Millions of people will start remote work this year and millions more will follow in the years to come.
If you want to join them, you’re going to need to get through the remote work job interview and to help you out – we’ve come up with a list of interview questions you need to prepare for and how to answer them.
The Remote Job Interview Questions That Always Come Up (And How To Handle Them)
“How do you operate your schedule?”
This isn’t a trick question, the interviewer is simply trying to see that you know how to get the best out of yourself.
If you’re a night owl, say so, if you’re an early bird, confess to it and then show how playing to your strengths is going to make you more productive.
The biggest concern of any employer is “will you get the job done?” and this is your opportunity to show that you will.
You might also want to address work/life balance at this point.
“Have you ever worked remotely before?”
It’s not a dealbreaker if you haven’t but if you have, then now is the time to lay out exactly how you worked remotely and what you achieved.
Giving an employee the opportunity to work away from the office can be perceived as a “risky” activity, particularly, if the business isn’t used to operating with remote teams.
If you can show that you can keep this risk to a minimum, then the interviewer has one more reason to hire you.
If you haven’t worked remotely in a job or held down a hybrid job before, show you understand what it takes, talk about how you worked from home during college or university years, instead.
“What remote working software tools have you used and how were they used?”
Of course, nobody expects you to know every tool but some familiarity with big names is going to be a help.
And if you’ve never used tools like this? Well, talk about how easily you’ve picked up other technical tools in the past.
“How do you ensure that you communicate effectively in a remote team?”
This is a super-meaty question. Remote teams live or die on the basis of effective communication.
If you don’t know the answer to this, then now is the time to think it through, think of some typical work situations and map out how you would deal with them remotely.
Your thought processes here are often the most illuminating part of the answer, from an interviewer’s perspective, so walk them through your approach, don’t try to rush it.
“How do you retain focus when working by yourself?”
This is an effort to spot the would-slacker and it’s important you know what it is that motivates you to get the job done.
It can be anything from communicating your goals daily to getting invested in the Pomodoro Technique, you just need to be able to explain why it’s going to work.
“What are the secret ingredients of success for a project when people work remotely?”
Your hiring manager needs their projects to succeed and that’s what they want to know you’re going to make happen.
The good news is this all boils down to communication.
Show how you’ll ask a lot of questions, document the answers, share them and seek feedback throughout the project and you’ll be fine.
And then be accountable for your actions.
“Give an example of when you had to adapt to major change at work?”
There is no right or wrong answer here, the key is to show how you can think on your feet and cope.
It’s OK to admit a struggle but your story should end in a successful resolution for all parties, don’t talk about how you stormed out in a rage and never came back, that’s not going to cut it.
“Give an example of how you dealt with a conflict with a coworker?”
Anyone can be competent when it’s plain sailing but how do you behave when the poop hits the fan? That’s the objective behind this question.
You need to show two things here. The first is that you understand how conflict can drag a project down if it’s not resolved.
The second is that you can resolve that conflict and admit to your own part in creating it (and yes, it normally takes two to make an argument).
Then wrap up by showing how you learned from any mistakes in this process and you’ll have the interviewer eating out of your hand.
“If you don’t know how to do something, how do you go about finding out?”
When you’re not in the office, you can’t just wander around the office asking questions until you determine an answer to a problem.
You’re going to have to do much of the hard work for yourself. So, imagine that you start work one morning and your laptop is dead.
What do you do to get that fixed? Without relying on a company help desk function that can’t easily come to your desk and take a look?
Give an example of when you’ve done this and what the outcome was (be positive).
“What questions do you have for me?”
This is a sign the interview is coming to an end but don’t brush this opportunity off and rush out of the metaphorical door.
Instead, grab our list of questions to ask before accepting a remote job and show that you’re interested in the position and how it will work for you.
Try to avoid talking about money and benefits unless this is an HR interview but don’t be afraid to ask about anything about the company or its products and services here too.
Of course, a remote work interview will also contain many of the questions from a standard job interview and you’ll need to prepare for those as you would under normal circumstances.
But the questions above, apart from the final one, tend to be tailored to working remotely and you need to answer them in the right context to ace the interview.
One final tip: always be honest but don’t be afraid to get a little creative to show how you can do something that you haven’t yet done.