ThriveIt’s hard enough to determine whether or not a candidate will be a good fit for a job after an in-person interview, but how can you be sure of candidates you never actually meet? For companies looking to hire remote employees, this is an issue that needs to be addressed, especially since 2.6 percent of the nation’s employee workforce (3.3 million people) consider home their primary place of work, according to survey data from Global Workplace Analytics.

So, how do you land workers who will not just survive, but thrive in a virtual work environment? You can do so by tailoring the interview to fit not just the needs of the job, but the needs of a remote work environment as well. Here are a few steps to take when looking to hire successful remote workers:

1. Perform a Face-to-Face Interview

You don’t have to meet a job candidate in person to have a face-to-face interview. Two-way video interviews closely simulate the traditional in-person interview, enabling participants to interact in real time and see each other despite being in separate places — something phone interviews can’t offer.

Video interviews give recruiters a chance to see and assess a candidate’s unique personality, facial expressions, body language, and professionalism. How a person dresses, sits, and reacts to specific questions can tell you a lot about them.

Additionally, recruiters can opt to screen candidates with one-way interviews, in which candidates answer a series of pre-determined questions via video recording. Not only does this allow recruiters to screen more candidates in less time, it also give candidates an opportunity to really put their best foot forward, as most one-way interviews allow re-recording of video.

2. Consider the Candidate’s Location

A remote workforce lends itself to increased hiring flexibility, but that doesn’t make the candidate field completely open. Time zones should play a pretty big role in choosing the right candidates for a virtual position.

It’s doubtful that a company in California, for instance, will want an employee who lives in France — that’s a nine-hour time difference. Communicating via chat, video conference, or even phone call would be difficult with such a large time difference. When recruiting remote workers, keep in mind that employers will likely want their new hire to be available during general work hours.

3. Investigate the Candidate’s Social Presence

With 74 percent of online adults already using at least one form of social media, according to the Pew Center for Research, social media can serve as an effective recruiting tool. This is especially the case when you’re looking to recruit candidates for a virtual position, as this may be your only opportunity to see what they’re like when they’re not trying to impress you.

Of course, there are legal guidelines to screening your candidates online. Your safest bet is to wait until after you’ve conducted a face-to-face interview with the candidate before checking them out on social media to avoid the issue of discrimination.

That being said, social media can help recruiters gain a more personal view of a candidate. It can also raise some candidate red flags (e.g. inappropriate photos, cursing, etc.) that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

4. Look for Similar Experience

As employers continue to build more flexible workforces, more and more candidates are likely to have some form of telecommuting experience. Even if that experience was just occasionally working from home, every little bit counts when looking for workers who will thrive in a virtual work environment.

While you shouldn’t necessarily write-off candidates who don’t have experience working from home, you should at least consider work-from-home experience a definite bonus.

5.Ask Insightful Questions

Last, but certainly not least, you should ask questions that will help you gain valuable insight into job candidates and their ability to work from home. Go beyond the typical experience and qualification questions. Try asking some of the following questions:

How do you stay organized and prioritize tasks? — This question is more important than you think. Understanding a candidate’s methods for properly scheduling their workday will help you feel confident in their ability to be an efficient, accountable remote employee.

How do you prefer to communicate with team members? — The answer to this question helps you gain better insight into the candidate’s communication abilities. Make sure potential hires are comfortable with the form of communication your clients and employees use.

If hired for the position, what would your work environment look like? — This question can help you envision the candidate’s work environment. Do they have a home office? A desktop computer? Having a proper home (work) environment tells you they’re ready to handle remote work.

How do you go about hiring efficient remote workers? Please share your tips in the comment section below!

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