Here are questions that can help you evaluate and interview workers for remote jobs. We have used these questions to source and hire talent and we have seen firsthand how these questions help firms better understand the capabilities and skills of remote workers.
We have broken this article down into different sections based on the types of skills a remote worker needs to excel.
Cultural Fit Questions
- Have you worked in a remote job before? If so, what was the experience like?
- What did you like the most about your last job?
- What did you like the least about your last job?
- How would your previous manager or colleagues describe your work?
- Why do you want to work remotely?
Problem Solving Questions
- What was the most challenging aspect of your past job?
- How did you solve that problem?
- What is an interesting and challenging problem you have faced professionally?
- How did you address this problem?
- What was the last commonplace work from home item you put together with your own two hands and found challenging – such as a desk shelf, office desk chair, or laptop stand – and explain how the process went. What went well and what was confusing? Most importantly, how would you improve the product experience to help future users?
Role Fit Questions
- Why do you want to do Job X?
- What is it about Job X that you find compelling or important?
- How have you demonstrated skill X before, which is important in this job?
- What do you believe makes someone successful at Job X?
- What do you believe is most important for a person in Job X to do well and be mindful of?
Remote Specific Questions
- Where will you be based?
- Do you live there or are you mobile?
- What timezone are you available in?
- Have you worked remotely from this location before?
- How often do you expect to meet with peers or management in person, if ever?
Creativity Testing Questions
- What is something that you believe to be true that others do not?
- What are your passions outside of work?
- What are the challenges that you believe this company faces and why?
- How will you solve this challenge when you arrive?
- What challenges do you think firms in this market face?
Remote Work Leadership Questions
- Tell me about a time you disagreed with the leader of your team. How did you manage this and what did you do?
- When have you acted as a leader? What were the results?
- How do you ensure that different perspectives are heard in virtual meetings?
- How do you ensure that all stakeholders understand your plans when you do not see these people often, if ever?
- Describe your favorite somewhat esoteric technology product – such as a mini projector, curved computer monitor, or gigabit router – and explain how it works and how you would improve it?
This last question in particular measures critical thinking, comfortability with technology, and leadership. A strong answer demonstrates how a candidate uses technology, how they think critically about ways to improve products, and how they can summarize their findings for you.
The goal of these questions is to help you probe the skills, fit, and aptitude of a remote worker. Remote workers are similar to in-office staff but need stronger independence and autonomous decision making skills because they will not be as tightly managed.
Remote staff need to act like owners. They think long term and don’t sacrifice long-term value for short-term results. They act on behalf of the entire company even with limited managerial oversight.
Less effective remote workers lack high standards – and these questions can help you tease out those nuances. Strong remote staff continually raise the bar and think independently.
These questions naturally lead themselves to starting a conversation, not ending one. So listen carefully, take notes by hand or with a pen mouse, and lean in to absorb what is being articulated to you.
By using these questions to learn more about potential hires and how they will fit with the needs of your culture and your business you can feel more confident that the person you bring on will add value from day one.