It’s tempting to think that you don’t need to screen your virtual team members very carefully. After all, you won’t be sharing physical space, hollering at each other over cube walls, or jockeying for prime lunch bag spots in the office fridge. Remote workers can be interviewed with less scrutiny and care, right?
In fact, you’ll want to be even more meticulous when you’re hiring virtual team members!
Your work interactions will be different than those you’d have with in-person colleagues or contractors, but they’ll be just as nuanced and complex.
Remote communication has many challenges, and hiring freelancers who know how to navigate those challenges is essential.
So, with that in mind, let’s look at 4 key considerations every entrepreneur should bear in mind when hiring for spots on their virtual team.
When Hiring for Your Virtual Team: Know Your Sticking Points
Depending on where you are in your team-building process, you’ll need to take one of two tactics.
If you’re just getting started and haven’t worked with many remote contractors yet, build out a list of non-negotiables based on your business core values.
- Do you need freelancers who are discreet?
- Have impeccable taste?
- Care about certain causes or issues?
Pull up your mission and/or vision statements and use those ideas to craft a list of ideal traits that every team member should have.
If you’ve already worked with remote team members for some time, you can start with your core values, but then add another layer. Think about previous contractors and how they gelled with you and your team.
- What about them was amazing?
- What was difficult?
- If you could build a team member out of the positive traits of past contractors, what would she be like?
Regardless of which list you end up writing, be sure to add any pet peeves or true sticking points.
If you’re hiring for customer service, politeness will be essential … but for ghostwriting it might not matter. Do you need someone who keeps a cool head when stuff goes sideways? Make a note if so.
When Hiring for Your Virtual Team: Screen for Personality Traits
Since your team members will work with you as well as each other, give some consideration to personality alignment. It may sound optional, but believe me, it’s not!
Making sure that a new person joining a team will collaborate and communicate effectively is all about personality. After all, our fundamental traits drive our working behaviors.
If you’ve got an established team, you can use personalities quizzes such as Kolbe or Enneagram to match the personalities of applicants to those already on the team.
Or if you’d rather be a little less clinical, you can ask applicants for their consent to let other team members review recordings of their interview sessions with you. Gather input from your current team, and respect their opinions when making the final call.
When Hiring for Your Virtual Team: Talk About Passion
Say you’ve got an application from a virtual assistant who looks great on paper. When you get her on the phone or in a video chat, get a read on her excitement and passion.
Does her energy and drive match your vision for where your company is going?
Is she excited to be a part of it, or does it seem like she’s just looking for a paycheck?
You won’t need every single team member to be a self-proclaimed superfan of your work … but you will need them to be engaged and invested. Anyone who’s disinterested or apathetic won’t do well on a high-powered virtual team.
When Hiring for Your Virtual Team: Do a Gut-check for Trust
At the end of the day, it all comes down to trust. The other three considerations are extremely important, but won’t mean diddly-squat if the applicant in question seems scattered, uninformed, or otherwise sketchy.
- Do you trust this person to do exactly what you are paying them to do, based on what you have seen, read, heard, and learned about them?
- Do they make you feel confident and secure?
- Or does your gut tell you they’ll need endless hand-holding and course-correction?
Your team members must inspire trust, or you won’t be able to rely on them.
Building a virtual team is an art, not a science, so even these rules won’t be 100% foolproof.
They will, however, help you quickly screen out some duds, articulate your team priorities, and avoid wasting your time on applicants who won’t last a week.
Getting super clear on what you do and don’t want in a virtual team member is crucial to making smart, mutually beneficial hiring choices!
PS. If you want to make interviewing your next virtual assistant a breeze, click here to download my 25 interview questions to ask a virtual assistant.