Interview questions you should ask if the job is remote

Ask the right interview questions to find the right candidate for a remote job. Here are questions you should ask to understand if they are suited for it.

If you are a remote-friendly employer, you might know how it works to have a team that works from home. However, not necessary for the job applicant. Job applicants may just have applied to your vacant job opening because it stated that it was remote in the job.

As an employer who can offer work schedule flexibility, productivity is one of the most important factors. It’s not only about getting to work in PJs but it also means that workers need to produce. Even if the interviewee has the right skills and values, they may not be suitable for remote work life.

These are questions you should be asking the job seeker if your position is remote:


See if your candidate is being honest with the idea of work-from-home ask:

Have you worked remotely, are there challenges you faced while working from home?

As straightforward as it seemed, this will help you to understand if your candidate has remote work experience. If they have, it will be a seamless transition for them when they start the job.

While following up with the question if they have faced any challenges, will help you understand what they thought of the change. If they have found ‘solutions’ to tackle the adjustment, it demonstrates that your candidate is willing to adapt and still stay productive.

If they didn’t face any challenges, well you’ll know they are not being honest or they have not worked enough to face them.

Get to know their motivation, ask:

Why do you want to work from home?

This seems like an obvious question. But you will want to know what motivates them and it will help to reveal what kind of workers they are.

Here are some of the common responses and what they can reveal:

If the reason is to allow them to take care of a family member, it may affect their working schedule or have distractions they may face. This is not necessarily a bad thing but you will have to evaluate if interferes with your business’ productivity.

If the interviewee’s reason is to avoid having their manager who is watching over their shoulder or praise the idea that they can work from home comfortably in their PJs whenever they want, this may raise a red flag. They applied for the remote job just for personal advantages. This could be an indicator that this might not be a good fit with your team.

Lastly, if your interviewee explains that they find working from home makes them more productive because they can concentrate better, or be able to avoid traffic so they can start the day on the right foot, they are applying for professional advantages. This is will help understand that this person will be working for their career growth, and hopefully is a great addition to your team!

How to know if your candidate is proactive in a remote setting:

What do you do if you need an answer from a colleague but they are unavailable?

In a traditional office, it’s so much easier to get the answer you need right away. You can just walk over to the person’s office and ask your questions. If not, you can come back in a few minutes if they are temporarily unavailable. On the other hand, if you have employees working in different time zones or physically in a different place, obtaining the answer won’t be as immediate.

By asking this interview question, it will reveal if the candidate is proactive in a remote environment. If the situation arises, how did they handle it? Did they look for the answer on their own in the meantime? To understand their communication skills, would they be persistent until they get an answer? Just like any setting, there are good and bad ways to communicate between colleagues. This will help if the job applicant is suited for your company.

If the candidate never worked remotely, ask this:

What are the challenges you will face when working remotely?

The job applicant should somewhat have some concerns about starting a new position remotely if they haven’t done it before. If they give a well-thought-through answer like: “I’m worried that my routine would be unbalanced as I won’t be needing to commute. However, I would try to use this commute time that I have currently and replace it with a gym session in the morning so I can property start my day.”

If your job seeker can answer something like that, it shows that they are a motivated forward thinker and a problem solver.

Are they ready for remote work? Ask this:

What did you like and dislike about office life?

If you are a recruiter hiring for a remote position, it is natural to ask questions that are specific to remote jobs. However, to gain more insight into the candidate, asking a reversed question will help to reveal if they are suited for a remote environment.

They may enjoy certain in-office perks like having lunch with colleagues or the day-to-day human connection. As a recruiter, you can always propose alternatives that the remote job can offer to replace those in-office interactions. Such as virtual lunches, and hanging out on Slack or Yammer.

This question can also reveal some red flags. By that, we mean that the candidate is not fully ready for it. For example, if they enjoy the team-building part of office life, well big chances are they are no face-to-face interaction for the remote job.

Ask right questions

Asking the right questions is important as the workforce is transitioning towards remote more. Interview questions should, of course, be changed according to the position and adapting your questions can take a bit more time. Asking more remote-oriented questions can help you determine if the candidate is suited for a remote job or not.

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