Although remote working might appear to be more “relaxed,” it is still “work” and you will need to be just as professional as you would in a corporate setting.
Organizations expect you to be productive, get the work done, and still conduct yourself just as you would if you were in the office daily.
This is especially important to keep in mind when you begin interviewing for jobs that offer remote work, whether full-time or part-time.
So what can you expect during your interview process?
You’ll certainly be asked some standard questions just like an in-office job. However, you should expect more specific remote job interview questions and you’ll want to be prepared for them in order to secure that job offer.
Below, you’ll find some top questions you might be asked and then you’ll want to ensure you have a good answer in mind before your interview.
How Does A Remote Interview Work?
The good news about your remote interview is it will most likely be conducted over video, phone, or even a combo of the two. Sometimes a company might even fly you out to meet in person, even if your position will be fully-remote.
But each company has its own process in place when interviewing remote candidates. Some will move quickly, others may take a few weeks with multiple interviews of different people in the company.
Whatever the case may be, it’s important you do a few things:
- Clear out a space in your home, apartment, or if you go somewhere like a cafe that is quiet and tidy. Last thing you want is a messy space or a place with too much noise. Here are some ideal spots for remote working.
- Whether you are on a phone interview or video interview for a remote position, it’s good to still dress and groom appropriately. And yes even during a phone interview, because it gets you in the right professional mindset and incase the hiring manager wants to switch to video, you already are prepared.
- Test equipment and where you look at the camera. While equipment malfunctions can happen, you should do your best to alleviate that by testing your camera, microphone, earphones/speakers, and looking at the camera at the right spot.
- Review your notes about the company, questions you want to ask, and details on the interview questions below.
These are just a few quick tips to get you on the right path. There’s a lot more you can do to prepare for a remote interview here. Let’s get into the questions you might be asked!
Common Remote Job Interview Questions
So you have a remote job interview coming up, congrats! But now you want to ace your interview and move on to the next step.
While each company may offer different specific remote job interview questions to you, many will have very common themes.
The below examples of questions I have been asked in previous remote job interviews and also ones I ask candidates that join my team as well.
Don’t worry, not all of these questions will be asked. But having an answer written down or in mind for all of these will ensure you are not caught off-guard. Let’s dive in!
1. Have you worked remotely in the past? If not, how would you adjust in this kind of environment?
A common interview question for a remote job might be about your past experience working from home. Many times it can be a cultural shock to those completely new to remote work, so employers will want to gauge your experience.
Does this mean you should not apply to remote jobs without the experience of being a previous remote employee?
Of course not! Everyone deserves a chance and it’s how you gain experience. Any good company and hiring manager won’t rule you out without prior remote experience.
But if you don’t have past experience, they may ask more about how you think you could adjust and what you would do to ensure you are a successful remote worker!
2. Why do you want to work from home?
Even if you are a fully-experienced remote worker, brand new, or looking to move into a more permanent remote position, you will probably be asked why you want to work from home.
While it might be because you hate the office commutes or looking for a way to not wear pants, you want to have a strong answer here. Hiring managers want to understand what your motivation to work from home is and how it influences your professional growth.
For example, I tend to answer this question like this when I’ve been asked in the past:
I like working from home because I find that I am more productive and focused in a quiet personal space that I designed to be creative and inspiring. Being remote allows me to stay focused on strategy, ideas, and the freedom to get things done on my terms. I find that since becoming a remote employee, I’ve been able to accomplish some of my best work.
While it’s okay to have personal reasons for liking remote work, you want to frame more to your career and the company.
I also like remote work because it allows me to quickly get something done around the house or schedule appointments. But in my answer, I stay away from that (plus most hiring managers already know that most people like those kinds of personal freedoms already).
3. How do you organize and maintain your work schedule and projects?
If you want to be successful in remote work you need to be much more self-reliant and be able to be highly organized. You aren’t going to have someone constantly on top of your work and it’s on you to be detail-oriented and meet deadlines on projects or tasks.
