10 Remote Companies Share How They Evaluate Virtual Job Candidates

10 Remote Companies Share How They Evaluate Virtual Job Candidates

Working remotely for a company is a much sought-after opportunity. Currently, 2.9 percent of the total U.S. workforce work from home at least half of the time, according to the 2017 State of Telecommuting in the U.S. Employee Workforce report. And the number of people seeking remote work is growing every year.

So, if you’re hoping to join the ranks of remote employees, it’s crucial to know what hiring managers look for in an ideal remote candidate.

But which experiences and characteristics make for an excellent full- or part-time remote worker? Just what are hiring managers looking for when interviewing virtual job candidates? And how can prospective employees create the best impression possible?

Below, HR experts and leaders of distributed teams from 10 companies have shared their perspectives on these questions, including personal anecdotes from their own searches and what, if anything, they perceive to be “red flags.” Check out their insights, and you just might have a better shot of landing your ideal remote gig!

10 Remote Companies Share How They Evaluate Virtual Job Candidates


“Like most places, we want self-starters that are good at budgeting their time and that don’t need babysitting. Working from home can be tough for some personality types as well, so we make sure to confront that requirement during the interview process.”


“We look for people who are self-starters/have a high degree of independence, value continuous learning, and are receptive to feedback. If during the trial process a candidate needs a lot of ‘hand holding’ and waits for specific instructions before moving forward on work, they probably won’t be a good fit.”


“I look to see if a candidate’s freelanced or worked independently in the past. I also look for someone who’s been through a redundancy or period of change and uncertainty. These qualities build up a deep resilience and mature career mindset. Not everything is secure—even long-term employment. Startups are tough; there’s lots of challenges and it’s not always possible to offer a smooth sailing experience. I need someone who thrives with change, and can operate with unknowns.”


“When we hire, we look specifically for people who share the same fundamental values as us. That’s not to say we look for people who are exactly the same—our diverse perspectives 100% lead to better decisions, a better product, and a better team culture—but everyone needs to be on the same page in terms of expectations regarding how we communicate and work. Also, in a remote setting it’s vital to hire proactive, curious people who won’t wait to be told how to do things. That’s why one of the most important things we look for in interviews are ‘Jacks & Jills of all trades’—people who take ownership over learning new skills.”


“Some of the questions in the culture interview are pretty goofy, so one big red flag we have seen before is just a general bad attitude. When candidates act too cool to answer the questions or like the culture portion isn’t worth their time, it’s generally a sign they won’t really mesh with our team. We know that scissors probably aren’t that essential to pizza delivery, but when we ask candidates how they would use scissors if they worked for a pizza shop, we hope they approach their answer with a sense of humor.”


“Candidates must have experience working remotely or running their own business. They have to have already built the accountability and productivity skills required for remote work.”

Help Scout

Good communication, especially writing, is key! Most of our communication happens over chat so we look critically at their ability to explain complicated things clearly in writing. Also, if they have not worked remotely before, I pay careful attention to the questions they have about remote work. If they don’t have a lot of questions, it’s a red flag.”


“We rely heavily on written communication. So candidates who may have a great background or experience, but either aren’t precise in their communication, seem to not understand our written instructions for the short test projects, or are slow to reply won’t make the cut.

The most important trait is eagerness—which is often shown by demonstrating an understanding of what we do. The majority of people we hire have actually interacted with us already as a customer in some capacity.”


“I look for energy. High-energy, proactive people are much more likely to succeed here. Am I excited talking to this person or am I glancing at other things trying to occupy my mind? If they can’t keep my attention during a first conversation, it’s going to be a struggle working with them.”


“Emotional maturity, strong written communication skills, time management, self-direction, appreciation of animated gifs and virtual high-fives.”

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Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com

By Kristi DePaul | June 25, 2018 | Categories: Work Remotely

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