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9 Traits to Look for in a Remote Employee

9 Traits to Look for in a Remote Employee

Are you hiring a remote workforce? Building the right team is critical. When you're hiring for hybrid and remote roles, there are specific attributes you'll want to keep an eye out for.

This article shares nine must-have traits hiring managers should look for when interviewing candidates for remote roles.

Communication Skills

“Communication works for those who work at it.” John Powell

Strong communication skills are a must when hiring for a remote position. Look for candidates with exceptional written and verbal communication skills. With in-person communication being primarily replaced by email, chat apps, and text messages, the ability to communicate clearly in written form is imperative. Consider assigning a task that requires the candidate to provide you with written communications. In addition, add the following seven questions to your interview process.

Questions to ask:

  • How would you describe yourself?
  • How would you simplify a complex issue to explain it to a colleague?
  • Talk about a successful presentation you gave and why you think it did well.
  • What would you do if you misunderstood an important communication on the job?
  • Rate your communication skills on a scale of 1 to 10. Give examples of experiences that demonstrate your rating.
  • Describe your communication skills.
  • If you could write the description of your dream job, what would it be


“Skill and confidence are an unconquered army." George Herbert

Confident employees believe in themselves, are willing to take risks, and feel empowered to take on challenges. Confidence is an imperative skill when it comes to remote work. Confident employees tend to be more positive contributors, productive, and help to inspire teammates.

Here are six questions to help you identify confident candidates.

Questions to ask:

  • What's one of your most significant accomplishments?
  • Why do you want to work at our company?
  • Tell me about someone you coached and developed?
  • Share a story that speaks to who you are from a values perspective.
  • How would you describe yourself in one word?
  • How long are you willing to fail at this job before you succeed?

Self Motivation

“This above all, to thine own self be true.” William Shakespeare

Employees who work remotely must be self-motivated. There can be significant distractions working from home. Being able to create boundaries and find motivation within is a critical skill.

Here are five questions to help you uncover whether a candidate is self-motivated or not.

Questions to ask:

  • What is your preferred work style?
  • Tell me about a time when you felt unmotivated and share how you were able to reinvigorate yourself. 
  • What motivates you to go to work every day?
  • Can you describe when you identified a new or unusual approach to address a problem or task?
  • Have you ever piloted a new program or initiative?
  • How do you maintain self-motivation when experiencing setbacks?


“A good system shortens the road to the goal.” Orison Swett Marden

Organization is an important skill no matter where employees find themselves working. Without organization, deadlines get missed, mistakes happen, and tasks pile up. Organized employees are more efficient and productive and tend to be happier.

The five questions listed below will help gauge a candidate's organizational skills.

Questions to ask:

  • How do you prioritize your work?
  • What steps do you take to ensure you meet deadlines?
  • Describe how you build a project plan. 
  • How do you approach working on a group project?
  • Have you ever used a work management platform like Asana?


"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." – Helen Keller

Collaboration breeds innovation and is the key to a successful remote team. Working with others, in-person and remotely requires a collaborative mindset. Below are four questions designed to help you discover how collaborative a candidate is.

Questions to ask:

  • Do you prefer working in a team or on your own?
  • Tell me about a time you worked with a team remotely. What role did you play?
  • Tell me about a time you struggled working in a team environment. How did you handle the situation?
  • What unique qualities or skills do you bring to a team?

Self Disciplined

"With self-discipline most anything is possible." Theodore Roosevelt

Self-discipline helps remote employees stay on task, meet deadlines, and grow as a professional. Everyone is capable of self-discipline, but it is a skill that requires practice. Ask the five questions listed below to gauge how self-disciplined a candidate is.

Questions to ask:

  • How do you minimize distractions while working?
  • How do you tackle the least appealing item on your to-do list?
  • How do you balance work and home demands?
  • Tell me about a time you missed a deadline?
  • How do you prioritize tasks?


“Develop your character so that you are a person of integrity.” Peter Cain

Integrity is a top trait to look for when interviewing a remote candidate. Trust is more important than ever when it comes to remote and hybrid employees. Identify candidates with high integrity by asking the below four questions.

Questions to ask:

  • What does the word "integrity" mean to you?
  • How have you dealt with failure in the past?
  • Talk about a difficult ethical dilemma you faced in the workplace and explain how you resolved the issue. 
  • Share a time when you were wrong or made a mistake. How did you handle the situation?


“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning.” Albert Einstein

Hiring a candidate who searches out opportunities to grow and improve will drastically increase the likelihood that person will succeed in the role they're applying for. Use the three questions below to learn about the agility of any candidate.

Questions to ask:

  • Tell me about a project that did not go according to plan. 
  • Share a time when you demonstrated your ability to maneuver through a challenging project.
  • Tell us about a time you made a business mistake and the steps you took to rectify it.


"Accountability breeds response-ability." Stephen R. Covey

A sense of accountability among employees fuels success in the workplace. In one study, 91% of respondents rank accountability near the top of their company's development needs. When you add remote to the mix, the importance of accountability only increases. Use the following four questions to understand better a candidate's ability to hold themselves accountable.

Questions to ask:

  • Tell me about your greatest weakness.
  • What does accountability mean to you?
  • Tell me about a time you received negative feedback and how you used the feedback to better your performance in the future.
  • What have your previous jobs taught you about accountability?


Whether you're a small business owner, a recruiter, or an HR Rep for a Fortune 500 company, MotherWorks can help you find high-quality candidates for your remote, flexible, and work-from-home positions.