With remote work here to stay, it’s crucial to hire employees with the remote skills they need to thrive independently. Read on to find out ten essential skills to look for in an employee.
Remote skills are a set of hard and soft skills that are essential to productivity in a remote work environment. Consider the following ten best remote skills when onboarding candidates to find top talent.
Time management is arguably the most important skill for remote employees. In an office setting, the daily structure makes it easier to complete tasks. At home, employees have to complete time-sensitive tasks in an environment that can be filled with distractions.
Ideally, even when working from home, employees should have a specific time to start and sign off work. Employees who can create their own schedule and routine will be more effective at completing tasks on time and consistently.
Here are some things to look for on an employee’s resume that indicate strong time-management skills:
- Experience with planning and/or scheduling
- Experience handling multiple projects at once
- Experience with project management
- Ability to meet deadlines and/or submit work early
- Use of time management systems (Kanban, Agile Results)
- Use of time management software (Clockify, Rize, Calendly)
Here are some questions to ask during an interview that will help you determine if a candidate can manage their time wisely:
- Walk me through a typical workday.
- How do you prioritise tasks?
- If you have several ongoing projects to focus on, how do you manage your time effectively?
- Do you use any time management tools?
When working remotely, it can be more challenging to stay on track and focused, as there may be more distractions and employees have to create their own structure.
A organised employee can prioritise tasks, create a schedule, and stay on top of deadlines, making them more productive and efficient. Opportunities for face-to-face communication and supervision are limited with remote work, so it’s crucial that employees can effectively manage their own workload.
Organisational skills can also help employees manage their personal and professional commitments, which is important for maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Here are some indicators of organisational skills to look for in a candidate’s resume:
- Experience with productivity tools (Trello, Hive, Asana, Monday.com)
- Ability to plan strategically
- Experience with workflow analysis
- Experience with inventory management
- Ability to multitask effectively
- Ability to prioritise important tasks
Here are a few sample questions to ask your candidates to check their organisational skills:
- How do you stay organised when handling multiple projects?
- Do you use any organisational tools?
- How do you make sure to meet deadlines?
You need self-motivated employees who can keep themselves focused and productive even without supervision. Self-motivation allows employees to set and work towards their own professional goals. While there are many ways you can increase employee motivation, they don’t make up for an employee’s intrinsic motivation.
Self-motivation is a key driver in keeping employees engaged and ready to go above and beyond to achieve company goals. Here’s what to look for on a candidate’s resume:
- Instances where they took initiative to solve a problem
- Examples of times they asked for more responsibility
- Any professional development or upskilling they pursued
- Examples of times they went above and beyond the scope of their duties
- Goals they achieved
Here are a few questions to ask to determine whether your candidates are self-motivated:
- Tell me two short-term and long-term professional goals.
- How would you handle a task you’re not particularly excited about?
- What keeps you going when you don’t feel motivated?
- Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Reliable employees are responsible employees. Their team members know they can be counted on to follow through on their commitments, meet deadlines, and produce high-quality work, which helps foster productive collaboration and build trust.
Prioritise employees who have the following on their resume:
- A strong track record of delivering results
- Examples of how they were able to follow through on a project despite unexpected challenges
- Consistent support of colleagues
- Sustained professional development
Here are a few questions you can ask during the interview to gauge the candidates’ reliability:
- What do you think makes a reliable employee?
- Give me an example of a project you took charge of and oversaw to completion.
- What do you find difficult about collaborating with others and working on a team?
Remote offices rely on effective communication over a variety of channels. Your employees must be able to communicate clearly, personably, and in a helpful manner. Effective communication is one way to create a positive hybrid work environment.
Remote employees with good communication skills are able to convey their progress, challenges they may be facing, and any issues that may arise, which makes it easier for you to address any problems or roadblocks.
Here are a few ways to check for a candidate’s communication skills on their resume:
- Experience with communication tools (Slack, soom, Microsoft Teams)
- A well-written and professional resume and cover letter
- Examples of effective teamwork
- Examples of negotiation, conflict resolution, or presentation
- Experience communicating with management, stakeholders, or clients
The following questions can help you gauge candidates’ communication skills in an interview:
- What’s your preferred form of communication?
- Tell me about a time you dealt with a difficult customer.
- How would you handle a disagreement with a superior?
While the physical aspect of working with fellow employees is removed in a remote working environment, collaboration is still vital to completing tasks and achieving goals. Digital platforms have made it possible for remote employees to stay up-to-date and work together to achieve the team’s mission.
Collaboration is also important for maintaining strong interpersonal relationships within the team. When team members collaborate effectively, it helps to foster a sense of teamwork and support, which is especially important in a remote setting where it can be more challenging to maintain strong connections with team members.
