The pandemic upended where, when and how we work. Over the last two years, employers have experimented with new, flexible ways of working, and many have made the move to permanent remote workplaces. When carried out correctly, remote work can bring many benefits to a company and its employees like reduced turnover, better work-life balance and increased performance. But even with the right skills and experiences, not every candidate is cut out to work from home. In an increasingly remote world of work, it’s essential hiring managers know which interview questions to ask and how to identify whether or not an applicant is a right fit for a remote role.
Here are 8 of the best interview questions to spot great remote workers:
1. Have you ever worked remotely? If so, what were some of the challenges you faced? It’s important to understand a person’s motivation for seeking remote work, as some candidates don’t understand the reality of working from home. If the answer is, “Never,” follow up with, “Why do you want to work remotely?” They should know what the challenges of remote work are and have strategies in place for tackling them.
2. Where do you prefer to work? Not having a “home office” should not disqualify someone from the job, but understanding how and where an applicant works best can help you understand them as a potential employee. If they already work from home, ask about their home office setup. Do they have everything a remote worker needs to be productive? Is it someplace that is relatively free of distractions?
3. How do you plan on communicating with a remote team? Remote employees should be comfortable using a wide range of platforms. Ask how the candidate will communicate with the team and how comfortable they are using different communication platforms.
4. How do you stay focused on your tasks? By starting with the broad question, you’ll be able to hone in on more remote-specific follow-ups. For example, if the candidate says, “I use noise-canceling headphones to block out noisy coworkers,” you can ask, “Will you face that same distraction when you work remotely?”
5. What do you like and what do you dislike about working in an office? If a candidate says that they love the company’s team-building opportunities, or their favorite activity is the 10 a.m. coffee cart, see why they’re interested in remote work. It could mean they never thought about the lack of face-to-face socialization and may discover that remote work isn’t right for them.
6. What’s the most challenging project you ever designed and executed? Working remotely requires employees to be highly self-motivated. Without a manager nearby, it’s easy for people to get distracted or lose their drive. The answer will speak to the candidate’s motivation and ability to get the job done when there’s nothing else motivating them–except themselves.
7. Tell me about a risk you took and failed. What did you learn? Asking for an example will give some insight into how the candidate operates. Do they only have one way of doing things? Do they learn and grow from their mistakes? Are they willing to admit they made a mistake? These answers will help you determine whether or not they are truly flexible and can mesh well with the existing team.
8. How do you switch off from work? Ask how applicants plan to manage their days, take appropriate breaks and stop working when it’s quitting time. Understanding how they switch out of work mode will help you better understand how they will do it when they’re on the job.
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