Three Qualities of a Great Virtual Employee

Hiring a virtual employee for your business gives you the opportunity to access a much larger pool of talent, which enables you to hire the very best person for the job. However, remote work is very different from traditional in-house duties, making it difficult to define the attributes you’re looking for in a candidate.

While traditional HR software is usually beneficial in the recruiting process, you’ll want to rely on your interviews and specific personality traits to hire the best virtual employee. In order to have a mutually satisfying work relationship with your virtual employee, you want to look for emotional intelligence, communication skills and self-motivation.

Emotional Intelligence

The best virtual employee has a high level of emotional intelligence, which has found to be a key factor in successful remote employees. They are both self-aware and socially aware; they can easily manage themselves as well as their relationships with others.

  • Your virtual employee needs to be able to work remotely and still be both efficient and productive. You don’t want to pay someone to sit around and do nothing.
  • The ability to manage their time and communicate effectively is key to a successful working relationship.

Advanced Communication Skills

When your employee works remotely, you can’t stop by their desk in the office to check their progress and find out how they’re doing. You don’t have face-to-face meetings or in-person interactions; most communication is done over the internet or telephone. Therefore, your employee’s ability to communicate effectively is paramount.

  • Your virtual employee needs to be well-versed in communicating digitally. They need to be proficient in email, social platforms, and know how to utilize them to keep you updated and in-the-loop. Phone calls and intermittent emails are not sufficient.
  • They also need to already know how to use specialized programs or file-sharing systems necessary to complete their tasks. You can’t instruct them on how to use a program if they aren’t in the office with you.


Because the nature of the virtual position precludes immediate management oversight, your employee needs to be able to self-motivate in order to accomplish tasks. Inquiring after the employee with their professional references can give you insight on how well a virtual job candidate can self-motivate.

  • Ask previous employers how well the employee accomplished solo work and how regularly they met project deadlines.
  • Especially if the candidate is inexperienced in remote work, ask references about the office atmosphere and the employee’s working style to determine how well their skills would transfer over to the new work environment.

Hiring virtual employees saves your business time and office space by outsourcing tasks to remote workers. In turn, working remotely saves employees (and the environment) the cost of a commute and gives them the freedom and flexibility to choose their own work hours.

To ensure that you’re hiring someone who will be a productive and valuable virtual employee, make sure they possess emotional intelligence, self-motivation, and the necessary skills to communicate digitally.

Megan Webb-Morgan is a web content writer for She writes about small business, focusing on topics such as call center software and small business loans.

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