7 Remote Job Interview Questions Everyone Should Ask
Whether you’re new to the world of remote hiring or not, there are certain things you’ll need to ask a potential employee that a traditional brick-and-mortar business might not have to. The seven remote job interview questions below can help you determine if a job candidate would be the right fit for your remote company—or not.
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Remote Job Interview Questions Everyone Should Ask

1. Why does working remotely appeal to you?

Almost everyone wants workplace flexibility, but the reasons why can vary from job seeker to job seeker. While you can’t directly ask a candidate about their personal life (i.e.,  if they’re married, have kids, etc.), asking why they want to work remotely can give you a pretty good idea of the personal factors motivating their desire for flex.

You may discover that your top candidate is the spouse of an active-duty military personnel and has to relocate frequently. Another might be a mom looking to on-ramp back into the workforce but needs flex in order to take care of her family.

Knowing why your employee wants flex can help you get a bigger-picture perspective of who they are.

2. Do you have previous remote work experience?

While it’s not a deal breaker if your job candidate doesn’t have remote work experience, it’s ideal if he does. Why? Well, if he has already worked remotely, then he knows, more or less, the ins and outs of working from home. He knows that he’ll need to self-manage, be proactive about communicating, and be focused on prioritizing his workload without the presence of other coworkers and managers.

If he’s done this successfully in the past, you can feel more confident knowing that he’ll be able to get right into the swing of things (without going through office withdrawal) when he’s hired to work remotely.  

3. How would you describe your communication style?

It’s easy for remote workers to work in a bubble, but they need to be strong communicators in order to get the job done effectively. So find out what your candidate’s preferred method of communication is.

Maybe he’s an instant message addict, or he might just want to pick up the phone if he needs clarification on a project.

No matter what his choice is, though, it’s important to uncover if your candidate knows the importance of communication (and some would say over-communicating) in a remote work environment.

4. What would you do if you had a work-related problem?

In a typical office environment, it’s kind of easy to assess if an employee is having a problem. He might look sullen, not want to come out of his cube, or be disinterested in attending meetings.

But in a remote work environment, where all of these visual clues are absent, it can be a lot harder. During your remote job interview, ask your potential employee what he would do in a hypothetical scenario. After all, not being proactive about communicating a problem (personal or professional) can cost the company in time and lost productivity.

5. If hired, what type of work schedule would you have?

Sure, your remote company is a R.O.W.E (Results Only Work Environment), where employees’ productivity is measured on their output, not the number of hours they clock at their desks.

But still, managers need to know when workers are “on” in order to have some semblance of organization.

So find out what times your worker would be available during the typical workday; he might get the bulk of his work done in the mornings but still be available some afternoons for meetings, for example.

This way, you can schedule meetings or know when to expect an answer to urgent emails without having to scramble to see if your employee’s little green light on his instant messaging program is on—or not.

6. How comfortable are you using tech tools or doing Skype interviews?

No doubt about it—tech is one of the driving forces of the remote workplace. That’s why, regardless of industry, it’s critical for any newbie worker to feel comfortable using collaboration tools, email, instant messaging, productivity trackers, and so on.

Even if your job candidate says he’s adept at doing, say, Skype interviews, you might question it if he can’t connect during an important second-round job interview.

While there is always a learning curve when it comes to tech tools once hired, it would be in your best interest if your potential employee already knew his way around some of the programs and tools that your company uses.

7. What do you look for in a remote company’s culture?

This remote job interview question can give you a good idea of what the job candidate is looking for in a perfect work match. It can also provide a glimpse into what makes your company desirable to work for.

If a job seeker claims that his top pick for company culture is its flexible work options, press him a little bit on that. After all, you don’t want someone working for your company who solely is interested in being able to work from home. You want someone who is excited to work for your organization and respects its remote work policies—maybe he likes the fact that your company invests in its workers and rewards them for their after-hours humanitarian efforts, for example.

Ideally, you want your company culture to complement your staff’s motivations for working for your company, and you want your workers to feel inspired when they come into work, so to speak.

These seven remote job interview questions can be used for virtually every industry to assess which job candidates would make the perfect new hires!

Readers, what questions do you ask during a remote job interview? Let us know in the comments below!

By Jennifer Parris | September 20, 2016 

Jane Gonzalez
Associate Editor