The pandemic has made remote and hybrid work arrangements mainstream. But it has also given managers a unique opportunity to bring different talent to their teams from all over the country and the globe. That being said, it’s also important to think about how those new hires will work and be managed in a remote setting.
It takes a certain skill set to succeed in a remote work environment, so it’s vital to identify some key traits that will set a candidate up for success. Below, nine members of Young Entrepreneur Council shared the qualifications they’ve been looking for in new hires lately, especially those who will be working remotely.
1. Communication Skills
I’ve been looking for great communicators. When working remotely, we all need to keep in touch better than we did before because we can’t get updates face-to-face. New hires need to be very good at knowing when to ask for a quick meeting to get help with a task and not suffer in silence. They should also know when an email will suffice instead of a phone or video call so that everyone can manage their time better. They should be great at reporting back on what they’ve done and what needs doing. As a company, we have to be on the ball with training new hires about who to contact. New hires get a “buddy” who they know they can contact about anything. There needs to be a balance of self-motivation to get work done remotely and great communication so that everyone stays on the same page. – Emily Stallings, Casely, Inc.
Conscientiousness is a personality trait associated with self-discipline, thoroughness and efficiency. Conscientious people are ideally suited to remote work. They are self-starters who don’t need constant supervision and they are driven to do good work. When I’m looking for new hires, I want to see evidence that the applicant can be productive, organized and reliable while working with a degree of autonomy. – Corey Northcutt, Northcutt Enterprise SEO
3. Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is particularly important in our “new” remote world. An emotionally intelligent employee will know when to pick up the phone or get on a video chat rather than go back and forth on Slack or email. Nonverbal communication is estimated to be 70-93% of all communication, but the cues of body language and tone are completely missed in communication that is just text-based. When we interview candidates, I often ask how they’d handle certain conflicts to suss out if they identify what communication channels are best to fully convey their messages. – Beck Bamberger, BAM Communications
4. Technological Aptitude
I recently interviewed a potential hire via video conference and lost half the interview time trying to help them figure out how to log on and join the call properly. While they were knowledgeable and experienced, this wasn’t going to be a good fit. This experience was not only a display of their lack of technical understanding, but it was an indication that they didn’t take the time to prepare, to learn the technology and practice leading into the interview. All of these are skills needed for employment, whether online or in person. – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.
As I’m hiring, I look for new team members with passion above all. Passion means they are motivated, bought in and self-driven. Being passionate about your job means you don’t need to be micromanaged or constantly supervised. Passionate employees thrive in every work environment, from in-person to remote or hybrid, because they are committed to getting the job done and doing it well. Energy is also important; someone who knows how to manage their output of energy is capable of self-pacing and adapting their output and time to match their workflow. If presented with two candidates, one with more credentials and one with more heart, I will take the candidate who cares more every time. – Ashley Sharp, Dwell with Dignity
6. Analytical And Decision-Making Abilities
When hiring new employees, we look for people with strong analytical and decision-making abilities. Our company has a 100% remote team and we are spread across different time zones around the world. This means that half of the team may be working while the other half is sleeping. So it may not be possible to reach out to a team member right when it’s needed. At such times, the person should be able to analyze the situation critically and make the right decision if needed. While such situations rarely come up, we like to make sure that we can rely on our team no matter how tough a situation is. – Thomas Griffin, OptinMonster
7. Energy And Connectivity
In the new remote work environment, it’s crucial to have good time management, strong communication and the willingness to take initiative. But none of this is new. I think the new trait I’ve been looking for at Tekrevol is energy and connectivity. Often, when teams work remotely, they don’t have the same energy and connectivity with others. This is because meetings will often start with an agenda and end with it. Working in-office includes a lot of random conversations, small jokes and a more personal connection. People with energy and the willingness to connect with others are crucial to restore that kind of engagement within virtual meetings and discussions. This energy could be their humor, their tone or their general extrovertedness. It’s a small thing, but it elevates morale. – Asim Rais Siddiqui, Tekrevol
In any job and workplace arrangement, self-motivation is important. When working remotely, however, it is absolutely crucial. The candidate you choose should have the ability to self-motivate since there is little to no supervision taking place. They will need to have the skills to adjust their day, balance tasks and manage themselves. A remote-working individual who has the daily drive to continue to produce quality work is a rare find, especially when you consider the competing distractions of a home workplace. By developing the right questions, you can better understand a candidate’s self-management skills and identify a self-motivated individual. – Blair Thomas, eMerchantBroker
As attractive as remote working sounds, it’s not for everyone. One key trait we seek in an employee is self-accountability. At our workplace, we set up KPIs and objectives and leave it to people to figure out when they want to work and how to do their job (to some degree). What is important is that the goals are being met every week and that they understand why we do what we do. It takes time to adjust to this way of working and it’s not uncommon for some new hires to not work out. At the same time, we have strong teams that thrive on self-accountability. It’s very important to ensure that you and your employees are a fit culturally for your business to succeed while remote working. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
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