Remote Work

The Ultimate List of Interview Questions to Ask While Hiring Remote Workers

Are you confused about what questions to ask in an interview to gauge the perfect remote workers for your team? Do you want to be creative while interviewing candidates to join your team? You are at the right place. This blog has an ultimate list of interview questions to ask while hiring your remote team.

Remote job interview questions

Are you confused about what questions to ask in an interview to gauge the perfect remote workers for your team? Do you want to be creative while interviewing candidates to join your team?

You are at the right place. This blog has an ultimate list of interview questions to ask while hiring your remote team.

No matter what kind of industry you are in, hiring the right people is crucial for your company. Because the magic only happens when you have the right kind of people in your team.

Hiring the right person can also assure that you don’t waste time going through the same tiring process once again.

The remote hiring process is obviously different from what a traditional in-office interview may look like.

Make sure to consider the following points while scripting the interview questions for hiring great remote workers for your team: 

  • Are their verbal and written communication skills top-notch?
  • How far are they comfortable with technology? 
  • Are they self-starters? Do they have the ability to self motivate themselves?
  • Are they capable of making independent decisions as you won’t want to be micromanaging? 
  • Can they work with little direction?

5 Red flags to look for

  1. Lack of flexibility.
  2. Needs constant hand-holding.
  3. Poor communication skills.
  4. Vague answers.
  5. Terrible at teamwork.

The ultimate list of interview questions to ask while hiring remote workers

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Now that you are equipped with the knowledge of what to look for, and what to avoid; here is a list of remote specific interview questions to ask while hiring remote workers to figure out if they are the right candidate for your remote teams- 

What does it take to work Remote?

Remote working experience is vastly different from working in a physical office.

Along with the flexibility of time and place it brings in some challenges as well.

Thus even before you decide if the candidate has the skills or not, it is important for you to judge if they are capable of working remotely in the first place.

Ask them questions to know what are the challenges they think they might face and how they are going to deal with that. 

Questions for a new remote worker

  • Do you have prior experience of working remotely?
  • What do you think will be your biggest challenge as a remote worker?
  • How would you manage to work on a project with team members based in the office?
  • Why do you want to work remotely?
  • What does working remotely look like for you?
  • What skills do you think are important for remote workers?

Questions for an experienced remote worker

  • What time of the day do you prefer to work?
  • What benefit of remote working do you value the most?
  • What tools have you used in the past to work effectively while remote?
  • What’s your experience in working with distributed teams across time-zones?
  • What is your biggest concern about working remotely?
  • What are the 3 things you always keep in your workplace and why?

Questions for a first-time remote manager

  • How do you think you can better support your teammates as a remote manager?
  • How would you go about managing expectations from your team members?
  • What do you think is most important about this role?
  • How would you protect your team from distractions?
  • Do you think cultural differences can affect the work culture and team bonding? What can you do about it as a manager of a remote team?
  • Is making employees feel included important for a remote team? What role would you play in this regard?

Questions for an experienced remote manager

  • What does your ideal work environment look like?
  • Can you share an instance when you took initiative at a project?
  • What is the overall role you would like to play as a manager of a remote team?
  • What is your management style?
  • Have you faced any big challenges while coordinating and managing a remote team?
  • What is your best and worst experience as a remote manager?

Communication, time management, project management etc. are major challenges for employees working remotely.

Are you still not sure about how to go with the interview to hire new remote talents for your company with these qualities kept in mind?

Go ahead and consider asking your remote hires this ultimate list of interview questions to suss out their specific abilities-

How good are they in terms of Communication?

Remote job interview questions

Communication is an essential skill when it comes to successfully working within a remote team.

Small misunderstandings that could have been thwarted with the blink of an eye or just a polite tone of voice can easily change into major issues because of an absence of proper communication within your remote teams. 

It may get harder if your employees are working from different time zones. Thus it is important to evaluate if the employee you are hiring can deal with such situations if they ever occur.

And how they will be doing this with an actionable process. Ask them for specific details about their strategies to know if they are an ideal candidate for the remote job. 

What to ask?

  • How do you prefer to communicate with your team members?
  • How will you respond to a problem arising from a communication failure?
  • How do you leverage tools for effective communication?
  • How do you use different communication tools in different situations?
  • How would you handle a lack of face to face contact when you work remotely?
  • How do you avoid miscommunication?

