Remote working is on the rise, with predictions that 50% of all workers will be doing their jobs remotely by 2020. There are, in fact, many companies that are completely remote.
Sara Sutton Fell, CEO of FlexJobs, doesn’t think half the workforce will be 100% remote by then, but she does argue we will be working remotely half the time.
For any employer that is hiring for a remote role, especially one that is fully remote, there are certain attributes and skills that an ideal candidate should have. In order to find the candidate who is the most likely to excel and deliver the best results, it is worth favoring CVs that fulfill the following requirements.
Outstanding Communication Skills
If you’re working remotely, then it’s necessary to be absolutely on the ball when it comes to communication. You can’t just walk over to your colleague’s desk and run something by them, so you need to be quick, reliable and consistent with replying to emails. As a recruiter, if you’re looking at a job application and communication skills aren’t emphasized and well evidenced, then this should raise a red flag. You really don’t want someone on the team who is going to take ages to reply to emails, especially when there are impending deadlines.
One way to judge the proficiency of a potential employee’s communication skills is to check their CV for experience with online collaboration tools such as Slack, Trello, Google Docs and Sheets, Skype, Yammer, Basecamp, and Asana. If they are used to working in teams using these tools, then it’s an indication that they are dependable in terms of online communication.
They’re Happy Working for Long Periods in Solitude
Even though remote teams may regularly communicate via collaboration tools, there’s no getting around the fact that remote workers will be doing their jobs in solitude. You may sometimes work in a coworking space or surrounded by other remote workers but this can still very much be a solitary experience without the traditional office chitchat and socializing.
In light of this, if you notice on an applicant’s CV that they either don’t have previous experience working remotely, or they haven’t tended to do jobs that involve a high degree of independence and autonomy, then it’s not clear if they would thrive in a remote role. Of course, this doesn’t mean solitary work is out of the question for them. However, you do want to gain assurance that whoever you hire will be comfortable working alone. Better yet, they will thrive and enjoy working in solitude.
What you don’t want is an employee who will constantly feel isolated and restless working alone and who has pent up social energy that causes them to be distracted from the task at hand. Different personality types suit different ways of working and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Discipline is Second Nature
Self-discipline. This is the kind of trait that should be highlighted in any application for a remote role. If you’re a hiring manager looking for a remote freelancer, for example, you need to ensure that the candidate is the kind of person who can be trusted to set their own schedule and stick to it, and who can effectively prioritize their tasks.
It can be difficult to assess self-discipline from a job application. If an applicant simply states they are disciplined, it needs to be backed up with evidence. This could include an impressive freelance portfolio that includes long-standing clients, or it could be previous work (remote or otherwise) that was busy and time-pressured by nature. If the candidate demonstrates they can produce high-quality work while juggling multiple tasks and deadlines, then this indicates a high degree of self-discipline. Any candidate who claims to be disciplined should also be able to state how they keep on top of things – this can include experience using project management software, task management tools or productivity tools.
Working remotely is the future. More and more companies are realizing that offices are not just unnecessary but actually out-dated. Open-plan offices, in particular, negatively impact both employee well-being and productivity. Therefore, by hiring someone for a remote role, it could be easier to find a candidate who will consistently complete tasks to a high standard, and who will be more likely to stick around since their job affords them work-life balance. However, this is only true to the extent that you find a candidate who is a good fit for remote work.
If you keep the above points in mind when perusing job applications, then it will be a win-win situation.
About the author: Sam Woolfe is a freelance writer who writes for Inspiring Interns, which specializes in finding candidates an internship in London.