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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it unprecedented change. One of the perhaps long-lasting effects has been a shift towards remote working in many industries. This has been far from a simple transformation but now, most businesses are embracing this change and they are seeing distinct advantages. Such advantages include greater productivity, improved morale and reduced expenditures. Nevertheless, there are distinct issues that hiring talent to work remotely presents and moreover, challenges for when the hiring process is conducted from distance.

If your business is new to hiring off-site talent, is new to hiring talent off-site or is new to both it’s likely you have a number of questions. Where to find remote workers? Are there additional qualities or skills that should be sought? How does the process differ when these interviews are conducted remotely and what questions should be posed to assess whether the candidate will flourish in a remote working scenario? Below is some guidance that will help answer these questions


Finding Remote Workers

Job search websites are frequently the first point of call for advertising open positions and garnering the attention of prospective candidates. However, this tactic may ultimately result in a plethora of CVs many of which from unsuitable candidates. This invariably necessitates considerable time spent reviewing applications that could be reallocated to more productive tasks.

Oftentimes, the most efficient option is to contact a specialised recruitment agency such as HireForce. Helping you find the right fit, fast, for your open role – including remote positions is our area of expertise.


Necessary Skills

Even if afforded the opportunity to interview in person, it isn’t always easy to assess whether a candidate is suitable for remote work. In addition to the usual criteria for the role, if intending to hire someone to work remotely, the following skills are also essential:

Communication: Strong communication skills are always appreciated and desired but typically are thought of as synonymous with public speaking skills. In the virtual environment, how one communicates via email, phone and instant messaging is equally as important as compelling oratory. Consider candidates who not only speak with conviction but also, write persuasively.

Dynamism: If one is to be trusted and given the autonomy to work remotely then it’s essential that they are resourceful and demonstrate spirited initiative. Candidates must be able to work of their own accord and take action without prompt.

Solution Focused: Candidates should be able to present potential solutions when they discuss problems with those more senior.

Technically Adept: Candidates must be technologically proficient in order to work remotely. They must be familiar with video conferencing services such as Zoom, collaborative web applications such as Google docs and cloud-based software such as Dropbox.

IT Security: Candidates should share your concerns for digital security especially given the fact that they will have company property in the form of computers with sensitive information away from the office. Appreciating the importance of Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), multifactor authentication, password management and best practice for data privacy is essential.

Team Work: Being able to work effectively as part of the team can be challenging when the team members are not working in the same building. Indeed, hiring only those that possess strong teamwork skills ensures your company’s culture is not tarnished by the presence of off-site employees.


Interviewing Candidates

Once you have found suitable candidates with the aforementioned skills it’s time to interview your shortlisted candidates. If interviewing virtually it’s best practice to conduct these interviews by video. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, to gain a better picture of how one presents oneself. Secondly, to evaluate whether their bandwidth’s suitability for remote work and to assess how comfortable they are communicating online. The below are some practical questions you may wish to ask:


  1. Why is remote working attractive to you?
  2. Have you any experience of remote working?
  3. What experience have you had with collaborative and cloud-based platforms?
  4. How do you remain attentive when there are distractions at home?
  5. How does your work-life balance compare when your job is remote to when it’s on-site?
  6. What is your strategy to reduce the potential for miscommunication in emails?
  7. What are the disadvantages to remote working and how do you combat them?


Albeit managing a remote workforce may not have been anticipated, this is the new normal.

As you adapt to this new normal start your business off on the right foot by hiring those workers most likely to excel in this environment and then fully integrating those new off-site employees into your company. If you’re still unsure or have any further questions HireForce can provide you with assistance where and when you need it.