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3 Key Factors For Hiring a Virtual Employee

hiring virtual employee

The foundations of a company always lie in the team, it isn’t a secret. While the world is quickly adapting to the consequences of the 2020 pandemic, hiring virtual employees became mainstream for most companies. Adding a new member isn’t just picking someone with great technical skills. Managers and entrepreneurs going through the remote hiring process are building and strengthening the core of the company and its culture.

Can you think of a superhero who managed to save the world all alone? One could answer Superman, or Batman, or Spiderman because they always work alone. If you look at their stories, there is always someone else to help them out, loyal and determined, who usually has skills that our superheroes lack.

As a business manager, you need a close-knit team to grow and expand your company. Hiring in virtual teams isn’t only about skills and expertise but also about sharing ethics and vision.  While someone who fits your company culture can increase productivity and enthusiasm, bad hires are expensive, drain energies, kill productivity, and, in the long run,  drag the company down.

As a matter of fact, a CareerBuilder survey shows that 74% of companies reporting an average of $14,900 in lost income simply hired the wrong person. No matter how established your organization is, bad hires negatively affect your productivity and your team. Especially in a virtual environment, where bonding and communication are crucial to build trust and establish a productive flow. 

These are the 3 virtual hiring key strategies you should keep in mind when scaling your team: 

3 Strategies to Hire the Best Virtual Employees 

virtual employee

# 1: Define Your Company Culture

At DistantJob, we have written a lot about culture (and discussed it on our podcast) because it’s really what makes a difference in a company. How team members work together doesn’t depend only on technical skills. Kinship and affinity are equally important, especially in the long run. Can you think of Frodo without Sam to help him out?

Before hiring a new team member, you need to understand your existing team culture, your beliefs, and the purpose of your company. Ask yourself:

  • Which is your company’s vision? 
  • What culture dynamics are you seeking for your team?
  • How will your values help your company’s growth?
  • What is the plan for the company’s growth?
  • What kind of people will I be able to work with daily?

Especially with virtual teams, people come from diverse locations and backgrounds. With the spread of digitalization and globalized industries, for many remote businesses, international teams are almost a requirement. Diversity can be a winning card, but you still need people able to communicate with each other. When looking for a new remote team member, look for what we call a good culture fit

These questions are important to understand at which stage you’re at. Starting the hiring process in war times is damage as much as a bad hire — especially when people don’t understand each other. In virtual teams, defining your culture is the first step to attract people that can see themselves in the company – and not just looking for a job to pay out bills. 

# 2: Look for Strong Communication! (On Both Sides)

Hiring virtual employees for dislocated teams requires even more attention to communication than office settings. How a candidate interacts with you and other team members is a key indicator for future collaborations.

When someone often looks away from the camera, you already know that you’re dealing with someone quite shy. If the next one is sitting too relaxed, you know this candidate is fairly confident – or arrogant? 

Both personalities can be great. The real question is: which one has a better chance to integrate quickly with the rest of your team? 

During a video interview, you can already spot communication skills. Even though a screen, you can study body language and the attention in answering your questions. Hiring a virtual employee also means being a good storyteller to illustrate your mission. Communicating culture helps to find the right language to attract candidates sharing your values.

Being clear and upfront about your core mission will screen out non-cultural fit candidates likely to lose interest soon or over time. 

# 3: Value the Process and Focus on Results

One of the main questions related to remote work is how to monitor employees. On these eight working hours, an average team member produces around 3 hours. Main reason? Distractions.

A team member sitting on a chair for eight hours without moving from the computer isn’t necessarily productive. As DistantJob’s President Sharon Kofiman stated in his book Surviving Remote Work: ‘If we can’t measure time, what can we measure? And along the same line of questions: What is the bottleneck? what we should be measuring is the output, the amount of work produced, and the bottleneck, in this case, is the distraction.

During the remote hiring process, be specific about your goals and what you want from the role. Rather than pushing on working hours, ask your candidates their usual methodologies and tools. Delivery time can change based on expertise and experience. Focussing on the quality of deliveries and due dates, rather than counting every minute, is a better strategy to help your team members manage time and avoid distractions. 

If you communicate well your values and mission, as we said at the beginning, your candidates will be already interested in your vision, When you find someone who can really communicate with your team, you will never need to count hours — you will just see the results!

Hiring a Virtual Employee Based on Your Company 

Looking for a cultural match doesn’t mean finding your lost twin.

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when hiring a virtual employee: 

  • Look for motivation and passion for the job.
  • Hire someone that gets along with the other team members.
  • Watch for soft skills such as communication, time management, empathy, etc. 

You’re looking for a team member, not an Xbox Live partner for Halo multiplayer matches. When we speak of “culture”, we mean work ethic and life priorities, which isn’t wondering if a candidate likes the same sports as you or if they like to read.

As a team leader, it’s needless to say that everyone should avoid unconscious biases where the interviewer will tend to score better a candidate with the same interests and background. Look for a virtual employee that embraces your company mission and life vision.

virtual employee

Last Thoughts on Remote Work

The research we mention at the beginning showed how bad hires impact companies’ incomes. The worst part of all is that a bad hire not only affects your budget but also it’s a waste of time and energy for you and your team.

At DistantJob, we take care of everything. Our headhunters can find exceptional talent for you and your team. We look for candidates that not only match the skills you’re looking for but also integrate with your company’s culture and processes.

If you don’t have the time to start with a virtual hiring process, but you want to hire the best talent, we are here to help you find the best remote developers!

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Maria Rainelli

Maria Rainelli

Maria Rainelli is a freelance writer who works with DistantJob to research and synthesise the best remote work related content into practical, accurate and actionable guides and articles on how to improve remote leadership and better manage your teams.