By Megan Grant
If you’re a solopreneur looking to scale your business up, there’s one surefire way to get there: hire. And you don’t have to worry about paying rent for an office or bringing people in-house. Remote workers will be more than enough.
Building a virtual team has been integral in growing my business to five figures a month. Along the way, I learned a thing or two about what to look for.
Keep reading for five qualities you want in your remote workers.
5 qualities to look for in remote workers
1. They’re proactive, not reactive
You need people who are going to take action and take the initiative to come to you when it’s appropriate. This may include when:
- They’re running into a technical issue.
- They need guidance or clarification.
- They have a suggestion for how the processes could be improved.
Here’s an example of what you want to avoid. One day, I was checking the social media posts that someone on my team had scheduled out. As I was doing so, I discovered that our social media management tool was experiencing a bug, which was affecting the appearance of our posts.
I reached out to my remote worker and asked if she had noticed this issue. Her response? “Oh yeah, I did!”
Ideally, she should have come to me to report the problem so that I could address it and she could complete her work as expected. Instead, I had to redo her work on the spot so the posts could be finalized.
When you’re interviewing and hiring remote workers, look for people who come across as slightly more aggressive and outspoken. In my experience, these are the people who tend to be more proactive.
2. They’re receptive to feedback
You hire people to make your life easier and to boost your business. When you offer them feedback and constructive criticism, they should respond in a positive, open-minded manner. Furthermore, they should use these comments to improve their skills in the future.
So, if you offer a virtual worker constructive criticism and then see they don’t apply it in new assignments, something’s off. No one should be making the same mistakes over and over again.
Additionally, keep in mind the added cost of team members who won’t get on board with feedback. When you pay someone to complete an assignment, and then you have to spend extra time fixing their work, it sucks up not just your hours but your budget as well.
None of this is to say that you should expect perfection, because you shouldn’t. However, if a remote worker ignores feedback, gets defensive, or doesn’t use criticism to better their skills, they might not be the right fit for your team.
3. They’re trainable and open to learning
This is somewhat of an extension of the previous point, but it deserves its own shout-out.
You and your business are going to grow and evolve over time. This means you need to be willing to adapt and change—as do your remote workers. If they’re not, then they’re not going to be able to keep up with you for very long.
As an example, if you’re got a writer who creates high-quality blogs but refuses to keep their finger on the pulse of ever-changing SEO practices, then how will they be able to continue producing high-quality content?
They probably won’t.
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4. They communicate in a timely manner
When you’re not all in an office together, communication can get tricky—and slow. Instead of simply walking to the room or cubicle a few feet away, you send emails, shoot over Slack messages, or maybe make a quick call.
But there’s no guarantee of when you’ll get a response.
I quickly learned that the willingness and ability to communicate in a timely manner was an important quality to have in my remote workers. Should you expect an immediate response? No. But emails that go unanswered for days and Slack messages that are never returned—that’s unacceptable.
And depending on the line of business you’re in or the specific role a worker is filling, quick communication could be absolutely vital to the survival and success of your company.
For example, a customer service or social media person needs to be responding to posts, comments, and inquiries quickly. They also need to be responding to you quickly, as the work they do is so time-sensitive. There’s very little (or no) time to sit around and wait to hear back from them, plain and simple.
5. You like them
I feel like I might get some flak for this one, but allow me a moment to defend my position.
You might be thinking if someone is good enough at what they do, it doesn’t matter how much or how little you like them as a human being. I used to think the same … until I hired someone I couldn’t stand.
She was great at what she did, I’ll happily admit, which presented somewhat of a dilemma for me. Do I hang on to her because she’s skilled, regardless of my other opinions of her?
I could have, but she was negative, complained excessively, and was passive-aggressive toward me. I didn’t enjoy communicating with her or working with her in any capacity, and I eventually let her go. It ended up being a huge load off my shoulders.
You can absolutely find people out there who are incredible at what they do and a joy to work with—I promise you.
But you know what? It’s also okay to hire someone who’s maybe just decent at what they do but has an unforgettable attitude. If they’re trainable and open to learning (see point number three), then you can help them grow into their role.
Teaching someone to be more pleasant to work with, on the other hand, isn’t nearly as easy.
Just like anything else, hiring and training remote workers comes with a learning curve. Look for candidates who are proactive, receptive to feedback, open to learning, quick to communicate with you, and pleasant to work with. If you can do that, you’re bound to build a team that will help you take your business to the next level.
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