Nine Remote Work Questions to Always Ask Job Candidates

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What questions concerning remote work should you pose to your job candidates?

We asked business leaders and HR professionals for their insights. From workstation requirements to nurturing virtual team relationships, here are nine remote work topics to cover.

1. What Do You Need at Your Actual Workspace to Succeed in Your Job?

Employers can use this question to determine the equipment they might need to provide, as well as to gauge how well a candidate understands the potential physical and logistical implications of working remotely. Working from home allows employees the freedom to work anywhere they want, as Jason Fried writes in 37signal’s book Remote: Office Not Required. If the weather is great and someone has a garden, they might start at the kitchen counter, continue on the couch, then finish outside while taking in the sunshine. Fried continues by saying that we must make sure to have the fundamentals wherever working. So, ask candidates what it is for them: A standing workstation? A huge monitor? Or even a desk at a coworking facility? Working from home is sometimes difficult without the commotion of an office and the drive of coworkers to motivate us. Watch for candidates’ responses that allude to taking energizing walks and regular breaks; this can show a person’s capacity to maintain a work/life balance.

Joe Li, Managing Director, CheckYa

2. What’s Your Experience with Remote Project Management Tools?

The inquiry into a candidate’s familiarity with remote project management tools evokes a sense of multidimensionality, unlocking a veritable treasure trove of insight during the interview. It reveals a person’s deftness and proficiency in utilizing the tools that optimize remote work. The absence of such knowledge raises questions. Is the candidate’s lack of familiarity a manifestation of a lack of adaptability or a dearth of interest in keeping abreast of trends? The nature of remote work demands a proclivity for mastering new software and tools, managing workflows, and adapting to ever-changing environments. Moreover, the candidate’s ability to navigate the challenges, from technical mishaps to communication snafus, illustrates their ability to surmount obstacles and triumph in a remote environment. Overall, a candidate’s experience with remote tools says a lot about their commitment and proficiency, offering invaluable insights that can make a difference.

Nina Paczka, Community Manager, Resume Now

3. How Do You Handle Communication Within a Remote Team?

Communication can be a bit tricky when you’re not in the same physical space, so it’s vital to get a feel for how candidates stay connected with their team members when working remotely. Are they comfortable with asynchronous communication? Do they have any tips or tricks for keeping everyone on the same page? This question will give you insight into how proactive and adaptable candidates are for collaboration, problem-solving, and relationship-building. Plus, it can help you assess how well they might fit into your remote work culture.

Piotrek Sosnowski, Chief People & Culture Officer, Natu.Care

4. How Do You Plan to Stay Connected to Coworkers and Colleagues?

This is one question I always ask. If they’re already working remotely, this is a great opportunity for them to fill me in on the hobbies and practices that bring their current workforce together. If they’re new to remote work, I want to give them a chance to think about collaboration possibilities outside the office. One of the biggest drawbacks to work-from-home policies is the potential disconnect between employees. If managers can see that you’re skilled in bridging that gap, they’re more likely to bring you onto the team.

Debbie Winkelbauer, CEO, Surf Search

5. What Is Your Remote Work Experience with Minimizing Distractions?

When interviewing potential remote workers, it’s important to know how their experience aligns with the job requirements. A good question to ask is how they have managed distractions when working remotely. It can be an uncommon example since some people can face a lot more external disturbances at home than they would in a typical office environment. Understanding the candidate’s ability to stay focused and manage their environment effectively helps employers make better decisions when onboarding new talent.

Grace He, People & Culture Director, Team Building

6. Can You Share Your Time Management Strategies?

This question will help you understand the candidate’s organizational and time management strategies, both of which are crucial for success in a remote work environment. This question also gives you the chance to ask which digital collaboration tools the candidate is familiar with, such as Slack, Zoom, and Trello.

Samuel Johns, CPRW & Career Counselor, Resume Genius

7. How Will You Stay Focused on Your Tasks?

We all know that when we work from home, we have more freedom to do whatever we like. There is no one from the office to watch us. But this should not mean that employees let their productivity decrease. Since distractions are a fact of life, no one can escape them. So, ask the candidate how he will deal with distractions and stay focused while working remotely. Maybe he has a home near a busy street, shares his room with a noisy roommate, and lives with a joint family and kids. The answer to the question will give an insight into the candidate’s attitude towards work. You can find out whether they are hardworking, and easily understand whether they can handle distractions as a remote employee or not.

Saikat Ghosh, Associate Director of HR & Business, Technource

8. How Comfortable Are You with Independent Work?

How do you handle working autonomously, especially in a remote work setting? While remote work allows for greater independence, it can also pose challenges, such as a lack of visibility into team members’ strengths and weaknesses. Asking this question can provide insight into how comfortable the candidate is with working independently and taking ownership of their work. Additionally, their answers can reveal their ability to manage their time and prioritize tasks, as well as their willingness to collaborate and seek feedback when needed, even in a remote environment.

Kimberley Tyler-Smith, VP, Strategy & Growth, Resume Worded

9. How Do You Build Relationships in a Virtual Team?

As remote work becomes more prevalent, it’s important to hire candidates who can thrive in a virtual team environment. One critical question to ask during the interview process is how they build relationships with team members in a remote setting. Working remotely requires a unique set of skills than traditional office work, and the ability to establish strong connections with colleagues is crucial. By asking about their approach to building relationships in a remote environment, you can gauge their communication skills, emotional intelligence, and ability to collaborate effectively with others.

Lilia Koss, Community Manager, Facialteam

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