Remote Employee Characteristics to Look For

COVID-19 has disrupted seemingly every aspect of our personal and business lives. One prominent change for many businesses is the sheer volume of employees who are now working remotely. For any role applicable, businesses shifted to remote work out of necessity when the virus hit. This has shifted hiring practices in many ways, from video interviews to changing job responsibilities.

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One adjustment for employers and recruiters is that more focus may be needed on the types of skills that allow an individual to work well remotely. While most employers have found that remote working has worked better than anticipated, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a shift in how employees function when they’re not all in the same space. Excelling at working remotely requires specific skills.

Desirable Traits

Here are a few of the traits employers should look for when hiring someone who will be working remotely some or all of the time:

  • Great communication skills
  • Emotional intelligence
  • The ability to communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing
  • Proactiveness
  • Internal motivation, without the need for close supervision
  • Self-discipline
  • Good work ethic
  • Organization
  • Flexibility (While routines are helpful in remote work, it’s good to have someone who can improvise when things change.)
  • Willingness to find solutions to problems without coworker assistance when needed; resourceful nature
  • High level of comfort with the standard technology required for the job (IT usually won’t be on-site, even when problems occur.)
  • Time-management skills and an understanding of how best to prioritize work
  • Willingness to learn new skills and new software or processes as needed
  • Ability to avoid distractions in the absence of supervision
  • Comfort making decisions independently when needed
  • Good at teamwork, even when the team is not together
  • Trustworthiness, reliability, and accountability

While studies have shown that remote workers are just as, if not more, productive than when they’re at the office, it can’t hurt to specifically look for the skills that allow someone to be successful in that environment. These are some of the skills that can help someone be efficient and productive when working remotely.

Other Recruiting Process Changes

To successfully recruit people who will be working remotely, it also pays to know what other changes to make to the recruiting process. For example, a job post that shows a specific location may not even be seen by someone who is looking for a remote role. Consider posting to job boards that allow “remote” as a location or that do not require a location to be designated. When that’s not an option, ensure the fact that the job is remote is featured prominently in the job post. (Conversely, if hiring for an in-person role, be sure to note that, as well, as many jobs posted today are assumed to be remote.) Note how the remainder of the recruiting process will be conducted, such as through videoconference or telephone, so that applicants know what to expect as they progress.