Give the interviewer a bit of insight into your process of the organization. Are there specific tools you like to use for your scheduling and projects? How do you organize your calendar? What have you learned along the way about the best ways to be organized?
Remote work requires precise organization and if you can’t answer this question clearly, it can be a red flag to hiring managers who may question your abilities.
4. How do you communicate in different situations when working remotely?
Beyond organization, communication is also an extremely important skill to have with remote work. It’s also something the interviewers will be looking for and will certainly ask you questions around communication.
You might get a very simple question around the tools you use (or have used) for communication and what your preferences are currently. But you may also get a question that requires a bit more thinking on your part on how you communicate in different situations.
In this question type, share when you use specific communication channels and why. For instance, you might use a messaging tool like Slack to quickly get an answer from a co-worker. But something that doesn’t require an immediate response, you might send via email.
Maybe the topic is more complicated and instead of going back and forth via email, you schedule a quick video chat to avoid miscommunication.
Those conducting the interview just want to hear your thought process and can tell if you effectively make communication a priority when working remotely.
5. What challenges do you face with remote work and how do you approach them?
There is no such thing as a perfect workplace or job. And with remote work – as much as it’s an amazing way to work – there will still be challenges.
Often it’s easy for you to want to talk about how perfect it has been and that you have not experienced challenges. This is a mistake!
It’s good to be honest about your past remote work challenges, how you solved (or tried to solve) those challenges, and any steps you’re taking to keep working on them. As many benefits there are to remote work, it is not a perfect system.
If you are new to remote work, this is a good time to share some concerns you have about remote work.
But with that, offer why that isn’t stopping you from pursuing a work from home job, and if that challenge comes up, what your plan of action would be. It shows you are thinking ahead and already have a plan to face any potential challenges head-on.
6. How do you create a positive work/life balance when working from home?
A good company will want you to have a good work/life balance. And you should also want a solid balance of work and personal time.
When you are a remote worker, it can be challenging to disconnect yourself from work when you have your laptop or phone with you at all times.
Plus, your new work office is part of your home, so you may feel obligated to always be “on.” But this is a quick way to burn out and create expectations that managers or co-workers can bother you at all times of the day.
If you are asked during your remote job interview, share how you’d like to manage your day, when you like to take breaks, and how/when you stop working.
7. What do you require in your personal workspace to be successful working remotely?
Any great company that offers remote work will get you the equipment and tools you need for your home office. And in most job descriptions, you will probably see any company stipend or a note about how they support your needs for your personal workspace.
However, during the interview process, you may still be asked what you’d be looking for to be successful. Think about your home office setup and what you need to effectively do your job.
Maybe it’s a certain type of computer/laptop, extra display screens, lighting or microphones, office chairs and desks, access to co-working space to get out of the house, etc.
There may be limits to what the company can offer or is willing to provide, but share some of your potential needs with the interviewer if they ask.
8. What tools and apps do you like to use to better get your work done and communicate with colleagues?
This question might not seem as important as others, but it’s actually very telling to the hiring manager(s) based on your answer here.
For one, it lets them know what tools and apps you are already familiar with or currently using. Technology savvy individuals are important for successful remote work. And it also shows how you strategically organize and use these remote work apps and tools to be effective in your daily work.
I’d recommend talking about your favorite ones like your email calendar, communication tools (think Microsoft Teams or Slack), any project management tools (Trello, Asana, etc.), or other unique ones specific to the job you applied for at the company.
9. How do you prepare for meetings when working from home? What do you do after these meetings?
Since you’ll be working remotely (full-time or part-time) it’s inevitable that you’ll be part of various meetings through video or phone. And for some, that can be a challenge compared to gathering in a room with co-workers and managers.
So do not be surprised when one of the remote job interview questions is around how you prepare for meetings. And along with that, what do you do after these meetings to ensure everything is organized?
