In an employment market where more and more freelancers are looking to work remotely from home and with a corresponding increase in companies hiring from the remote freelance sector, How as an employer can you ensure you get the best person for the job?
Not everyone is adequately equipped for the unique stresses and strains of remote working. What important interview questions should you ask in order to ensure that you hire the best freelance candidate?
Question: Have you worked remotely before?
This might seem a bit of an obvious one, and by no means should it be the only criteria for employment, but it can provide a quick insight and is a good basis for further questions. This question allows you to gauge the applicants starting point. Have they spent time working remotely before? Have they worked from home? How did they manage?
It’s a huge change from working in a 9-5 office environment with dedicated team support and easily accessible colleagues, to working remotely with clients across the world. When working remotely you will often have no personal supervision, no colleagues to chat to or encourage you along and guide you in the right direction. Some people simply aren't cut out for this type of employment.
Having gained some experience of this type of work puts the freelancer one step ahead, they already know what to expect, and in answering this question it will enable you to assess if they already possess the necessary mindset and skills to flourish in your remote working industry. You may want to follow this up with.
Question: What were some of the challenges of working remotely? How did you or do you anticipate overcoming them?
Asking this additional question allows the experienced remote worker to expand on their previous work, it allows them to showcase their problem solving, output and hard skills by giving definite work based examples from their portfolio.
However, it also allows the inexperienced worker to think ahead and imagine any problems that may occur, through this you can see if the applicant has thought through their change of employment style properly, or if they have an unrealistic expectation of working from home. Often the expectation does not tally with the reality of remote working.
Question: What tools do you use in your remote work life?
Remote working demands high-level communication skills. Given the nature of the work, it is vital that the freelancer stays in contact and in communication with their employer. A certain degree of effort is needed to keep up this smooth working relationship. Virtual communication will be absolutely fundamental in doing so, so what kind of tools do they use? Are they aware of their importance in the remote work environment and are they capable of using them to convey the relevant information quickly and when prompted?
Technological tools such as cloud drives, Email, online chat, video calls, and project managing software have replaced the office-based chat and meeting, you need to know if this is something the client is comfortable with and capable of doing.
A good answer to this question should ideally showcase the applicant's ability to communicate across a wide range of these platforms. Using different media in the interview process would be beneficial in truly gauging the applicants' comfort levels.
Question: What is your ideal work environment?
By asking this question you are further assessing both the applicants fit for the job and their self-awareness. If they normally require a hands-on manager or a rigid support network, then remote working may not be for them.
The freelancer is totally responsible for their work environment. What should that look like for them? This speaks to the freelancers self-awareness, where do their results come from. An applicant with no idea of how they achieve productive results will not be able to replicate it time after time.
Self-awareness in a remote working role is also key in avoiding burn out. Does the applicant know how to balance their work life ratio to maximize results whilst working from home.
You don't need to know exactly what they do, more that they have given some thought to the differences in remote working and how to alter their living habits accordingly.
Question: What, if any additional questions do you have about the project?
This is an established industry question to close an interview. In asking this question you are giving the applicant a chance to be proactive and use initiative.
An interested and self-motivated candidate will have listened to and researched your requirements for the project and may already have formulated ways of fulfilling the brief or indeed improving it.
Initiative and drive are essential qualities in the remote worker, the freelancer that is already showing active interest at the interview stage process will more than likely bring that same drive and motivation to your project. A self-motivated remote worker means you won’t have to spend time chasing them and prodding them for their work.
It is vital when employing a remote worker that you hire someone who is an independent, self-motivated problem solver. Ideally, you will be hiring someone who can communicate effectively, and someone who is self-aware enough to balance their work life correctly in order to work unsupervised from home.
By asking these interview questions you can get on the right track to employing the perfect hire, someone who can potentially breath fresh life into your business whilst fitting seamlessly within your working model.
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