Working remotely has become almost a norm in many industries during the pandemic. Without a doubt, remote work has both advantages and disadvantages–for both employers and employees, but with the lockdowns in place and other protective measures, many corporations have no other option to letting their employees work from home, and hire new remote workers. In this article we will look at 13 questions specific for interviews for remote jobs, and how you should answer them.

Do not forget that working remotely you still apply for a particular position (in finance, HR, IT, accounting, desktop support, whatever), and you should check also interview questions for the specific job you try to get with the company. Let’s move to the questions.

 

Why do you want to work remotely?

The most important thing is ensuring them that you aren’t forced to work from home. Sure enough, with pandemic and all the measures the governments have been implementing all around the world (to protect their citizens, or at least that’s what they claim), it is in a way easier to work remotely.

Still, you should show a desire, and not a must while answering this one. Maybe you have a family, and working remotely will allow you to spend more quality time together. Or you live in a busy metropolis without a subway, and normally you spend two hours a day commuting to work. Calling your living room your office, you can devote the two extra hours each day to reading, relaxing, exercising, playing with your kids, or to any other activity which makes sense to you.

Find something positive, and name it as a primary reason for your choice.

 

How do you imagine a typical day in your home office?

They want to here that you will approach it as if you were actually staying in a real office. What does it mean? First and foremost, you will try to have some routine. You won’t wake up at 8 one day and at 10 the next one, depending how you feel, and what you did the previous night–if you wake up at all…

Secondly, you won’t work in your pajamas. It doesn’t mean that you will spend thirty minutes in front of a mirror each morning, applying makeup and making sure of having a perfect haircut. Nor does it mean that you have to wear a tie or high heel shoes back at home. But you will put on something different, not the clothes you typically wear while you are relaxing after work, or cooking a dinner in the evening.

Of course, you should talk also about work–and this depends on the job you try to get with them. You may prepare various analyses all day long, answer phone calls from customers, receive and categorize invoices, or write some content. Check the job description and name some duties. If applicable, you should mention online calls with your superiors and colleagues.

 

What would motivate you to work hard if there’s no social pressure?

You have a few options with this question. One is focusing on clear and tangible goals. Sure enough, you’ll work from home, but you will still have a list of tasks you will have to handle each day. Perhaps a number of emails you have to write, calls to respond, invoices to process, and so on.  If you were hanging around in your pajamas drinking coffee half a day, you simply wouldn’t meet your targets.

Second thing is distant supervision. The manager may not be there, looking over your shoulder, checking whether you are really working, or are playing some games or chatting with someone on a dating site… But nowadays it is easy to install some “watchdog”, a software application that tracks what you do on your computer, what applications you work with, and what websites you check, and you are sure that they will have such a control mechanism in place. What is more, you are okay with being “watched”, because you plan to work and not play games.

Third option is trying to convince them that you just love your job, have an incredible passion for this type of work, and you cannot wait to get your hands on the task. Needless to say, they may not believe you, but it really depends on the enthusiasm you show in an interview, and the type of the job you try to get with them.

It is important to get feedback from our colleagues. How do you want to progress in your work without getting feedback?

Do not get caught in a trap with this question. Tell them that you want to get feedback, and are ready to offer your feedback, with the help of modern communication technologies.

Without a doubt having an online call with someone is not the same as having a face to face meeting. But people can still tell you what they think about this or that analysis you prepared, or about this or that decision you made… Say that you will make it one of your top priorities to have regular calls with your colleagues and get their feedback, and also want to offer your feedback on their work, if they will be interested of course…

 

There are many distractions at home–TV, fridge, notifications on your desktop, maybe kids playing in the next room. How do you want to stay productive despite these distractions?

You have two options again. First one is saying that you plan to limit all distractions as much as possible within your new work setting. You will turn off the notifications, set clear rules in terms of food breaks and cigarette breaks (if you happen to smoke), and basically do everything to focus on the screen of your computer, during the hours you are paid for.

Second option is turning it upside down. You can say that one faces distractions and temptations in any workplace. Sure enough, kids do not play in a corporate office. But there’s a good looking colleague sitting just a few desks away, attracting your eyes. A laid back colleague calls you for a coffee break every two hours, and mobile phones (or landlines) ring from every corner of the workplace.

You’ve managed to eliminate the distractions back at work, and see no reason why you’d not limit them while working from home. What is more, you will have your weekly and monthly goals, and if something distracts you all the time, you just won’t meet them.

 

Other questions you may face in your remote job interview

  • Our clients are based mostly in US, while you are placed in Asia. How do you feel about working at night, in order to respond to their requests in real time?
  • What do you like the most and the least about working remotely?
  • Tell us about a time when you had to make a decision on your own, without having anyone to consult?
  • When you worked on multiple projects, how did you prioritize?
  • What is your favorite way of online communication?
  • What gets you up in the morning?
  • After everything we’ve discussed, do you have any questions about this remote job?

* You can also download the list of questions in a simple, one page long PDF, to practice your interview answers anytime later:

remote work interview questions, PDF

Final thoughts, next steps

You will typically face a couple of specific questions in your remote job interview. Questions about your ability to limit distractions, work independently, solve problems without supervision, and motivate yourself to actually work, when you can do much better things back at home, or simply do nothing.

At the end of the day, however, they will ask you also other questions, questions specific to the type of work you will do, the exact job you try to get with them. Head to our section of interview questions by job title, pick your job field and job title, and prepare for the questions you will face. I hope you will manage to succeed, and wish you best of luck!

Matthew

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Matthew Chulaw
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