Here are some quick tips:
- Write down a few talking points you have before the meeting
- Meetings can go long, but still to the allotted time as best you can
- Keep tabs on the time with check-ins with everyone on the call/video
- Encourage others to speak up, to encourage more collaboration and communication
10. If you ran into an issue or needed something for a project, but your team is offline, what would you do to solve it?
The important aspect to success in a remote company is to respect your colleague’s work/life balance. Many will work different hours pending how they like to work and where they are located in the world.
And naturally, something more urgent might come up but the people you need are offline. Now what?
It’s a question you potentially will be asked because the hiring manager wants to understand how you think about potential problems you might face. What steps would you take in this situation? What’s your plan of action? How independent on making decisions will you be?
You might not have the perfect response but think about this situation so you are prepared during your interview.
11. What do you see as the advantages and disadvantages of remote work?
A more common remote job interview question you probably expect is the hiring manager asking what you see as the advantages and disadvantages of working remotely.
Yup, it’s a classic question and one that pretty much everyone knows the answer to. But, that won’t stop a recruiting or hiring manager from gauging how you respond to it.
My advice to this question is to make it more unique and personal to you. Give examples of why you feel the advantages you chose apply to how you feel about remote work (same with the disadvantages). Like I’ve said before, remote work is not perfect, and nor should your answer here be either.
12. How do you like to break up your workday to be most effective at home?
Remote work provides flexibility for people and is probably one reason you are looking to work from home too. The company and hiring managers know it’s a key factor for employees too. But you might be asked how you like to schedule your workdays out.
Share where you mostly will be working like your home, co-working space, coffee shop, or if you like to be a digital nomad and travel while working. There may be certain preferences by the company, but it’s a good time to be open and honest here.
Besides that, how do you organize your day? Do you take workout breaks, like going for a walk? Do you schedule a learning session dedicated to improving your work? Is it important you spend time with your kids at a certain time?
Sharing about how you like to schedule your workday shows the hiring manager that you know how to create a structure for yourself when you do your best work and that you generally care about organizing your day.
13. How do you feel about occasional travel to meet with your team or the company as whole? How often would you be okay with traveling?
Many fully-remote companies or those offering remote jobs, may like to have regular meet-ups for teams or the company as a whole. This depends and varies if you are working for a start-up or a Fortune 500 company.
But you should be prepared to answer how you feel about traveling on some regular cadence. It might not be a “make or break” question, but it can help determine if you are open to team building and social interactions.
Traveling can be a bit tricky pending where you are in the world, but it can also be a lot of fun getting to explore new parts of the world and actually meet people you’ll be working with.
14. What would you say is your greatest strength that makes you successful in a remote position?
Ah, the classic question about what your greatest strength is and how it can apply to this potential role. Not to sound like a cliche, but this question is still highly relevant for remote work.
Typically, I’ve heard this question framed to be more about a strength that makes you a successful remote employee, not just in general.
And although I personally don’t ask this question when interviewing, I’ve been asked it a few times before. So it’s safe to say, there is a good chance you’ll experience this question in your job hunting.
Explain your strengths that show how it empowers your remote work and the experience you bring to the team you’ll be on (and the company as a whole). Try to avoid being generic and give a specific example that would apply.
One of my greatest strengths is using collaboration tools and staying up to date on the latest product features. Because I’m focused on these details, it allows me to discover more useful features quickly and create processes that better keep our team connected and collaborating on each new project efficiently.
Ready to Ace that Remote Job Interview?
Hopefully, you answered yes and are getting amped up!
Remember: while the above remote job interview questions won’t be exact, nor will a company ask you every variation of them – it is important to be highly prepared.
Take these questions and write a short answer or notes for talking points underneath each one. And before your interview, practice reciting your talking points, so you’ll easily remember them if any of the questions come up.
Remote jobs are more common than ever before, but the competition for hiring top talent is still fierce. This means you need to do your best to be ready for any type of question a hiring manager may ask and help them make sure you are their top choice.
Looking for more? Here’s how you can ace your remote interview.
Happy remote working!