How to Hire Someone You’ll Never Meet in Person

How to Hire Remote Workers

When you’re considering possible candidates for a position, what exactly are you looking for? Maybe it’s someone who has a can-do attitude, or who appears to be energetic, determined, and sports a friendly smile. But what happens when the job you’re hiring for is a remote one, and the candidates who have made it to the final round of interviews are scattered all across the globe? The practices that you typically use for hiring an in-office worker are definitely different from those that you’ll need in order to hire the best remote worker possible for the position.

Hire someone you’ll never meet in person with these top tips!

Look for someone with previous remote work experience.

While it’s not always necessary to hire someone who’s worked remotely before, it can definitely help. After all, a job seeker with telecommuting experience under their belt knows the ins and outs of remote work life—and the ups and downs, too. It can help to separate job candidates who might be unprepared for what it takes to work remotely from those who have already done it successfully and ultimately build a stronger remote workforce.

Know what to ask.

Beyond the basics of your typical job interview questions, there are many remote work-oriented questions you can ask job candidates to help make your decision about who to hire. Some must-ask questions:

“How do you keep yourself motivated?”

It’s easy for a remote worker to want to sleep in—especially when his bed is just a few yards away from his home office! This question is designed to find out how a job candidate can help maintain his focus and productivity when there isn’t a micromanaging boss hovering over him at his desk.

“How important is communication to you?”

Strong communication is the cornerstone to the success of any company, but particularly so for remote ones, when workers don’t have the luxury of bumping into each other in the hallways and truly lack face-to-face time. Find out how your potential employee plans to communicate with you, as well as with coworkers—perhaps their preferred method of communication includes instant messaging, emails, and staying connected with the team utilizing communication tools like Yammer or Sococo.

“What would you do if you made a mistake?”

Everybody goofs up now and then. But when a remote worker makes a mistake (and doesn’t own up to it), the gaff might not be discovered until much later down the road—when it’s already too late to correct it. So ask job candidates about a time when they made a mistake, and how they recovered from it. The answers you receive can tell you a lot– not only will it show a job candidate’s ability to take the onus for past errors (which shows honesty and accountability), but also shows how they tried to fix their mistake, too (which shows responsibility). These key characteristics are important in remote workers, and can give you a glimpse into how they might handle a mistake working for your company: would they bury it or would they alert you to the error ASAP—along with a solution, too?

Conduct video interviews.

Up until now, you’ve been conducting remote interviews based off of job applications and the occasional phone call. Now it’s time to take it to the next level: video interviews. Way beyond seeing what your potential employee looks like, video interviews can provide a wealth of information for a potential remote employer. For starters, you can sneak a peek into a job candidate’s home office. Why is this important? Well, if the space looks messy, it might give you a clue as to the quality of your job candidate’s work. And if your job candidate can’t get their Skype to work, that might also tip you off that they’re not as tech savvy as they made himself out to be. Plus, you’ll get to engage with your potential worker virtual-face-to-virtual-face. You can see how comfortable they are doing an interview, and get a better idea if they’d be a match for your organization.

Give a performance test.

Many companies give tests to final-round job interviewees as a way to weed out who they want to hire. The test should be something that relates specifically to the job they’re applying for, whether it’s a writing test or a skills test, etc. The point of the test is to ensure that the person can do the job they’re applying for, and it also can give you insight on the quality of their work, their ability to meet a deadline, and most importantly, how much they want the position.

Check them out online.

The vast majority of hiring managers check out potential job candidates online way before they get to the point of picking out the top-tier candidate to hire. And as a remote company, you should definitely apply this practice to your hiring strategy, too. Go through the person’s social media profiles (the best ones to start off with are LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and so on), and see what you find. Serious job candidates should have a clean social media image that shows off their professional interests—and keeps the personal information private.

One of the goals of a remote manager should be to build a successful remote workplace. And while it might feel like you’re hiring someone in the dark if you don’t actually get to sit down and talk with them during a job interview, it shouldn’t. By using these tips, you’ll feel like you truly know your job candidate and that you’re making the right decision when you finally offer them the position.