Since the beginning of the pandemic, many companies have transitioned to working remotely. The change has posed many challenges, especially for recruiters recruiting candidates without seeing them in person. Many applicants are currently choosing to apply for positions because they are remote, not because the job is the right fit for them. Though they might have the required skills and experiences, they are not necessarily best suited for remote work.
Our time at CrewBloom has helped companies find the right talent for remote jobs through extensive interviews. We have learned that asking the right questions can help determine whether a candidate is a right fit for a remote position. This article shall look at some questions that hiring managers and recruiters should ask prospective employees before determining their fitness for a remote position.
Did you work in a remote position before? What were some benefits and challenges of working in that position?
Many candidates are fascinated by the idea of working from home. However, most of them are not aware of how it functions. For instance, those who are working remotely for the first time might feel surprised to know about it. Ask them if they have ever worked for a similar position before. If they say “no,” then ask, “why do you want to work remotely.” You may also ask, “how do you think you would adjust to a 100% online work environment.”
By comparison, if your candidate has had some experience with it, ask them some benefits and challenges they faced in that role. As a remote employer, you probably know that transitioning to a remote working system may not be easy for many. Those who have some experience with it understand what it entails and how they can cope with it. You should look for interview responses that contain practical ways in which people adapt to the challenges of working remotely. By contrast, those who say that they do not see any challenges are probably not being honest or do not have any experience.
Where do you usually prefer to work?
Question your candidate about how they have worked in the past or are working currently. If they are already working remotely, then ask questions about the setup of their remote work location. Where do they work from? If they work from home, do they have an office set up? Is there a place where the candidate can focus adequately on tasks? Is the work location disturbance-free?
When you have gathered some information about the work area, set up a video conference call, ask the candidate to join the call from the work location, see how your virtual meeting goes, and note down your observations. Talk about the requirements which you have for a remote office, including a wired internet connection, a quiet area for calls, and so forth.
What work setup do you plan to have if you are not working from home?
Not having an office set up in their homes should not disqualify a candidate. Instead, use this information to understand your prospective employee and how seriously they consider the interview and the remote position. Try to understand what difficulties they might be facing and see if you could provide a solution if it’s genuine.
For example, if someone does not have an Internet connection at home and needs to work at a local café, ask them how they will connect to your office server. Ask if there would be any distractions that would hamper their work. If the position happens to be a hybrid that is partly remote and partially from the office, ask where the candidate will work for the remote part. See if they have a specific location in mind for an office such as a home or a café. Learning these details will help you gauge how far a candidate has thought about the particulars of remote work.
How do you intend to communicate with a remotely working department or organization?
A significant difference between working fully online and in person is that the latter option allows you the opportunity to interact with co-workers. Though your company can develop ways to build connections between colleagues online, the fact remains that most of the communication on a remote platform is always structured and has a purpose to it.
To determine whether your future employee will accept this, ask how they intend to communicate with other employees and what communication platforms they prefer to use. Are they open to using virtual meeting rooms, texts, video calls in addition to an email? Asking these questions will help you understand whether your candidate is comfortable using a wide range of communication channels. It will also help you realize if they are willing to adapt to different communication platforms and interact with colleagues.
How do you think your technology skills are?
All remote workers should be prepared to utilize every type of technology you require them to work with. If anything goes wrong, they need to be able to troubleshoot on their own as well. Since technical support is not always available for a remote team, every employee must be confident about handling more straightforward technical issues independently.
If a candidate continually says that they do not like working with technology or do not know how to solve issues, explore this in greater detail. You may encounter someone who has applied for a remote work position but does not want to address the technical problems that they could encounter along the way. This might be a challenge for you as the employer. Ask them how they intend to solve the problems since it is a component of working remotely for the organization.
It takes asking the right questions to know if an aspiring remote worker is the right fit for your team. More than assessing an applicant’s hard skills and qualifications, an interviewer should also be able to determine if their soft skills are adequate for them to excel and succeed as a member of your remote team.