Check for the following in your candidates’ resumes to identify collaboration skills:
- Proficiency in using collaborative platforms (Wrike, Figma, Google Workspace, GitHub)
- Examples of teamwork and group projects
- Leadership roles
- Experience working on diverse teams
- Experience collaborating with teams across departments
Here are a few questions to ask your candidates to determine how well they collaborate:
- Describe a time you worked with your team to achieve company targets and how you contributed to the team’s success.
- How do you stay organised and on track when working on a project as part of a team?
- How do you stay connected with your team members when working remotely?
Technical remote skills
Of all the important skills for candidates to highlight on their resume for a remote position, their technical skills rank highly. Remote employees have to juggle a wide range of technical tools to manage every aspect of their work. There are digital tools for scheduling, project management, instant messaging, web and video conferencing, and more.
When hiring remote employees, it’s vital to ensure they can comfortably use these tools. They may not need in-depth knowledge about all the tools and technology, but they should be able to at least access the digital tools your company uses daily.
Technology is ever-evolving, and each day we see the development of new tools that make remote work easier. For this reason, you need employees who are tech-savvy enough to learn how to use new technology with little to no assistance.
Check for the following on your candidates’ resumes to determine technical remote skills:
- Digital literacy skills
- Proficiency and experience using technical tools and platforms
- Experience working and collaborating with remote teams
Here are some interview questions that can help you get a feel for a candidate’s technical remote skills:
- Tell me about a time you adjusted to the implementation of a new software system at work.
- What collaboration tools have you used before?
- What would you do if you were experiencing technical difficulties that prevented you from doing your work?
When hiring new employees, you want employees with a strong work ethic. Aside from the technical prowess needed to succeed in a remote role, they need to be self-disciplined
Your workers will be working independently, and it will be challenging to keep track of everything all the time, so you need workers who can stay focused and on-task without oversight.
Here’s what to look for on a self-disciplined candidate’s resume:
- Experience working independently with minimal supervision
- Goals the candidate set and achieved
- Demonstration of excellent organisation or time management skills
- Examples of how the candidate persevered to deliver results despite challenges
The following questions can help you gauge a candidate’s self-discipline:
- Tell me about a time you had to motivate yourself to complete a task or project.
- Can you describe a long-term goal or objective that you achieved, and how you stayed focused and motivated to reach it?
- How do you handle distractions and interruptions when you’re working on a task?
Remote work can present unique challenges, such as difficulties with communication and collaboration, technical issues, and the need for exceptional time management. Being able to effectively solve problems helps remote employees to overcome these challenges and continue to be productive and effective in their work.
Problem-solving skills also help remote employees think critically and creatively, which is valuable in coming up with innovative solutions to problems.
Check for the following skills on the candidates’ resumes:
- Specific examples of problems the candidate has identified and solved
- Creative and critical thinking skills
- Analysis and evaluation skills and experience
You can also ask the following questions to gauge their problem-solving abilities:
- Tell us about a time you solved a complex problem in your previous job.
- Have you ever had to solve a problem without all the necessary information or resources? How did you handle the situation?
- How do you handle setbacks or obstacles when trying to solve a problem?
Adaptability is a vital skill that every remote employee must have to keep pace with the ever-changing work culture. Your employees must be able to adjust quickly to changes and readily adopt new systems.
In a remote or hybrid work environment, you can expect many changes in workflow, personnel, and work procedures. You need employees who can handle these changes while maintaining motivation and productivity.
Adaptability to new technologies and tools is also highly crucial. Your company will introduce new tools and programs, and your employees should be flexible enough to transition seamlessly.
Here are some things that indicate adaptability on a candidate’s resume:
- Adaptation to new systems or software
- Maintaining a high performance after switching to a remote role
- Comfortable with taking on a wide range of new tasks or challenges
- Successfully changed roles or transitioned after a promotion
The following questions can also help you evaluate a candidate’s adaptability:
- Have you ever had to adapt to a new team or work environment? How did you successfully integrate into the new situation?
- Describe a time you had to learn something new or take on new responsibilities. How did you approach the learning process and what challenges did you face?
- How do you handle change or uncertainty in the workplace?
Remote work can benefit employers as well as employees, making it a trend that’s likely to persist. Along with the continuation of remote work comes an increased need to hire candidates for their remote work skill set. By considering these skills when evaluating candidates and using tools and technologies to assess a candidate’s ability to work remotely, you can effectively hire top talent who will thrive in a remote position.
Once you’ve hired your talent, it’s up to you to provide the necessary resources and support to help your employees succeed. This includes providing the necessary equipment and technology, offering training and support, establishing clear communication channels and guidelines, encouraging self-care and breaks, and fostering a sense of community among remote employees. By providing support for your employees, you can help promote productivity and well-being.
About the Author
Corissa is a Career Advisor and Staff Writer at Resume Genius, where she loves equipping others with the tools they need to pursue their dreams.