How are they going to stay productive while working from home? 

Without team members around, your employees may easily feel distracted and unmotivated and ultimately unproductive.

Thus it is important for you to ask your remote hires interview questions that will help you know how they are going to act in such scenarios.

What to ask?

  • How do you motivate yourself to work?
  • What gets you up in the morning?
  • Will you be able to stay motivated without in-person supervision?
  • How do you plan on getting past slumps in productivity? 
  • What are some distractions you anticipate in your remote workplace? How would you ensure they don’t hamper your work quality?
  • How do you stay focused??

Time management

Time Management

Your new remote hires need to be able to ace the art of time management as you won’t be constantly overlooking their work.

Especially when your employees will be working from home with a flexible schedule, away from their co-workers, with ample distractions to get them sidetracked, managing their time effectively might get hard. 

“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else”

Peter Drucker, Management consultant.

You also need to know how they are going to coordinate with their team members even while working from different time zones. 

What to ask?

  • What activities do you do that help you maintain a work-life balance?
  • How do you schedule your day?
  • How do you prioritize tasks?
  • How do you use technology throughout the day for time management?
  • How do you use your calendar and schedule?
  • What tools do you use for managing your tasks?

Project management

Project Management

When the team is distributed across different locations project management can sometimes become a challenge.

Especially when the team is large and the project is a critical one, keeping track of the tasks without face to face interaction may get difficult. 

Thus you must choose the candidate who is capable of handling such difficulties without requiring you micromanage every small detail.

What to ask?

  • How do you process information?
  • If you face a problem while the team members are offline what will you do to solve the issue
  • How would you rate your tech skills?
  • How would you drive team collaboration?
  • How would you go about solving a problem with little or no supervision?
  • What according to you is the key to make any project successful while working remotely?

Checklist for a successful remote hire interview process

The experience of an interview is important as it gives your new remote hires an idea of the work culture of your company.  Here is a checklist for you to run a smooth remote hiring process. 

  • Define the characteristics of an excellent remote employee for your team. This may vary based on the post, your own preferences or your team’s values. 
“You should spend the time to learn a role before you hire for it. If you don’t understand it, it’s very hard to get the right person”- Sam Altman

You can even consider making a list of adjectives that describes the perfect candidate for the post:

  • Prepare a magnetic job description. Specified description with an inside look at the company and the post will not only help you attract the right candidates for the post but also lessen the application scale.
  • Find candidates. Use your network, meetup groups, blog posts, social media posts, job boards etc. 
  • Have a value-added application process. For example, at Zapier, they design applications that not only educate the candidate about the post but also include questions to get an insight about the candidate as well.
  • Upgrade your technology and test them in advance. Use hiring tools such as – The Resumator, Jobpal, Ideal, Talentwall, greenhouse etc. to ease your recruiting process.
  • Hold video call interviews to test the candidate’s communication abilities. Some red flags here might be if the candidate is not flexible regarding time zone issues if they are bad with emailing or replying to emails.
  • Have the questions ready as per your need and the post. If the interview involves multiple people, script the questions accordingly. Also, provide the candidates time to answer back thoughtfully.

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These questions must be designed in a manner that can help you not only to understand what you expect from your employee but also what they can expect from you. 

  • Test the best candidates by letting them work on a project that would be typical of the post, if possible in teamwork, to understand how clearly they communicate, how they process information and how effectively they take suggestions and use them at work. 

Buffer has an interesting take on it. They have a New Employee Bootcamp that goes for about 45 days and the candidate needs to get through this test to get the final commitment.

Bonus Tip: Always remember the skills written on paper must not always be true. And no experience doesn’t always mean no skills.

So get a real picture by having them work on some task to evaluate their capabilities before finalising who is the best person to be in your remote team. 

Conclusion

The hiring process is more critical than the thought itself. Now that you know what to ask and how to go about the process, consider making use of these suggestions.

And leverage them to hire remote employees who are good communicators, have a positive problem-solving attitude and are disciplined enough to stay motivated and productive even while working miles away from their co-workers. 

You may also like to read:

The Power of Human Connection in Remote Work

Busting working from home myths and more

Does working from home increase productivity of your business?

Remote employee monitoring: Where are you going wrong?

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