Remote work is more than just home-cooked lunches and hanging around in your sweatpants. It requires teams to be empathetic, collaborative and adaptable—day in and day out. You need a strong and well-connected team to not only get work done but to thrive as happy and healthy people. 💪
Now that companies are embracing a hybrid or fully remote style of working, it’s more important than ever that your team members have the soft skills necessary to succeed in a remote environment.
So, what should you look out for when hiring remote workers? And how do you find out if your candidates have the right remote skills and abilities during the hiring process?
We've gathered 30 remote interview questions to help you—and your candidates—evaluate if your team is right for them. Let’s jump in!
TLDR; Our go-to, top 10 remote interview questions
If you’re short on time, here are the top remote job interview questions you should be asking to help get you started. Use these interview questions to evaluate how a candidate manages working remotely and if they would be a good match for your distributed team:
- Have you ever worked remote in the past? If so, what was your experience with it?
- What do you find challenging about remote work? How have you tackled those challenges in the past?
- What do you enjoy the most about a remote work environment?
- What do you need from your company in order to do your best work remotely?
- How often do you like to touch base with your team and how do you do that?
- Can you tell me about a time you had to ask a remote team member for help and how did you go about it?
- How do you like to stay connected to your team when working a remote job?
- How do you stay motivated and engaged in your work when you work remotely?
- When working remotely, how do you disconnect from your work at the end of the day?
- How do you set boundaries between your work life and home life?
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Questions to determine remote working experience
For candidates who have worked remotely before, you can ask remote-focused questions about their specific past experiences. That way you get insight into how well they might work in a remote team environment.
1. Have you ever worked remotely in the past? If so, what was your experience with it?
The open-ended nature of this question can give you a high-level introduction to the candidate's remote work experience.
2. Can you tell me about a time you thrived while working remotely? What about that situation worked well for you?
Get the candidate to help you understand what type of remote environment they might succeed in. Then you can see if that’s something your team can reasonably offer.
3. Can you tell me about a time working remotely was difficult? What made it difficult and how did you deal with that?
Remote work isn’t perfect, and neither is any candidate. This is an opportunity to find out what your candidate might have struggled with in the past, how they problem solve and how you can help them if and when they join your team.
4. What do you need from us in order to be able to do your best work while working remotely?
Interviewing is a two-way street; as much as you’re the interviewer, they’re also using this time to assess whether your company is right for them. Find out if you can provide them with the right remote work environment that suits their needs and work style.
5. Where do you tend to do your best work?
Does the candidate enjoy working from home or do they prefer the background noise of a coffee shop? This is your chance to dig into where your potential teammate prefers to work, plus it lets you know if they’re already set up for a remote work company.
6. Have you had any issues or challenges with working remotely in the past? How did you handle those?
Similar to other common interview questions, you want to get an idea of what a candidate might struggle with and, more importantly, how they overcome those challenges.
7. Do you have any questions or concerns about our remote working policies?
It’s important to leave the candidate enough time to ask you additional questions. They shouldn’t leave the interview feeling like they have a long list of pressing questions they didn’t get to ask you.
8. What do you like about working remotely? What don't you like about working remotely?
Remote work comes with a long list of benefits and downsides, and they will differ from candidate to candidate. If your candidate says they don’t like that they don’t have an office to go to and you’re 100% remote, then remote work might not be the best option for them.
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Interview questions for newly remote workers
Candidates who’ve never worked remotely before won't have the same types of examples to draw from in a job interview. But these remote job interview questions will be able to give you an idea of how they’d handle working a remote job. 💪 Bonus: these questions will also give your candidates a better idea if a remote position is right for them.
9. What do you think you’ll find challenging about working remotely?
If your candidate is new to remote work life, get them thinking about how they’ll handle working remotely. You might uncover that they’re an extrovert who craves social time during the workday, or they might be seeking mentorship in a remote work environment. Whatever their answer is, this question will help you understand if they’re a forward thinker and how they might solve those remote work hurdles.
10. What sort of support do you think you’ll need from your team to combat remote working challenges?
Team members and team leads need to be equally committed to solving the kinks of a distributed team. Find out how you can support your potential team member, and how you could be a better remote teammate in general.
11. How will you manage the transition to working remotely?
Does the candidate have a plan in place for how they might combat remote work isolation or distractions? Have they considered how their productivity levels may change in a remote work setting?
12. What interests you about a remote role?
Get to the heart of what your candidate looks for in a new remote role. Is it greater flexibility? More team camaraderie? Find out what kind of remote environment they would thrive in.
13. How will you plan your schedule or working hours in a way that works for you?
This question gives you insight into how much thought your candidate has put into their remote work setup and schedule. If your company has a more flexible work culture, this is a strong question to ask.
14. What is your communication style and how do you think this translates to a remote work environment?
In a remote team, you can’t just pop into your boss's office to ask a question. People might be working from different countries, from completely different timezones. That means you need to think ahead and find new ways to communicate.
15. How much does the ability to work remotely impact your desire to work here?
Is remote work a bonus for your candidate or is it the number one reason why they’re interested in a job at your company? This question will also help you understand what entices candidates to your job post.
