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Now more than ever, the workplace is going virtual. According to Global Workplace Analytics, there has been an 80% increase in telecommuting employees from 2005 to 2012. This increase in virtual teams is so massive for a reason; working remotely improves work-life balance, saves time spent commuting, and allows businesses to find the best talent without geographically limitations, according to Monster.com.

If you’re looking to create your virtual team, there are three crucial elements to the hiring process that you need to consider. Here’s what to do when interviewing a potential virtual hire.

DISCOVER THEIR PRIORITIES
Getting to understand your potential team is essential in all hiring situations, but even more so for virtual workers. You aren’t going to get to know them at the water cooler or on a lunch break, so that element of familiarity will be gone. This distance can lead to some difficulty in accurately assessing character.

It’s also important to hire workers who are highly self-motivated and have a strong work ethic since you won’t be monitoring them in an office. When interviewing, ask conceptual questions as well as moral ones. Inc.com has a great list of ten essential questions for hiring virtual employees, which focus on time management, personality, and comfort with technology.

Since you’re not going to be working in an office together, you need to get a good sense of who your candidate is during the interview. Virtual teams need honesty, strong communication skills, and quick reaction times.

You want a team that knows who they are and how to get the job done.

GET FACE TO FACE
It can be isolating to work remotely, and personality and tone often get abandoned in digital communication. Co.Design explains, “The difficulty of expressive writing isn’t new, of course, but what’s relatively recent is the overwhelming amount of electronic exchanges we have with people whose personalities we only know digitally. Without the benefit of vocal inflections or physical gestures, it can be tough to tell.”

This element of confusion in communication needs to be immediately addressed when forming your team. If geographical location allows you to do so, make meeting in person a priority. If that’s not possible, make sure the interview takes place over video chat. This will help you get to know your team, and it’ll also give a face to the name and make future electronic interactions more pleasant and productive.

Once you’ve hired your team, set up a weekly video chat over Skype or Google Hangouts. Having some face to face contact will improve your communication and help build a company culture.

TEST THEIR SKILLS
A resume can only take a virtual candidate so far. Once hired, you won’t have the opportunity to watch and coach them in person. This means you need to see how they work before committing to work together.

If a candidate makes it past the preliminary interview, assign them a trial project. (You should compensate them for this time– treat them as a freelancer.) Give them some guidelines, necessary info, and most importantly, a deadline.

The way they respond will be very telling. Keep in mind that they’ll presumably be on their best behavior during this test, so it’s not a perfect indication of their working habits. However, it’ll give you a stronger sense of their work ethic and quality. If anyone balks at this test, you’ll know they’re not serious about your business’ success.

PUT THE TEAM TOGETHER
By 2020, it’s projected that 50 percent of workers will work from home. If you don’t want your business to get left behind, you need to adapt to these changes and be prepared to compile a virtual team. By honing in on your potential hire’s priorities, making time for “in-person” communication, and testing their skills, you’ll find the perfect team members for your virtual staff.