Recruiting Virtual Work Stars

January 10, 2023 by

Five Proven Tips For Making Smart Remote Hiring Choices

An overwhelming number of employers worldwide (75%) have reported talent shortages and ongoing challenges to hire qualified workers.¹  More than ever, effective recruiting is a very tricky proposition, especially if you only want to hire the most qualified and best virtual workers.   

Despite the recently announced layoffs in the technology sector and a potential recession, many people are looking to leave their office surroundings and instead work from home as remote workers.

As such, when evaluating remote candidates, your hiring managers’ top priorities should be the candidates’ skills and abilities, experience, and work history, but they also need to review information beyond what is on the resume.

Superior work performance on your virtual teams is far more likely when candidates are keenly selected, properly positioned, and thoroughly trained.

Without further delay, here are my five proven strategies for hiring remote work stars:


      1. Polish your organization’s online brand image.

Your first step in identifying the most talented virtual workers is to ensure that you don’t lose them before you even find them.  Specifically, your job candidates should be able to easily see your organization’s mission, vision, and values well before they submit their application.  Thankfully, given the existence of the internet, it has never been easier to identify these, as well as your organization’s work history and reputation.


      2. Openly reveal the details and rewards of the virtual job position.

Make sure that your job postings and hiring efforts clearly communicate the details of the remote role, as well as the skills and abilities job candidates should have to be considered for the position.  This step is essential to easily eliminating people who either don’t fit the culture of your organization or the specific remote job requirements.  

Also, your internet presence (web site, blogs, postings, emailed newsletter, LinkedIn, etc.) should emphasize the possibilities and rewards of remote work.  In addition, the job description should not only reference that the work is virtual, but also precisely detail how much of the work is to be conducted remotely.  For example, is it a fully remote position, a hybrid of virtual and in-office, or a job position with merely the possibility of some telecommuting?  Importantly, make sure you are as honest and transparent about the remote nature of the position, as opposed to stretching the truth.

Another critical element is to detail the skills and abilities of the most qualified remote workers you are seeking.  For example, use words like “self-motivated,” “independent,” “proactive,” “efficient,” and “requiring minimal supervision.”  By doing so, the best candidates will not be deterred by such descriptions, while the least-qualified individuals will be driven away by such descriptors before they ever apply for the position.


      3. Seek Independent Problem Solvers.

Virtual workers cannot be people who need a lot of managing and hand-holding.  Employees like that can waste away much of a day waiting to be told what to do, rather than being proactive and making autonomous decisions.  Instead, the best remote workers should be able to work independently and create sensible and technology-smart solutions to everyday problems.

In order to assess these qualities in a candidate, ask them a question proposing a theoretical situation in the remote workplace.  For example:  “Imagine that you are working remotely, your manager is not available, and you suddenly confront a barrier that prevents further progress on critically-important project with a looming deadline.  How do you proceed?”  The right candidates will clearly and succinctly outline a plan of action to address this situation.  The wrong candidates will be dumbfounded by this theoretical question, and thus, unable to articulate what they would do in this situation.

You could also give the job candidate an opportunity to highlight their proven problem-solving skills.  For example, ask:  “Have you ever overcome a roadblock while working remotely?   What was it and how did you solve it or create a work-around?  What did you learn from the experience?”


      4. Prioritize Social Intelligence.

Individuals who are open-minded, respectful, considerate, and observant make for strong virtual workers, largely because the social safety net for remote workers is a lot less reliable than for workers who commute to, and reside in, an office.  If not managed closely, the sheer isolation of remote work can lead to loneliness, stress, burnout, mistrust, and dysfunction, thereby rendering any remote team project into complete disorder.

When working on a remote team, your only sign of your coworkers’ location, demeanor, and expectations are their messages, which on certain days, are often infrequent.  This is exactly why you want your virtual workers to have strong social antennas – the very people who are able to look beyond their immediate reality and assess the situation from others’ vantage points using empathy.  The very best virtual workers embrace solidarity, are keenly aware to look out for warning signs, and know exactly when they should offer help, an encouraging word or compliment, or another gesture of coworker support.


      5. Seek Remote Workers Who Possess A Passion For Life.

As you recruit virtual workers, you should look for people who have curiosity, passion, and enthusiasm for life beyond the office.  You should want people who absolutely embrace and enjoy life, as opposed to someone who expects their job to give their life meaning.  These passion-for-life seekers could be water skiers, bicyclists, music enthusiasts, and many other things.  They might love to travel, sing, or volunteer.  The source of their passion is largely irrelevant:  what matters the most is that remote work provides them the life the way they have always wanted.  Furthermore, their passion not only drives their superior work performance, but also allows them to set a clear separation between work and life, helping them avoid stress and burnout.  


In summary, we cannot forget that for many people this new remote environment was thrust upon them, largely due to the pandemic.  As such, many managers and employers did not have time to develop or employ remote work tactics and strategies.  By employing the five aforementioned tips for recruiting your next remote work stars, your organization, managers, and employees will fully realize the wonderful benefits of remote work.  



1 2022 Study By Manpower Group.


Kevin Sheridan is an internationally-recognized Keynote Speaker, a New York Times Best Selling Author, and one of the most sought-after voices in the world on the topic of Employee Engagement. For five years running, he has been honored on Inc. Magazine’s top 100 Leadership Speakers in the world, as well as Inc.’s top 100 experts on Employee Engagement. He was also honored to be named to The Employee Engagement Award’s Top 101 Global Influencers on Employee Engagement of 2017.

Having spent thirty years as a high-level Human Capital Management consultant, Kevin has helped some of the world’s largest corporations rebuild a culture that fosters productive engagement, earning him several distinctive awards and honors. Kevin’s premier creation, PEER®, has been consistently recognized as a long-overdue, industry-changing innovation in the field of Employee Engagement. His first book, Building a Magnetic Culture, made six of the best seller lists including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. He is also the author of The Virtual Manager, which explores how to most effectively manage remote workers.

Kevin received a Master of Business Administration from the Harvard Business School in 1988, concentrating his degree in Strategy, Human Resources Management, and Organizational Behavior. He is also a serial entrepreneur, having founded and sold three different companies.