In the wake of Covid-19, executives and managers who were once opposed or resistant to the idea of remote work have been pleasantly surprised to discover the various benefits that it can have for a workforce, from increased employee productivity to better retention rates.

Since the way we work is changing rapidly, hiring managers are also acknowledging that remote work isn't for everyone -- some prefer to collaborate and brainstorm in-person, or find it challenging to work with household distractions. 

Therefore, recruiting, hiring, and onboarding processes must shift to keep up. As many companies start to rely on virtual interviewing, business leaders need to think about how they should change their interviewing process and questions to ensure they're hiring people with the right competencies to succeed when working remotely long-term.

The best way to do this is through restructuring the questions you ask in a job interview, according to Kevin Parker, chairman and CEO at HireVue. I connected with Kevin to discuss what traits business leaders should look for when hiring new employees for remote positions.

1. Self-Motivation: Can You Motivate and Manage Yourself? 

In any job, employers typically look for candidates with the ability to self-motivate -- a trait that's especially key for remote positions with no supervision.

Many employees are now adjusting to managing themselves in today's remote work setting. Finding the daily drive to continue to produce quality work can be challenging when there are competing distractions in the home workplace, such as children or roommates. Knowing what tasks to prioritize and having the ability to move projects and timelines around as needed can go a long way in maintaining motivation and sustaining a more balanced workload.

"Employers should develop questions to understand a candidate's self-management skills and how they successfully balance the myriad of challenges we all have to face in our new WFH reality," says Parker.

Some suggestions include:

  • Can you share an example of when you went above and beyond to complete a task?
  • How do you stay organized and prioritize your workload to meet deadlines?

2. Independence: Do You Work Better Solo or as a Team Player?

The most successful candidates are the ones who show they are team-oriented but can also work independently. In remote settings, the ability to work independently can be a crucial skill.

"When interviewing for remote positions, go beyond asking about preferred working styles and home in on how a candidate would handle situations that can be harder to overcome when not in an office setting," Parker advises.

Include questions and prompts such as:

  • How would you go about communicating a problem you're encountering on the job?
  • Tell me about a time you were able to make a decision independently.

These experience-based questions give interviewers a sense of whether or not candidates have the independence and self-drive to succeed while working remotely.

3. Adaptability: How Do You Make Remote Work Work for You?

The third most important trait to measure in interviews is a candidate's ability to adapt to working in any setting. For example, can they continue to produce results consistently while managing their own time and schedules without heavy direction?

Sometimes this requires the flexibility to work adjusted hours beyond the typical 9-to-5. Consider asking behavioral questions such as:

  • How would you complete a task with a team member working in a different time zone?
  • How do you balance work and life?

On the flip side, one of the greatest benefits of remote work is having more time to spend on hobbies and with loved ones. Identify candidates who can find ways to adapt and shuffle tasks around when team members need to go to a doctor's appointment or care for another family member during the day.

When offices reopen for good, we may not see a full return to work as we once knew it. As remote work steadily becomes more of the norm, Parker believes that measuring for these traits in job interviews will make success more likely for both candidates and employers.