Recruiting: Can everybody work in a global team?

When recruiting employees for a global team, you need to take into account their experience, skills, emotional intelligence, and a few other personality traits that will tell you if these individuals will work well in a distributed team.


Characteristics of good global workers


A new hire needs to be an autonomous person by nature; somebody that feels comfortable working without explicit instructions and fixed schedules. To be a virtual worker requires the ability to work independently and to take initiative. A person who is not self-directed will have a hard time because he/she will constantly feel that the manager is not giving enough instructions and will feel lost because the guidance he/she is expecting is not arriving.

How can you identify autonomous individuals?

Ask how the individual would organize his/her day upon acceptance of the job. If the answer is “I was hoping you would give me a detailed schedule,” that person is not autonomous. If the answer goes from “First, I would need to see the way the team is organized” to a full description of a work day, you have found yourself an autonomous person!


A global worker needs to have a certain degree of self-motivation since distributed teams lack contact between members of the team. Interactions motivate us, and the individuals working in a virtual team need to be self-driven.

How can you identify self-motivation?

Ask about the changes in his/her life. Who provoked those changes? If the origin of those changes came from the person you are interviewing, then you have found a self-motivator. If all the changes have come from the outside, then that person will have a hard time staying in a virtual team.

Good communicator

The remote worker should be a good communicator, at least in writing. Most of the interaction that person is going to have will be through written communication, so make sure the person can write to-the-point messages that are easy to understand. Also, you should check his/her reading abilities. Communication is the only tool that the manager will have to improve within the team to achieve goals.

How can you identify a good communicator?

Analyze the emails that you have been exchanging with the candidate; were there any misunderstandings? During the interview, did the candidate ask some questions that had already been answered before? Were you able to understand clearly what the person was saying? Did the candidate follow your instructions?

Share or relate to the company’s mission

The new hire should relate to the company’s vision even more strongly than if we were talking about a worker that commutes to the office daily. When we hire a person that we will see every day, we can make sure that we “teach” that individual about the company’s vision and that he/she relates to it. However, when we work in a remote team, that motivation needs to come directly from the person. Look for candidates that truly relate to the company’s mission and its values. Hire only those who do.

Other characteristics that you should value:

  • Multi-tasking
  • Good organizational skills
  • Adaptable
  • Resilient
  • Ability to plan ahead
  • Flexible
  • Extroverted
  • Open to new experiences

Some of these traits can be taught and are acquired with experience, but we recommend that you check them off before hiring a new person; otherwise, the team, the employee, and the manager will struggle during the adaptation process.


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