6 Tips for Hiring Remote Tech Employees

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It's easy to stick with standard interview questions, but hiring someone for a telecommuting position requires you to probe a little further. Let's say you're looking to hire a remote project manager. Asking candidates general questions about how they work as a team, how they fit into office culture, and what their skill strengths are does little to give you a complete picture of how they'll work virtually.

In addition, you should make sure to ask questions that pertain to behaviors and habits, such as:

  • What is your strategy for motivating employees to stay on task?
  • What do you find are your most effective communication strategies with two employees who have different ideas on how a project should be completed?
  • How do you stay current on emerging IT issues and technologies?
  • What sorts of policies and procedures will you put in place to keep employees on task?

Ask for very specific examples of previous project management experiences — and don't skip the references. Call up the potential employee's previous boss. Get references of people who have worked under the person. Ask them about the candidate's collaboration skills, how the manager fits into his or her previous corporate culture, and what his or her strengths or weaknesses were in the context of a particular project.

Also, you should ask the simple question: "Would you work for or with this person again?" That's a broad enough question that can either tell you nothing about the candidate or may open up a discussion of management styles and how they interact with clients.

In today's culture, the idea of a virtual workplace is incredibly attractive. Employees embrace the work-at-home idea because it fosters the notion of a more flexible work environment and increased work-life balance … all while, theoretically, in pajamas.

And for employers, remote workers save them plenty of overhead. A Stanford study that followed one company's remote workers found that they saved the employer an average of $1,900 per employee for nine months while working from home full time. The same study reported that on the whole, remote employees are also more productive, owing at least in part to a quieter space in which to focus and the lack of commute.

But … working from home is not for everyone. It's imperative that remote employees be extremely independent and self-motivated to maximize their time and maintain work quality.

In 2013, Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer banned employees from working remotely. Speaking at an HR conference that same year, Meyer defended her stance stating, "People are more productive when they're alone, but they're more collaborative and innovative when they're together. Some of the best ideas come from pulling two different ideas together."

Himanshu Sareen, CEO of Icreon Tech, however, believes that the very nature of the tech sector makes a strong case for telecommuting. As an employer you:

  • Have a greater talent pool from which to select
  • Are not confined to a job search by geographic location
  • Get a reduction in overhead
  • Are able to easily increase employee satisfaction (A Staples Advantage study reported 63 percent of the happiest employees are able to telecommute, have flex time, or both.)
  • Enjoy elimination or reduction of sick time or commute
  • Experience an increase in productivity

While all of this may sound appealing, if you're a tech company of any size there are some crucial factors Sareen thinks you should consider when hiring remote tech talent.


Related Topics : A Big Market for Big Data Jobs, Midmarket CIO, IT Management Automation, SharePoint, Technology Markets

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