We often work with freelancers for our projects, and the most important things we look for are communication habits, accountability, and their portfolio.
Communication habits & accountability: Does this person stay in touch during the interview/hiring process or take days to respond? We decide on deadlines with our writers and illustrators, but we don’t micromanage their work. How they communicate with you before the project begins is a big indicator of what it’ll be like to work with them. We want freelancers to feel comfortable asking questions and getting clarity on a project if they need more information. We also get that life happens, and you might miss a deadline, but you need to let us know if this will happen, not just let the day come and go without a word. Unfortunately, it’s happened before!
Portfolio: Whether a creative portfolio appeals to someone is subjective, but it’s important to see different portfolios before hiring someone for a project. Each project has a different brief, so we need to find someone whose design/writing style works for the project or who is skilled enough to deliver what the client requires.
Shivani provides all you need to know about making remote work...work. She shares tips on finding the best remote work opportunity and thriving once you get it.
Read full interview from Interview with Shivani, a remote content writer who shares lessons learned.
Problem-solving orientation - I’m not around all the time for a quick question. Plus, when someone comes to me for help, I expect an answer that’s something along the lines of “Here’s what my challenge is. I’ve tried or looked at XYZ and am still stuck. Here’s what I’m trying to accomplish. Can you help?”
Overcommunicator - Because we’re remote, you can’t take anything for granted. Instead, I look for people who can communicate all the things that people would know if they were right beside you. So that means thinking about all the senses (the biggest thing about remote work is I can’t see you, so I need you to be descriptive in a way that I know what you did as if I was sitting beside you, seeing your work).
Honesty and follow through - Just like any good employee, I want someone honest who will do what they say they will. Many people can be socially motivated to get work done by people being in their presence. That doesn’t exist with remote work. You have to have the internal compass that guides you since I won’t be around.
Stefan now has total control over his time since leaving the traditional office in early 2019. Hear how his routine is helping him build a solid remote startup.
Read full interview from Interview with Stefan, a founder building a location-independent startup .
I believe that someone should do what they commit to do, at the promised time. I look for honesty and dependability.
Andrew, co-founder, and CEO of Insured Nomads talks traveling while working, productivity tools, and the best advice he has received.
Read full interview from Interview with Andrew, co-founder and CEO of Insured Nomads.
I always seek out great learners and adapters. We are working in an industry where everything changes and dates itself within a few years. So just knowing something becomes less important if you are not hiring a dev-ops that will take care of more sensitive parts of your business that require proven expertise and knowledge.
But for the rest of the team members, we work with; we almost never look for academic credentials. I often look for their enthusiasm for their personal projects. I pay a lot of attention to people's public work (Github, Dribbble...).
Even though someone is lacking skill, they may be great learners like the rest of our team members. Ultimately, all we want to know and see is that they have what it takes to "solve" a problem. As corny as it sounds, I love the famous Mike Tyson quote "Everybody has a plan until they are punched in the face".
Doing any practical work like software development or digital production is full with obstacles. So you get many punches every day. We need people that will try until they make it work. This requires the skill of learning and being adaptable rather than knowing X coding language or Y design application.
Another important criteria are if they are a cultural fit.
I've been running startups and small teams for a long time now, and this question was one of our "startup hire" criteria when we discuss a candidate with my business partners.
Is this a person I'd like to hang out with?
Eventually, you are looking to work with someone who shares similar values with you about your work style. This is required because you will be spending a lot of time together when you work regardless of if they are on-site or remote.
You will have to problem-solve and complete goals together. So you have to share enthusiasm and excitement as well as the burdens of your work (staying late to fix a problem). The journey we're taking together has to be fun, and involve a collective effort. Ultimately, you want to spend your time with people you feel comfortable with.
Nobody wants to talk (or worse "deal with") someone they don't like. So we promote the discussion of a lot of non-work related topics on our Slack channels. They could include topics about reading, music, personal life goals, travel stories, and other stuff.
Mehmet has embraced his remote team leadership style. Hear about his most helpful productivity trick and why he has "quiet" days for his staff.
Read full interview from Interview with Mehmet, a nomadic digital maker and entrepreneur .
Remote Wing is a team of one right now, but at Littledata, we look for someone we can trust. Can we confidently say, "we have total faith that this person can deliver excellent work from anywhere, at any time, in any circumstance?" We also look for people that aren't workaholics (i.e. they enjoy life outside of work and have other hobbies and passions). Well-rounded people make a well-rounded culture.
"I've felt burnout HARD in the past. When it hits, it HITS, and it can be tough to recover." In this interview, Nico shares his strategies for balancing work and life and reveals the key to avoiding burnout.
Read full interview from Interview with Nico, marketer and advocate for remote worker mental health.
I don't get to hire many remote workers or freelancers, but when I do bring people in to collaborate, it has to be people I trust, and who also I've known for a while. I also like working with people I am getting to know or who have similar values and similar ways of working. It can be very difficult to find that.
Hear about Pilar's flexible approach to managing Virtual Not Distant and the career-changing advice she received from a friend.
Read full interview from Interview with Pilar, director of Virtual Not Distant .
When hiring freelancers for a short-term gig, we only look for the hard skills that are necessary to do the job. When it comes to hiring a new team member, on the other hand, the list of requirements is a bit longer.
Working remotely is not easy, and there are certain personality traits that help people succeed while working remotely.
So, we’re looking for emotionally mature people who are empathetic, able to work independently, and have a good work attitude. Good communication skills are, naturally, very important too.
Mike had a lackluster experience with remote work 12 years ago. Today, he has embraced location-independence. Hear about his "one task a day" routine & vital tip for job seekers.
Read full interview from Interview with Mike, a business developer with a one task a day remote work routine.
Keep your remote working skills sharp—get notified when we post the next remote work interview! RemoteHabits will help you achieve your remote work goals!