We’ve talked pretty in-depth about hiring your virtual team; the on boarding process and what (and how) to delegate tasks; why building a relationship with your team members is so important; and most recently, I shared the EOFire team timeline (in addition to the biggest tips we have for those looking to build a team – based on how the EOFire team works).
Today, I want to share a couple of the templates we use when hiring a new virtual team member, specifically, what interview questions we ask them, and what email we send in order to confirm they’ve been selected and welcome them to the team.
Interview questions for hiring a virtual team member
First up, here are the questions we use during the interview to get a good feel for our interviewee’s personality, work ethic, background and simply put, whether or not they’re the right fit.
Tell me a bit about yourself – your family – what you enjoy doing.
I’ve had people ask me before “do you ask personal stuff when interviewing virtual candidates?” I could tell by the way the question was asked this person thought it might be inappropriate, or something you shouldn’t do.
I think it’s incredibly important to ask about who the person is, what they enjoy doing most and really try and get to know them with a question like the one above. I also think it brings out an empathetic side to people – a certain vulnerability that I want to see in a potential candidate.
In the past, I’ve asked this question and had candidates start talking about their past work experience – for the 2nd time – and for me, this not only gives me the sense that they’re not paying attention to what I’m saying, but also that they are a little more closed off; that’s simply not the type of candidate we’re looking for.
I see you have a lot of experience – tell me about your most recent position.
Because we use Chris Ducker’s Virtual Staff Finder to source a majority of our virtual team members, we get a complete background summary, previous job references, and multiple personality and language assessments as part of the process.
I already know exactly what their previous experience is, but I’d like to hear from them what their most recent position was like. I’d like to hear from them what they think their biggest strengths are.
This is also an opportunity to see how closely they’ve reviewed my actual job description (which is shared with them during the process as well). If they’ve reviewed it carefully, then they’ll know what type of experience we’re looking for and be able to match that up with their own experience.
Why did you leave your last position?
Based on their previous employer’s reference, I know why they left their job from the employer’s standpoint; now, I want to hear it from them.
I’ve seen about 85-90% of the time, it’s because their previous employer no longer needed the position (or was forced to cut it due to lack of funds to support it). This is my opportunity to talk about the long-term commitment we’re looking for from our virtual team, and it’s something that helps us stand out from a lot of their previous employers.
This question also begs any feedback from the candidate about what their previous job was like (both positive and negative). As an example, if they didn’t like something about their job (or their employer), then this is typically the time that it comes out. We’re not looking for negativity, but constructive criticism about their previous situation.
Their answer allows me to get insights into whether or not they’d fit in well with our team (i.e. if they didn’t like X about their previous job or employer, and X is required for this position, then it’s likely not going to be a great fit.)
Do you prefer to work in a team setting or on your own?
It’s important to understand how your candidate will fit in with whatever structure you already have in place. Knowing what type of environment helps them thrive (whether it be a very collaborative one, or a solo one) is great knowledge to have.
If I give you a task with a video recording and the steps you need to take to execute, will you be comfortable moving forward with that task?
I’m essentially building how delegation of tasks takes place into this question, and then gauging their response. If they’re incredible uncomfortable with this, then I know immediately it’s not going to be a good fit since creating video recordings and documenting steps is how I delegate tasks to our team.
If you have questions about a task, how will you handle that?
Everything isn’t going to just magically fall into place with your new candidate. There will be a 2-3 week on boarding process that will require a ton of hands on time and training.
But what about after that 2 0 3 week on boarding process? It’s good to know how resourceful your candidate will be. For example, instead of responding and saying “well, I’ll just ask you”, I’d rather hear from a candidate, “I’ll search for answers and try to figure this out on my own, and if I’m not able to do that, then I will ask you.”
Are you comfortable being in charge of a project, or would you prefer to just have a task and complete it, then move to the next thing?
Depending on what you’re looking for in your candidate, this question will let you know immediately whether or not this is someone who is going to make the cut.
With our most recent hire for the EOFire team, I was looking for someone who was comfortable managing projects, but instead of just asking “Are you comfortable managing projects” and likely receiving a positive response from someone who is assuming I want the answer to be “yes”, I’ve given the candidate a choice, making it more likely they’ll choose the latter if that’s the case.
What is your Internet and connection like where you live?
This is of course a critical thing to consider when hiring virtual team members. Do they have reliable Internet, and if not, is that something you’re willing to manage if not?
This will be a very detail-oriented position, and I expect a lot of focus from whoever fills this position.
More of a statement than a question :) Whatever you’re looking for in your new virtual team member, be sure that you’re stating it clearly.
Our community is our priority, and we are here to serve them. The projects I expect this person to take on are directly related to helping those in our community succeed.
Again, a statement rather than a question. I’m always very careful to be incredibly upfront and honest about exactly what we’re looking for – no surprises. Better to find out now that they’re not comfortable communicating with a large group of people, or being responsible for certain programs within our communities than later.
Projects will include hands on work in:
- Google Drive
- Social media
I also like to clarify the systems, programs or platforms the candidate will be using most often. Even if they’ve already told me they have experience working on all of the systems, programs or platforms, I always restate them.
I’d like to send you a practice task to complete after we get off this call. If you feel that this is the right position for you, then I’d like to see how you handle this task.
This has changed the way we hire virtual team members. Setting up a practice task is a MUST when it comes to bringing someone on board for us because it gives us a very clear and immediate picture of how they handle several things:
- A task they’ll actually be dealing with
- Figuring out something unknown
- How they communicate
Confirmation / hire / welcome email for virtual team members
This email not only helps us communicate to the individual that they’ve received the job, it also helps us welcome them and triple check that we’re on the same page.
This is an opportunity to restate all details about the job responsibilities, pay rate, hours they will work, start date and so on.
EOFire welcome email
We’re very excited to offer you the position here at EOFire – welcome to the EOFire team!!
To be sure we’re on the same page, I want to review some of the details of your position here:
Starting wage: $600 / month – full time, 40 hours ($300 to be paid out on the 1st and the 15th of every month via PayPal)
Review period: There will be a 90 day review period; at the end we’ll meet and make sure that this is a good fit for both of us :)
Start date: We would like your official start date to be Mon, Sept 7th (PST US time), so that would be on Tues, Sept 8th at 6am your time.
Job description: As a reminder, here is an overview of your position…
On your first day, we will have a call together via Skype at the start of your shift, and each morning that follows for the remainder of your on boarding period (estimated to be 2-3 weeks).
Please confirm that you’re in agreement with the information above regarding the specifics of your position.
Hiring a virtual team member
As you can tell by the several topics we’ve covered when it comes to hiring and building your virtual team, this is definitely a process.
I hope the templates above for both Interview questions and the welcome email will be helpful on your journey to building your own virtual team to help support you and help your business grow.
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