We've noticed something interesting on the recruiting trail at Kinetix.
We're a recruiting company and from time to time, we seek to fill remote-based positions, both for ourselves and our clients. That's not unusual, because I'm sure a lot of you have remote-based roles you have to fill.
What's interesting is the way people talk about the expectations of a remote-based role when they're interviewing.
Remote workers who are great hires have likely worked remotely and understand the true reality - working remotely means a lot of times you work harder than you do in the office. The day slips away from you and you suddenly have been sitting at your desk for 9 hours without moving. It can be productive, but there's no natural stop time.
Of course, the other side of the reality is that remote roles can provide some flexibility related to your personal life. If you have to pick up a kid during the work day, you can likely get that done, but that doesn't mean your work day is over, or even that you're not working in the car while you're traveling to the pick up.
Here's what we've noticed on the recruiting trail related to remote candidates. There's something Darwinian going on related to the way people talk about working for home, and what they do once they're granted home-based work. Observations:
- There's a class of employees who talk about remote-based work in terms of what it can do for them. They espouse the benefits for their life - they can do laundry! They can pick up their daughter! They say these things to the recruiter... Um hmm..
- Then there's a class of employees who never talk about what remote work can do for them personally. They might be thinking that in the back of their mind, but they'll never say it.
- When you hear these two classes of employees talk, you can expect that the behavior transfers past the interview - It's actually how they''ll approach work when they're in the job. When you call #1, you'll get voice mail more often than you do with #2.
That's why I think a great interview technique is to float some questions about why someone would want to work remote, then shut the hell up. Just let them talk and work through it.
They don't need your help. Darwin was all about adaptations, and you'll see these adaptations alive and well on the recruiting trail for remote-based work.
Both classes of employees love the benefits of working at home.
But you should never hire a remote-worker who hasn't evolved enough to NOT talk about all the things they're going to do with that flexibility. They haven't evolved and they're not ready for the responsibility. If they lead with the benefits for them personally rather than the benefits for them professionally, you're likely to be disappointed with the results.
The real players? They never let you know that they're doing laundry or gong to a dance recital... They just do it, knowing that they're going to deliver more performance than they could in the office.