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Candidate Skills to Look for When Hiring Remote Employees

Whether you’ve made the switch to full remote work or are just open to having employees who work from home, hiring remote employees is the way of the future. According to iHire’s Special Job Seeker Report: What Candidates Want, 47.8% of job seekers say it’s “very important” or “important” to search for jobs that let them work remotely. 

What does the desire to work remotely mean for you as an employer? It means you’ll not only need to embrace the calls for remote work opportunities, but also that you’ll need to interview and hire remote workers.  

Luckily, hiring remote employers is very similar to hiring in-office employees. There will be skills you’ll want to review resumes for and qualities that successful remote workers may have. In today’s competitive labor market, you’ll also want to be poised to extend a competitive offer quickly so that you don’t lose out on top talent. 


Woman interviewing online


Skills to Look for in Remote Hires 

When you’re interviewing candidates for any role, there are specific qualities and skills you’re looking for. Some may be intrinsic to the role you’re trying to fill (e.g., software proficiencies, certifications, or affiliations), while others may be more related to making sure a candidate is a good culture fit for your organization or team. 

When interviewing and hiring remote employees, you’ll want to pay careful attention to see if a candidate has the skills needed to work remotely. Some of those skills and characteristics include the following:  


Communication Skills 

Because remote employees will not be in an office, they won’t be able to communicate with their peers or managers as frequently or on the fly (there’s no “water cooler chat”). Instead, they’ll need to be able to draft clear communications via email, chat, or other digital messaging to stay in touch with co-workers, supervisors, and clients, and on top of all work assignments.  

Remote employees should be able to convey messages clearly and concisely to all necessary stakeholders, so look for candidates with excellent writing and verbal communication skills. 


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Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills 

Problems are bound to occur during a workday. However, employees at home will need to problem-solve on their own, as they won’t be able to flag down a manager to come over to their station and help them.  

You’ll want to scan a resume for anything that proves a candidate possesses critical thinking skills. Be sure to ask targeted questions during the interview to uncover whether employees will be able to effectively problem-solve in full-time work-from-home jobs.  

Ambiguity and daily hurdles are likely, so employees who can research solutions and resolve issues without depending on others for every decision are likely to succeed in a remote environment.


Ability to Ask Questions 

Some people are more willing than others to ask questions and speak up when they need help. When hiring remote employees, look for someone who isn’t afraid to ask questions. It can be easy for work-from-home staff to try to “go it alone,” but asking questions will ensure tasks are done correctly and efficiently.


Woman thinking at laptop



One of the most important characteristics needed to work remotely is accountability. You’ll want to search for employees who you trust to get their work done on their own time from home. Otherwise, you’ll be constantly worried about whether the work is getting done or not.  

Look for candidates who have a track record of meeting deadlines. During the interview process, asking applicants to describe a time in their career when they had to meet a difficult deadline can help you gauge their ability to step up to the plate when turnaround times are tight.  

This list of skills is not exhaustive – your company may notice that other attributes are equally as important for your remote employees to succeed. In the meantime, check out our Remote Recruiting Toolkit for more relevant hiring tips and tips.

By iHire | August 20, 2021