Help Wanted: Wading Through the Virtual #%@&

Amid the media noise about today’s economic climate and corresponding U.S. Jobless Rate, you would that think it’d be easy to find a “right fit” for your virtual team. At least that’s what I thought. But, if you have ever been charged with the arduous task of identifying new associates for a virtual workplace, you know that’s not necessarily the case.

Sure, there are tons of people who would like to work from home. Simply Virtual is flooded with resumes from people all across the country who want flexibility and desire to make their own rules. It makes the job that much harder, to wade through the many well-intentioned, corporate trained folks who rarely consider how they might feel after cooking under the pressure of isolation, results focused productivity standards and stress that accompanies a typical work at home role.

The ability to function independently and effectively must top of the list of criteria for recruiters seeking effective work at home professionals. Unlike the traditional workplace, virtual teams are driven ONLY by a common set of goals and objectives. You need committed and energetic people to stay focused on accomplishing those goals. And since “the virtual workplace” is a relatively new phenomenon, it can be difficult to identify those with previous, relevant experience.

But experience isn’t the key to unlock all doors. I have found successful virtual team members are generally people who:

  • have a proven ability to function well – without immediate supervision
  • are highly effective problem solvers
  • find networking to be their natural strength

According to Business Week, it turns out it’s the gregarious types who thrive in the virtual workplace. In their June 2009 Special Report, “Is There a Virtual Worker Personality?”, the Online Mag shares that the extroverted curiosity seekers (who are quick decision makers and super Type A personalities) tend to thrive in virtual environments. I’d imagine these same Type As are proactive in their approach to work and unafraid to try several solutions as problems arise. And, networking? Oh, that’s a breeze, since they are natural “connectors” anyway. Now, all you have to do is find them.

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