The massive shift from working in the office to working from home brought on by the pandemic has proved to many companies that they can indeed depend on remote workers to keep their businesses operating. In fact, quite a number of organizations have confessed that post COVID, remote work will more likely become the new normal. Other companies have revealed that they will move 20 percent of their on-site employees to remote positions permanently.
That said, remote job seekers face a unique set of challenges, sometimes different from working in-office. For instance, they have to be much more in charge of their time management and handle the work volume on their own. To many people, working from home is like a dream come true. Unfortunately, not all individuals are cut out for that kind of setup and the hiring managers are well aware of it and adapt their interviews when it comes to remote jobs. However, we got you covered with tips for better remote interviews so that you can get closer to your dream remote job.
#1. Do You Have Remote Work Experience? What Challenges Did You Face?
Of course, the company will want to know remote working isn’t an entirely new thing for you. If you worked from home before or you had a 50/50 work schedule, it will be interpreted as an advantage. If you worked remotely before, the answer should come naturally. However, if this is your first shot at such a role, you should be honest about it and still go for an answer to the second question. You need to present yourself as a good remote worker and think about the possible challenges you could face and your solutions for them. For example, you could mention the challenge of not interacting directly with your colleagues and countering it with more intense communication on Zoom, Slack, or any other similar apps. Avoid mentioning lack of focus when talking about the challenges of remote work. In most cases, you’re far more distracted at the office.
#2. Why Do You Want to Work Remotely?
This one should be straightforward enough. You can mention all the good reasons that make working from home a good fit for you. You should steer clear of reasons that will make you look like less of a team player – “I work better alone” or “I won’t get distracted by colleagues – even though they seem like a good idea at first. It’s better to focus on things that increase your productivity and efficiency connected to other negative aspects of working at the office. For example, you could say that eliminating the commuting time means you have more time for the daily tasks, as well as more time to relax from one day to another. It will convince the hiring manager that they’re dealing with one of the best remote workers with a clear plan on how to make remote working a win-win situation.
#3. Have You Previously Worked with a Distributed Team? How Did You Handle the Challenges?
Once more, honesty is the best approach for this one. If you don’t have previous experience with a distributed team, just say so. However, just like with the first question, be creative and think of a few possible challenges and come with solutions as well. For example, talk about the possibility of various team members working on various time zones as a challenge. Not only that it will show the interviewer you have a vision, but it will also highlight your problem-solving skills. It’s also a great opportunity to display your remote meeting etiquette by suggesting to schedule meetings so that most people can participate, even if it means doing some overtime.
#4. How Would You Rate Your Technology Skills?
Companies looking for remote workers know that, no matter how advanced the technology is, there are tasks that the IT department won’t be able to resolve 100% remotely. So, you will need to assure them that your technical skills are at a level that can guarantee efficient remote work. Of course, the technology skills differ from one job title to another. However, knowing to troubleshoot basic tech issues like setting up a webcam or figuring out why your mic isn’t working during a Zoom meeting is something the employer will surely appreciate.
#5. Where Do You Plan on Working From?
This is the part where you want to make it clear to the hiring manager or interviewer that you have a solid plan for the setup of working remotely. If you’re going to work from home, let them know you have a home office and have all that’s needed to do a great job. It’s important to highlight that you have a dedicated space with minimum distractions.
#6. How Will You Communicate with a Remote Team?
Remote workers communicate through text, voice, or video since getting in one room isn’t a possibility. This is where you should present your experience using various apps and tools to communicate with colleagues and organize the workload. Pro tip: you could casually mention that the absence of “spoken word” communication isn’t a downside as everything is now written or recorded and it makes following-up easier.
#7. Tell Me What You Learned from a Risk You Took and Failed?
This one isn’t strictly about remote work so you can use your previous experience to answer it. Be careful when choosing the answer as it’s alright to admit weakness but it should be something light. Never answer this question by blaming someone else, it’s important for the interviewer to know you can own your mistakes.
#8. How Do You Remain Focused?
The best approach for dealing with such a question is to, once more, list all the things that make you more productive and focused at home. A room that’s dedicated solely to your home office or the fact that it’s easy to stay focused when you’re alone in the room are both good answers.
#9. What’s Your Process of Switching off From Work?
Nowadays, most employers will also want to know that you can disconnect and avoid overtime or, even worse, burnout. You need to make it clear that you know how to draw the line between work and personal time. Once more, if your home office is in a dedicated room in the house, you can just tell them you exit the room as if you were leaving the office building. You can also mention a few hobbies that wouldn’t interfere with your daily tasks.
The traction remote work has gained thanks to COVID isn’t going anywhere, anytime. The truth is, most organizations are now seeing the immense benefits of having effective remote workers, among them cutting costs. As remote work becomes more commonplace than ever before, hiring managers and recruiters must know what to look for in potential candidates. And now you have a “cheat sheet” with the most common questions you could get during an interview for a remote job. Also, we invite our readers with a consistent work-from-home experience to share their past interviews and all the info on managing remote team members. Share your thoughts in the comments section!
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Thomas is a perpetual ex-pat who eventually settled down in Miami after living in 6 other countries. When not surfing at the beach or enjoying his Book of Ra game, he can be usually found in his home office, writing about the perks of working remotely and what remote work is all about.