If you’re looking for a remote job, eventually you will have a remote job interview. And, while interviews, in general, are a little daunting, it can be more intimidating to interview virtually — especially if it’s your first remote interview.
As a Career Advisor, the standard advice I give to clients and individuals is to prepare and practice for a remote job interview. Doing so helps calm nerves and increases confidence. How’s that for a win-win?
Plus, it makes for a more successful interview. On average, you’ll be up against four to six other professionals once you make it to the interview round of hiring.
The best way to get a job offer is to interview better than your competitors. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, it can be if you plan ahead and prep answers to common remote job interview questions in advance.
Preparation is Key
As a job seeker in general you’ll face common interview questions. These are the same ones we all come across regardless of job type, industry, or position. But, as a remote job seeker, you’ll likely have to answer remote-specific questions that will help a hiring manager determine whether or not you’d be a successful remote worker.
This is how you can help yourself stand out against the competition. Remember, the four to six candidates being interviewed all have similar skills and abilities — that’s how they got the interview. But as a savvy job seeker, you’ll get the job based on how well you present yourself as a remote job seeker.
Make yourself seem like the perfect hire that you obviously are by coming up with smart answers to common remote job interview questions.
7 Common Remote Job Interview Questions
1. Do you have experience working remotely?
If you do, great! This is the perfect chance to highlight previous remote work experience. Someone who has already successfully tackled remote work is a ‘safer’ hire than someone without any remote experience.
However, if you’ve never worked remotely a day in your life — don’t panic. You can still answer this question in a positive way.
Explain that while you don’t have direct experience as a remote worker, you do have the skills needed to be a successful remote worker. Then highlight the common skills needed to work remotely related to communication, technology, organization, and time management.
From there, you can mention specific programs you’ve used that remote teams commonly use like Slack, Google Drive, and Trello.
The more you can demonstrate you’ve got what it takes to work remotely, the better.
2. Why do you want to telecommute?
If you’ve never worked remotely before, the hiring manager will want to know why you’re drawn to remote work now. Someone who has had a successful office-based career for years that suddenly pivots to remote work will need a solid answer to this question.
Maybe you’re more productive when working from your home office. Perhaps you live in a rural area where job opportunities are limited. It may even be as simple as the company/job you’re applying for just happens to be remote-friendly and you are excited about the opportunity.
Don’t overthink your answer to this one. Simply state what it is about remote work that appeals to you. Remember, there are tons of remote work benefits to choose from!
But never ever mention what you hate about office work — annoying coworkers, office politics, cubicle dwelling, daily commutes, fluorescent lighting, etc. This just makes it seem like you’re looking for an escape rather than a new opportunity.
3. What is your home office setup like? Can you describe it?
Whether or not you have worked from home previously, your interviewer wants to know you are serious about remote work. A candidate that has an existing home office or has considered how they will create a home office is already a step ahead of most.
Be sure to note anything that will contribute to your overall productivity and efficiency like a quiet and private workspace and high-speed reliable Internet.
4. How will you communicate and collaborate effectively with your coworkers?
One of the most important traits companies want in their remote workers is the ability to communicate effectively. That’s because you won’t be able to collaborate in the same space with your coworkers or have in-person sessions.
Instead, remote workers rely on collaboration tools and written communication to manage workflow and work together to get things done. Needless to say, you have to be an effective communicator in order to work well as a remote employee.
As an aspiring remote worker, you should be aware of common ways to keep in touch with coworkers. These include Trello, Slack, Zoom, and Google Drive. It’s also a good idea to mention traditional communication channels like chat, phone, email, and video.
5. What do you think your biggest challenge will be as a remote worker? How will you deal with this challenge?
You probably already know the dreaded interview question, “What’s your greatest weakness?” Well, this is the remote interviewer’s equivalent of that.
Let’s be honest, remote work comes with unique challenges. The person interviewing you wants to know that you’re aware of this and ready to overcome them if and when they happen.
Distractions, technical problems, engagement, motivation, and productivity are some common pitfalls of remote work. Think of ways you will combat these as a remote worker.
When you have answers prepared you to come across as an honest and realistic aspiring remote worker. If you fail to answer this question or try to spin this into a positive, i.e., “My biggest challenge as a remote worker is that I will get lost in work since I’m more productive at home” you come across as disillusioned about remote work or dishonest.
6. How do you handle distractions?
Distractions happen as a remote worker. Your doorbell rings. Dogs start barking. Neighbors come and go. Spouses, significant others, and kids may be in and around your workspace.
How you handle these common distractions tells a lot about your work ethic as a remote worker. Your interviewer wants to know that you are aware that distractions are going to happen and are already prepared to tackle them head-on.
7. What are some ways you prioritize tasks and stay motivated?
Before you’re hired, the company wants to know you’ll put in a full day’s work even when no one is looking. To build that level of trust during the interview, you will likely be asked how you manage your time and stay motivated.
Now is the time to illustrate just how you manage yourself and stay on top of the task.
Think about your own preferences when it comes to staying organized, focused, and productive. Be sure to note how you prioritize tasks and manage to get things done daily.
Practice Makes Perfect
Remember, these are just some of the most common interview questions remote job seekers face. Of course, every company will have its own set of questions they’ll ask potential hires.
But you can expect to encounter some of the above questions or similar variations. That’s because remote work is unique and it is not for everyone. Companies want to make sure they hire someone who will thrive as a remote worker and fit in with the current remote-friendly culture.
To position yourself as this perfect hire, prepare answers to the questions you’re more likely to come across as a remote job seeker. And while it’s good to be prepared don’t be overly robotic or rehearsed.
Interviews are also a time to let your personality shine. Your answers should perfectly showcase your professional abilities and demonstrate you’re a great fit for the position.