The number of people working remotely is on the rise. According to Owl Labs’ Remote Work Statistics report, 2019, 18% of employees now work remotely, 100 per cent of the time—and this trend is set to increase over the coming years. As the way we work become more flexible, the interview process may need be tweaked to ensure businesses can find the right people, people who will work well when working remotely.
Asking the right interview questions
Focusing on goals, experiences, problem solving abilities, and communications skills, the right questions could lead to very telling answers from the candidate. Here are some suggested interview questions to help you effectively assess a candidate who will be working remotely, 100% of the time:
1. Do you have experience of working remotely?
This is crucial, as there’s no guarantee that someone without experience will be suited to working this way. If they haven’t, what are their intentions? How does working remotely fit with their goals, and how are they suited to working this way?
2. What do you like/think you’ll like about working remotely, and what led you to apply for a full-time remote working role?
Not everyone is able to work remotely full-time. Remote workers can struggle to fit in with the culture of the workplace, suffer from loneliness and burnout, experience problems being consistently engaged with their work, and even come to feel shunned and left out. This question gives you an indication of how thoroughly they have thought through the prospect of working remotely, and how it will complement their working style.
3. How do you intend to collaborate with colleagues when working remotely? Can you tell me about how you’ve done this in the past?
Breakdowns in both communication and collaborative working can occur when individuals, or several team members, are away from the rest of the business. Their answer here will give you clues as to how much they value collaboration and the skills they have to do this effectively when working remotely.
4. What has working remotely taught you about how you work most effectively?
The candidate should be able to reflect on what they’ve learned from working remotely, and how it’s helped them to develop. They should be able to tell you, for example, which part of the day are they most productive, or how they have adapted certain skills to working away from others.
5. Which online collaboration tools do you have experience of using?
It’s important the candidate feels at home when using new technology. They should be able to use their skills and intuition to get themselves accustomed to any new platforms your business may be using, and use these to effectively, and regularly communicate with colleagues.
6. Do you foresee any challenges with working remotely, and how do you plan to tackle these?
Given the pros and cons of working remotely, they should be able to identify these, and prove that they can anticipate and solve foreseeable problems. For example, one challenge they foresee could be feeling disconnected to the business. In their answer, they should be able explain to you how they would proactively tackle this.
7. Do you have sufficient office space at home?
This one sound obvious, but it is absolutely crucial that the remote worker is able to work safely, comfortably and productively at home.
8. Can you tell me an example of when you managed a project from start to finish?
The trust that you place in your remote employees needs to be returned in the form of results. The ideal candidate should be a self-starter, someone who values results over process, and is able to demonstrate attention for detail and the ability to track their KPIs. This question enables you you to assess the candidate’s problem-solving and communication skills, responsiveness, and ability to take initiative.
9. How do you focus and remain productive when working remotely, but still maintain a positive work-life balance?
If the candidate can work effectively remotely, they should be able to explain how they stay focused, hit their targets and avoid overworking, providing you with practical, real-life examples.
10. How do you deal with miscommunication or conflict, and can you give me an example of doing so?
How calmly and practically the candidate handles conflict could be key to their success in the future when working remotely. As miscommunication can be more common, without face-to-face engagement, they should be able to easily explain to you how they resolve such instances.
11. How do you get to know new members of your remote team?
How the candidate answers this question indicates how effectively they communicate, engage with others and learn how to work collaboratively, even from a distance. Their answer will also give you a clue as to how highly they value teamwork and the development of professional relationships.
12. Is there anything you need from me (your boss) in order to work remotely?
If the candidate is good to go, great. But if they do identify anything they need before getting started, it’s better to find out right now and get everything in place.
The questions above should help you to ascertain which candidates are suited to working remotely, and which possibly are not. Remote working certainly isn’t for everyone and for every organisation—which is why carefully interviewing candidates who have applied to work this way is so important. By approaching the interview in the right way, you’ll stand a good chance of identifying the right people to add to your remote workforce.