Remote Job Interview Questions You Should Ask
Remote work is here to stay! What was once a commodity, or an awesome perk, now’s a reality.
During the past year, many people replaced their office cubicles for their living rooms, suits for their pajamas and sweatpants, and their commute a few steps from the bedroom to the living room.
And even though remote work comes with a wide variety of benefits, it also has its own set of challenges that make it difficult, or completely impossible for some people.
The truth is, remote work is not for everyone and that’s why HR managers have to think strategically when hiring remote employees and be able to assess candidates’ personalities to determine whether they’ll be able to fit in a remote setting.
With this being said, we decided to help them make a decision faster, and much easier, by giving them the ultimate remote job interview questions to ask their candidates.
But, before we begin, we have to answer one question. What are the skills hiring managers should look for in remote employees?
While some traits are only moderately important in an office job, they become essential when it comes to working in a remote environment. Since every company is different, the list of employee requirements can greatly vary. However, there are some common skills employers around the globe look for when hiring remotely, including:
- Reliability. Reliability is one of the most important traits of any employee since the lack of thereof endangers the work of the whole team. Simply, employers need to know whether their prospective employees will be able to adhere to deadlines, show up at meetings, and update on their progress regularly. If the candidate responds to emails in a timely manner, is not late for the meetings, and sends application tasks on time it’s a good sign it’s reliable.
- Developed communication skills. Communication skills are important in the office, but they become essential in a remote setting. Simply, in a remote setting, we lose an important part of the communication – non-verbal cues, that help us better understand what our coworkers and management are telling us. If a candidate lacks communication skills, he or she will be less likely to be successful in a remote environment.
- Independence. Remote workers usually have to be able to independently work on their tasks and find answers to the problems on their own. Simply, if an employee frequently messages their team, they’ll likely become a distraction for the rest of the team. That said, hiring managers always want to hire someone who is resourceful and independent while working.
- Collaboration. Aligning with the team is much more complicated in a remote environment than it is when you’re in the office. That said, hiring managers should always look for candidates who mastered team collaboration.
These are not only, but they’re most probably one of the most important skills hiring managers should look for in remote employees. They’re mainly centered around soft skills, that are ingrained rather than taught.
With that in mind, here are some remote job interview questions Hiring Managers should ask potential candidates for remote positions.
Have you ever worked remotely? If so, what are the greatest challenges of remote work?
For some candidates, remote work might sound like a good opportunity, however, if they don’t understand fully what it implies, how can they be sure it’s really for them? If they respond to this question with a “No, never”, you’d want to ask why they would like to work remotely, to better understand their motivations.
Another, among the remote job interview questions to ask candidates who applied for the remote position, is what challenges they’ve faced while working remotely. You, as an employer, already know remote work isn’t easy as people might think, and those who already experienced it already know it. That said, candidates should be able to tell you what they find the most challenging while working remotely and have strategies on how they tackle those problems.
Why do you want to work remotely?
Why you want to work remotely is one of those remote job interview questions you should definitely ask candidates. As a hiring manager, you want to know the motivations of your employees for remote work. Maybe they have elderly parents to take care of, or they want to spend time with their children. Whatever the case is, their answer will provide you with valuable insights into their personality, as well as their habits – maybe they’ll have to stop their work during the day to run some chores, or they’ll have irregular working patterns. This doesn’t have (and shouldn’t) be the reason for them to be disqualified, but it’s something you’d want to know straight from the beginning.
The answer to this question will also give you an insight into how they are as employees. For instance, if somebody says they love to work remotely since they feel more productive in this arrangement, they show they are goal and career-oriented and that you’re probably looking at a stellar employee. Furthermore, if they say they can fit more things in a day by working remotely, for instance, going to the gym, finishing their work faster, or attending to other arrangements better, you’re probably looking at someone who will be a happy and content employee, which is always a plus.
How do you ensure you’re focused on a task while working remotely?
If you ever worked in a remote setting, then you know how distracting can it be to work from home. Noisy roommates, busy streets, or stay-at-home partners are just a few things that can be considered productivity hazards.
Asking candidates how they tackle this problem can give hiring managers valuable insights into their work environment, and gauge if they will be able to tackle the problems remote workers encounter.
How do you switch off from work?
Remote work can blur the lines between personal and professional life. That said, it’s important to determine whether an employee knows how to tell a difference between work time and personal time. The truth is, while working remotely, we might be tempted to stay longer to finish some task that needs “just a few minutes” that turns into a couple of hours. At the same time, we might also want to finish the dishes, put clothes to wash, or vacuum the living room during working hours.
Considering all the above, hiring managers need to know how their prospective employees are managing their time, are they able to distinguish work time from personal life, take a much-needed break, and finish their tasks during working hours. Understanding how they switch off from work will help them understand how they’ll behave while working from you.
Those were remote job interview questions we think every HR manager hiring remote employees should ask, as it will help them assess a candidate’s personality in a better way, and get better insights into their working habits. What remote job interview questions do you ask your candidates and have you considered those we suggested?
A cat enthusiast and a cupcake maniac, Ana is a freelance Content Writer passionate about HR, productivity, and team management topics. When she’s not at her keyboard, you can find Ana in the kitchen, trying to make delicious cookies.