7 Interview Questions For Remote Jobs
Contrary to belief, remote work isn’t all pyjamas and coffee shops. Working remotely means working, which means getting the job done and being productive all day, every workday. Whether you are a remote-friendly employer or a candidate that’s after a remote job, you must never forget about it.
However, applicants often may apply for the job because it’s remote, not because it’s the right job for them. Even with the right skills and experiences, not every candidate is cut out for the remote work life!
If you are an employer, there are certain things you need to find out first before hiring a remote worker. On the other hand, if you are a candidate, you should get familiar with these questions to justify to the employer (and to yourself), whether you are really ready to successfully work from outside of the office.
1. Have You Worked Remotely in the Past?
Some candidates are attracted to the idea of working from home but don’t understand the reality of it. For example, first-time remote workers might be shocked by the transition. If the answer is, “Never,” follow up with, “Why do you want to work remotely?”
When the candidate has worked remotely, even if it was only once in a blue moon, follow up with, “What were some of the challenges you faced when you worked remotely?’” As a remote employer, you know that remote work isn’t as rosy as the stock photos make it seem. Someone who has worked remotely before probably knows this. More importantly, they should know what the challenges of remote work are and have strategies in place for tackling them.
Conversely, if the candidate says there were no challenges, you can bet that they aren’t being honest or didn’t work remotely enough to face the challenges that come with remote work.
If you are a candidate, you can keep your response relatively simple. If you have experience working remotely in the past, be prepared to detail when, where, and how you were able to succeed in that role. If you haven’t technically worked remotely before, that probably won’t be a dealbreaker these days, but you should have a comparable experience ready to share—like writing papers in your dorm room or organizing a fundraiser via Facebook.
2. Why do you want to work from home?
This question can simply reveal a lot about a candidate’s professionalism and character. One could think there aren’t any wrong answers here. Tired of commuting? Want to save money? Want to travel to new places? Spend more time with the family? These are all valid reasons to try remote work.
There are, however, some red flags here that whether you are a candidate or an employer, you must pay attention to. On the other hand, if the candidate talks about how they want to work in their pyjamas or that they don’t like having a boss breathing down their neck, they’ve framed the answer in a more personal way. There’s nothing wrong with personal reasons for pursuing remote work. However, answers like these indicate that a candidate is more motivated by personal gain than professional growth. This, in turn, could be a warning sign that this candidate will not be a great addition to your team.
3. What remote working software are you familiar with?
Distributed teams live on video and chat platforms and typically rely heavily on collaborative tools and project management software, so hiring managers will naturally want to gauge your level of comfort working with remote tools like Zoom or Slack, collaborative platforms like Google Docs, or project management software like Miro, Trello, Notion, or Asana.
As a candidate, showing your knowledge of such tools can prove your experience and ability to work remotely and efficiently at the same time.
4. How do you stay focused when working remotely?
Distractions are a fact of life for any worker, but they’re different for remote employees than the ones people face in an office setting. That might be a noisy roommate, getting distracted by news alerts, or even living on a busy street. Asking candidates how they stay focused on tasks now (no matter where they work), will give an employer some insight into how they might face distractions as remote employees.
There are many right answers to this question and often you would use the same techniques whether you work from home or from the office. However, expressing that you can deal well with a distraction general and showing that you are aware of potential distractions specific to remote work, will be very beneficial for you as a candidate.
5. What do you think are the biggest challenges of remote working?
Working from bed, working from the beach, saving money, saving time on commuting – remote work these days is still usually portraited by its advantages. However, people really experienced with remote work will be well aware of the challenges of such a lifestyle. It can be anything from a newborn baby at home, a neighbour refurbishing his place, to poor wifi connections, VPN issues, data protection laws or even loneliness.
A candidate that’s ready to work remotely, will show a great awareness of such troubles, with a ready solution to every each of them.
6. Where do you prefer to work?
This might seem confusing at first but can be very crucial for an employer, as well as a candidate. If an employer applying for a remote job, says he prefers to work from the office, it might affect his application. On the other hand, if the position is hybrid or only permanently remote, and a candidate expresses his strong dislike to work from the office, it might not be the best idea to take his application any further.
7. How do you maintain a work-life balance when working remotely?
No matter where you work, working remotely can sometimes blur the line between work life and personal life. When your office is five feet from your family room, it’s hard to ignore that unfinished project that will only take “just a few minutes” to complete.
Ask how applicants plan to manage their days, take appropriate breaks, and stop working when it’s quitting time. Just as you need them to focus on tasks during their work hours, you also need them to have balanced lives if you want to avoid burnout.
Understanding how they switch out of work mode will help you better understand how they will do it when they are working for you. Whatever it is, try to find out what they do now that can help them “turn off” when they make the switch to a fully remote employee.
Whether you are a remote worker or a candidate looking for a remote job, you should check out our platform with plenty of remote positions and candidates! Try PitchMe for free! And if you like it, leave us a review on Trustpilot or Google!
Download our Free Guide for IT Professionals:
Send download link to my email: