If given the option, most people would drop their office job for the unfettered freedom of working at home in their snuggie cape in a heartbeat. But not everyone is suited to such an arrangement. As it turns out, some personalities fare better at remote work than others, and for hiring managers, it can be tricky trying sort the homeworking superstars from the virtual procrastinators at face value.
Nevertheless, there are some traits you can look out for during the interview process to help determine whether a prospective hire is your company’s match made in working-from-home heaven. (Because let’s be real, working from home is heaven).
“Say whaaaat?” Yep, we know, this one sounds paradoxical. But the truth is social butterflies totally nail it when it comes to the lone-wolf working-from-home lifestyle. Well, provided that they manage to get all their energy needs fulfilled throughout the day and don’t end up slipping into an isolation rabbit hole.
This isn’t to say that introverts aren’t good at working from home—they too excel in the lone wolf work habitat. The only difference is that extroverts will have more up-and-go when it comes to online collaboration and fostering connections with faceless staff, both of which are critical components for keeping your virtual team’s morale flying sky high.
2. Footloose and Fancy-Free
Another factor that can help determine how much time and effort you’re going to extract from a remote employee is their number of outside obligations. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Management found that people who were ‘carefree’ (read: childless) were better at establishing accountability within their team and were much less likely to socially ‘loaf.’
Social loafing is the psychological term for when a person commits less effort to achieve a goal when working in a group as opposed to working on their own.
It is precisely for this reason that carefree individuals make such an essential building block when it comes to the fine art of assembling a virtual team. By inserting one or two mellow fellows into a predominantly busy unit, they help keep the employees with a lot of family responsibilities on track and feel connected to their co-workers.
Duh! As obvious as this one is, it cannot be stated enough. It’s especially important to note the critical role that written communication plays in remote work settings. Without the benefit of face-to-face interactions, a lot of contexts can get lost across the wires so it’s essential that you recruit employees that can communicate their thoughts in a clear, efficient, and affable way over email and instant messaging apps. And how does one find these whiz kids?
Review any pre-interview correspondence you and your colleagues have with a prospective hire to get a sense of how effectively they respond to written cues. If you’re still unsure, there are hundreds of online communication tests you can have them take or, better yet, you can always develop your own!
Yes, we know, another glaringly obvious one. But the fact is, without the conventional structure of an onsite team and office, some employees see their KPIs flying out the window faster than confetti at a ticker-tape parade. That’s why when placing remote workers, you want to opt for the exact, self-starter type. Someone who gets their sh*t done on time, all the time.
And how do you find such a unique unicorn of a human being? A good place to start is by looking at your prospective hires’ Myers Briggs type—specifically their Judging vs. Perceiving type. When it comes to hiring virtual employees, anyone who falls onto the Judging end of the spectrum is a sure bet. Judgers are task-oriented, list keeping, early-rising, deadline-demolishing worker bees who are just as afraid of disappointing themselves as they are their team. They’re God’s gift to the virtual workplace.
5. Comfortable With Uncertainty
Given the fluid nature of remote work, there’s always going to be an element of uncertainty at play. Finding workers who are okay with this will take a lot of stress off your managers and team leaders. You want workers who won’t ask a million and one follow-up questions and who are comfortable paving their way in the absence of detailed instruction and policies.
Excuse me while I refer once again to yee old trusty Myers Briggs, but what you want are people who fall onto the Intuition rather than the Sensing end of the spectrum. Intuitors are good at reading between the lines and don’t freak out in the face of ambiguity. On the contrary, they thrive in environments that provide them with the kind of autonomy that working from home allows.
Hopefully, with these tips in mind, you’ll find hiring and assembling your virtual teams a little more manageable next time.
Or, if you want to go the extra mile, you can always have your potential newbies take the Leadership IQ quiz to assess their suitability for working from home. Better yet, why not do it yourself and let us know in the comments section how you went? I just did, and it turns out I’m a “great fit” for working remotely!