to hire someone who can adapt to these changes, whether on or offsite. 

How can you evaluate a candidate for this? – Have candidates describe how they have managed change in the past. Ask them how they would fare in a dynamic work environment and give them scenario-based questions about unexpected changes. 

Everyone May Not Be Cut Out to Work Remotely—You Need to Find Those That Are

Everyone may not be the best candidate for a remote work or hybrid position, and you need to know the skills you need to look for to determine who is. Ultimately, you need someone who can handle the unique challenges that can come with working away from the office. 

Even with the right strategies, things may not always go as planned. Therefore, it’s important to have team members who are flexible, determined, and ready to take the initiative. Remote work may be the new norm for many companies—including yours, so make sure you hire people who can adapt to the switch. 


The Atlanta Small Business Network, from start-up to success, we are your go-to resource for small business news, expert advice, information, and event coverage.

Follow us on Facebook here and stay up to date or catch-up on all our podcasts on demand.

While you’re here, don’t forget to subscribe to our email newsletter for all the latest business news know-how from Atlanta Small Business Network.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here