In an article published by the Australian Financial Review at the beginning of August, technology editor Paul Smith wrote: “Australian technology giant Atlassian will let its workers do their jobs from wherever they like, even after COVID-19 restrictions have passed, making a new commitment to focus on ‘outcomes, not clock hours’ and to hire talent wherever it resides in the world.”
American companies are leading the WFH mandate with many US-based organisations advising staff not to return to offices until a COVID-19 vaccine has been produced. It seems that for the foreseeable future at least, when engaging talent for your team, you will need to explore whether your new staff member can effectively and successfully work remotely.
So, when hiring now for your team, what skills will you need to ensure candidates have in order to flourish in this new way of working?
• Ability to work independently & strong self-motivation: This is a no brainer. When working from home, your staff member won’t have the luxury of having their manager there to guide them, mentor them or develop their skills. Candidates need to be trusted to deliver the expected outcomes on their own.
• Strong communication skills: While this is equally important for staff on-site – communication is key to ensuring remote workers stay in touch with their colleagues and management. They need to be strong in both written and verbal communication skills, as they will need to reach out via email, chat, phone and virtual meetings. The key is to look for candidates who can communicate in any situation.
• Problem solving abilities: Your candidates ability to identify a problem and develop a solution independently is key when working remotely. Their ability to critical analyse can also lead to innovations for your organisation.
• Organisation skills: As a manager, it’s up to you to set deadlines for your staff, but in order for your employees to manage their time effectively and prioritise work, they must be able to display strong organisational skills.
• Tech savvyness: There’s no room for tech phobia when working from home. There are many candidates on the market who aren’t willing to learn new systems or go out of their comfort zone in order to work efficiently. You need to identify if your candidate has the ability to utilise your systems OR has the ability and the willingness to learn new systems in order to excel in their role.
• Ability to ‘clock off’ and set boundaries: Working from home can quickly turn into ‘living at work’ if your staff member doesn’t have the ability to set boundaries between home life and work life. While it might seem fantastic to have such a dedicated employee, this can quickly lead to your staff member burning out and in turn, moving on from your organisation.
• Being a team player: While your candidate needs to have the ability to work independently, they also need to be really strong team players, as they will still be working with others. Your candidate will be required to make the effort themselves to foster relationships by picking up the phones, sending emails, messages or chat invites, or organising a virtual meeting with their work colleagues. Many team leaders and hiring managers over the past six months have commented on how well their teams have been working together remotely. They’ve really risen to the challenge and taken the extra effort to support one another through virtual lunches and informal Zoom / Teams catch ups on Friday afternoons.
How to identify candidates who can work well from home
During your interview process, try asking behavioural-based questions to determine if your candidate has the soft skills required to do the job at hand. Some questions that will assess their abilities include:
• Self-motivated/ability to work independently:
o How do you maintain self-motivation when you experience a setback on the way to achieving your goal?
• Communication skills:
o Give me an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
• Problem solving:
o Describe a time when you anticipated potential problems and developed preventative measures?
• Setting boundaries:
o Sometimes it’s just not possible to achieve everything on your to-do list. Tell me about a time where you’ve had to reorganise your day to ensure a task was met without you being required to work longer hours for it to be completed.
• Team approach:
o Tell us about an idea you started that involved collaboration with your colleagues that improved the business.
• Organisational skills:
o At times your workload may feel unmanageable. Describe a time when you recognised you were unable to meet multiple deadlines. What did you do about it?
• Tech Savvy:
o What software problems have you faced in the past, and how did you solve them?
Hiring key staff to join you in this new way of working is very exciting. When you’re able to pinpoint the qualities that will be needed in order for them to succeed in your business, the potential outcomes are limitless.
Speak to the SB Recruitment team if you would like a virtual interview template to help identify the best candidate for your business.