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Since the Covid pandemic changed our attitudes towards working from home and accelerated an already growing trend towards remote working, there’s a common theme among business commentators that the world of work has moved on and businesses need to catch up.
However, among staff who have become remote workers, some thrive in this ‘new normal’, whilst others genuinely miss the in-person interactions, even if they don’t miss the commute.
What can employers do to assess whether a job candidate is likely to thrive or struggle in a role where they may work remotely most of the time, or in the case of international or inter-state hiring, may never meet their employer face-to-face?
Some of the better personality assessments can quickly provide valuable insights into suitability for remote working. Some, but not all. If the personality assessment you’re using right now crams your candidate into a 4-letter box, tells you whether they are red or green, or a duck or a pigeon, then it’s going to be as useless at measuring suitability for remote working as it is for making hiring or development decisions.
However, if you’re using Big-5/OCEAN based assessments, or want to upgrade to them, here’s how you can use candidate profiles when hiring remote workers, or assessing how existing team members will cope with hybrid or working from home environments:
I’m going to use our Accountants Personality Profile Questionnaire (APPQ) to illustrate the process, but you’ll find these personality traits under Interacting and Coping headings in most Big-5/OCEAN based questionnaires if you’re already using another product and we haven’t won you over (yet):
Personality Traits Linked to Remote Working Effectiveness
When you have a job candidate’s personality profile in front of you and there are potential concerns in that persons suitability for remote working, keep in mind that you need to stick to the ethical use of personality questionnaires in a hiring setting.
Any personality questionnaire asks people about their preferences in given situations, so what you have in front of you is how someone will likely behave if they were to follow their preferences. Some people are well aware of their preferences and when they need to work against their natural style and some are not. Your job as an employer is to test those concerns with well crafted interview questions to determine whether, for example, someone with a high need for affiliation derives all their interactive fulfilment through their family, friends and hobbies and are more than happy to not have extensive affiliation at work.
Our APPQ assessment includes behavioral-based interview questions to address concerns with candidates and their referees, so we’ve done all the hard work for you. We are working on a Remote Working module for APPQ too, which we aim to release later this year, but in the meantime, use this guide and get in touch with any questions.
Happy hiring – Steve
About the Authors
Giles Pearson FCA was a PwC Partner for 18 years before jointly setting up Accountests.
Steve Evans has a whole career dedicated to enabling employers to attract, recruit, develop and retain talented individuals and teams, with particular expertise in candidate testing and assessment before setting up Accountests.
Accountests deliver the world’s only online suite of annually updated and country-specific technical knowledge tests designed by accountants for accountants and bookkeepers.