Hiring developers can be challenging. Hiring developers who will work remotely is even more of a challenge. You want that ideal candidate who is not only qualified but also able to work efficiently with your existing team. In addition to testing these candidate’s technical skills, you’ll also want to ask some questions specific to remote working. Here are a few examples to get you started.
Every remote worker has to start somewhere, but a candidate with at least some previous remote work experience will help. This is an easy question to begin with and allows for numerous follow-up questions asking the candidate about how they solved communication problems or how they effectively communicate with their managers while working remotely.
Candidates who are new to the world of remote working should be asked questions like, “How do you plan on changing your current working routine?”, for example. These remote newbies may need to be trained and onboarded in a different way than those who have previous experience. Keep this in mind and allocate time and resources if this is the case.
By asking this in remote interviews, you’ll get a good idea of the candidate’s ability to communicate with their team, whether that team is remote or located in an office. Ideally, a candidate will have experience using video tools like Skype or Google Hangouts, a time-tracking or time management product, and maybe even a project management tool like Trello. The candidate doesn’t have to have experience in the specific tools your organization uses (that can easily be taught), but some previous experience helps. Here’s a list of the tools we use at Stack Overflow.
Even in-office employees should be able to effectively manage their time and projects, but it’s even more apparent to remote developers. You’ll want to know what hours the candidate prefers to work (and take note of their time zone if there are differences between team members) and how this aligns with their direct reports and team members. Additionally, you’ll want to know how they prefer to be communicated with and the best way to easily reach them during standard business hours.
Regarding project management, inquire how the candidate plans on communicating what they’re working on, their project status, and other milestones with the rest of their team. Since their teammates or managers can’t walk over to their desk for an update, you’ll want to set type of check-in process that works for the both of you.
Developers need minimal distractions to effectively get their work done (most prefer private offices for this reason). Ask them if they have a quiet space to work. Inquire if they have a comfortable desk and chair. Find out what type of system setup they have, and make sure they are provided with all the tools they need to get their job effectively.