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Questions to evaluate communication skills
Communicating well may be the most important skill a candidate can have in a work setting. While that’s definitely true for an in-office setting, remote teams lack the ease of in-person collaboration. Strong communication skills and practices are more essential than ever. Be sure to spend some time on this in your remote job interviews.
16. How do you like to touch base with your team and how often do you keep in touch?
It’s helpful to understand if asynchronous work is something your candidate is used to and experienced in. Because most communication is done via Slack or video when working remotely, knowing how well candidates communicate virtually is important.
17. Can you tell me about a time when you needed to ask for help from a team member? How did you go about this?
Situational questions like this one give you insight into how candidates handle specific and challenging “what-if” scenarios.
18. How would you reach out to a remote team member to ask for help?
Remote workers don’t have the luxury of walking over to a teammate’s desk to ask for help—they have to make more of an effort to seek out solutions, while also avoiding over-communication and managing collaboration from different timezones. Turn to this question to dig into how independent and proactive a candidate is when faced with a problem in a remote work setting.
19. Can you tell me about some tools you’ve used in the past to communicate with your team?
Get an idea of what tools and platforms your candidate is used to using to see if and how they’ve used them in another remote position.
20. Tell me about a time you had a conflict with a remote team member. How did you handle it?
Problem-solving in a remote company can be more challenging. The same goes for conflict resolution. Hashing out a problem over Slack can amplify an issue that might be more easily resolved in person or on a video call. Asking candidates about previous behaviours can show you how they might react in similar, future situations on a remote team.
21. What are ways you try to connect and bond with your team when working remotely?
Working on a remote team doesn’t mean you have to feel alone. While you can’t necessarily hang out with colleagues in person after work, it’s still important to make an effort to stay connected to maintain that sense of camaraderie. With this question, your aim is to understand how your candidate maintains work relationships outside of an office.
22. Can you tell me about one of your best and most effective working relationships with a team member? What made it that way?
When your remote team is built on trust, open communication, self-awareness and mutual respect, you can make great things happen. That all comes down to the people. Take note if your candidate has built strong and supportive relationships in their workplaces in the past and if they value those work relationships.
Remote interview questions to evaluate accountability
Here’s where we stand on virtual interviews: there’s nothing wrong with a candidate working in pajamas if that’s what makes them comfortable. What you’re really trying to find out is how candidates hold themselves accountable when there's no manager looking over their shoulder. Check out these work-from-home interview questions to access accountability in a candidate.
23. Can you tell me how you stay motivated and engaged in your work while working remotely?
It can be challenging to work from home without the buzz of an office environment and the energy of your colleagues to keep you going. Ask this question to uncover how your candidate maintains their focus and balance. Look out for answers that mention taking reenergizing walks and regular breaks—this can signal their ability to maintain work/life balance.
24. How do you handle meeting deadlines?
Being able to stick to promises and meet tight deadlines is an important part of a variety of different job roles. But it’s also important to remember that we all miss deadlines once in a while. What matters is how we handle these situations. When you ask this question, weigh up whether or not a candidate sounds like they can finish important tasks with urgency while working from home.
25. To what extent do you need your team to hold you accountable for your work?
Clear, honest and open feedback is key to an accountable team. It’s expected that your team will occasionally make mistakes and take missteps in their work—after all, we’re only human. But in a remote setting, a candidate who needs constant deadline and meeting reminders might not be the strongest addition to your remote team.
26. What do you find to be the most distracting when working from home? How do you keep this from happening?
Working from home comes with its fair share of distractions. You’ll want to see how your candidate pushes away those pesky distractions so they still can feel engaged and committed to their work. Remember: it’s only natural for people to get distracted during the workday! What matters is self-awareness and willingness to work on it.
27. What methods or tools do you use to manage your time and stay organized?
Take note if the candidate mentions they use a to-do list (or even better, a task management tool like Todoist), a calendar app (like Asana) or timer software (like the Pomodoro timer). It’s a good sign that they’re on top of their task management and aware of how much time they spend on projects.
Questions to evaluate work-life balance maintenance
One of the challenges of working from home is drawing clear boundaries between work-life and home-life. Taking enough breaks, signing out at a reasonable hour, not letting work encroach on your downtime are all things remote workers need to master in order for work to be sustainable. Use these remote interview questions to help you dig into how your candidates will strike the right balance.
28. When you end your day, how do you switch off your work brain and relax?
This question helps you get to know your candidate better, including what they like to do outside of work and how they spend their personal time. It also gives you insight into how they manage work/life balance to avoid the dreaded burnout.
29. How do you like to structure your day? When and how do you like to take breaks?
Find out how your candidate manages their day and how they take time for themselves throughout the day. It’s imperative that your team take time out for the important stuff during the workday: bathroom breaks, lunch, coffee breaks, walks – maybe even a jog or a swim!
30. How do you set boundaries between your work life and home life?
Remote work can muddle the distinction between work life and home life. When you suddenly work where you live, it becomes trickier to just log off and disappear. The answer to this question will let you know if your candidate is more susceptible to overworking themselves into the early hours of the night.
Moving forward with the right remote job interview questions
Pick and choose the interview questions that work best for you. Be sure to spend significant time on the subject of remote work in your next remote job interview. Hiring workers is always going to be a challenge and hiring remote workers simply takes a different, more focused approach.