What are the desirable personal qualities hiring managers look for in a remote candidate? The author lays out 5 characteristics that hiring managers look for including great communication skills, focus, accountability, time management, and resourcefulness.
- Want to know if your personal qualities and skills are up to snuff for remote work? I can tell you that from my experience hiring managers value remote job seekers that are great communicators, have the ability to focus with little supervision, are accountable for their actions, have great time management skills, and are resourceful. In this video I'd like to share with you some examples of why these personality traits will increase your value as a remote employee. First let's talk about communication.
Why do you want a remote job? So you don't have to be forced to speak with other employees in the office, right? Wrong answer obviously, but there are some important communication differences in a remote setting. Remote job seekers should be able to show examples of proactive communication. For example, I've worked in an office where the IT guy would chat me up in the kitchen, a manager from another department would pick my brain about an idea, and my teammate would tap me on the shoulder to ask a question whenever he needed to.
All this happened without me needing to take the initiative. This type of passive engagement is much easier in an office because of my literal proximity with other human beings. In a remote environment these interactions become much less organic and it's attractive to hire remote workers that actively pursue communication to stay engaged, connected and productive. This shows that you have your head in the game and are interested in being part of important conversations and company culture.
Next up on the list is focus. Dirty dishes, noisy roommates, TV, demanding family members, all of these are focus killers in a remote home office. You've got to be able to avoid distractions and reduce interruptions in a remote setting. Otherwise, it's just hard to stay productive. I either use a desk in my bedroom or my back patio for my quiet space. Be prepared to let hiring managers know where you'll be setting up your remote office and how you deal with distractions and interruptions.
If you're at home this could mean setting up a quiet space where you will be physically separating yourself from those distractions too. Now let's talk about accountability and transparency. We've all blamed others for our failures. The reason I missed the deadline was because I was waiting for Bill in accounting but he never gave me the information I needed. This is an example of what not to do. Remote job seekers must be accountable and transparent with the decisions they make and must be comfortable owning their failures.
Why? Because if I'm your manager I can't actually see what you're doing on a daily basis. If you're having trouble delivering on a task be transparent about it so it's not going to be a surprise down the road. Then the two of you can work together to solve any problems ahead of time. Showing the status of the projects you're working on and answering why you made certain decisions will allow you and your manager to learn quickly from experiences, help build a working relationship and allow for course correction.
Time management is another very important quality in a remote worker. Remote working does not mean having freedom to go fishing in the middle of the day. One of the biggest fears of a remote manager is not knowing if an employee is actually working, and during the interview process hiring managers will often ask how a remote job seeker will manage their time in an unsupervised environment. Time management is crucial to any remote worker that wants to build trust with a potential manager and ensures you can meet deadlines, be available during working hours, and don't require micromanagment to stay productive and on task.
And finally, let's look at the importance of resourcefulness in a remote setting. So you have a question about how to figure out your auto-reply message in email. So what do you do? You send your manager an email and then after two minutes of not getting a reply you email your coworker and then another and then another, this is an example of someone who is not resourceful. A resourceful person would have just Googled the question and figured it out without interrupting others. In a remote setting being able to avoid bottlenecks is desirable because it shows remote workers know how to stay productive.
For example, in an office if I can't find an answer I can just tap someone on the shoulder and ask. It's much more difficult in a remote setting so knowing where and how to find answers is extremely valuable as a remote worker. Plus this also shows hiring managers that you are a self-starter and can remain productive without the constant need to ask others for direction. Remote work is not for everyone, however if you really want to shine as someone who's cut out for remote work in an interview, remember to showcase times where you've gone out of your way to illustrate these characteristics.
- Preparing for your remote job hunt
- Setting up a productive workspace
- Finding remote jobs
- Avoiding scams
- Crafting a remote resume
- Interviewing for a remote job
- Negotiating salary
- Staying motivated