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How to Ace the Interview for a Remote Job

Interviews for remote jobs are different. Here are 10 questions and answers to prepare for your next remote job interview.
How to Ace the Interview for a Remote Job

Working remotely means working at a location that isn't with colleagues. Even remote-first companies want to know if you are a fit for their remote work culture. So, you will get asked different questions in an interview for a remote job. Here is what you need to know to prepare for your next interview for a remote job.

Interviewing for Remote Jobs Really is Different

To prepare for your next interview for a remote job, it is important to first remember the purpose of the interview. Job interviews are simply opportunities for you and the employer to determine if this is a fit. You will get asked a lot of questions during this process and you should also be prepared with questions to ask the person interviewing you. This is the only way to determine if there is a match.

The skills needed for a remote job are different. That means that the interview for a remote job will include different questions to better understand your skills and fit for the remote position. This interview will still include some of the standard questions, but they will be focused on how those answers fit into the remote nature of the particular position. The additional questions that you will get asked in a remote job interview will also be designed to assess your potential fit for the remote position. Below are 10 questions and tips on how to answer those additional questions that are intended to assess your fit for remote roles.

10 Questions to Prepare for in Your Remote Job Interview

#1 - How do You Schedule Your Day?

Remote jobs can often include people or teams that are dispersed across all different time zones. That can mean that the company needs someone who can work across those time zones as a team member. So, you can get asked this question to understand how adaptive you are to the situation and what you need to stay focused in the role.

Answer this interview question honestly. Think about your answer in terms of process and motivations. If you are someone that needs or wants a set schedule, then talk about that in your answer. However, if you are someone that likes change then make sure that you talk about the interest in working with a variety of people and priorities. And, make sure that you however you frame this answer that is relevant to the position that you are talking about in this interview for the remote role.

#2 - How Do You Use Different Communication Tools in Different Situations?

Working remotely means that you will have to communicate with team members, clients, and leadership using technology. Hiring managers may ask this job interview question to understand how you adapt to different situations using different technologies.

In this answer, talk about how different situations require different strategies and methods to effectively communicate with people in a remote job. Not all conversations should be put on Slack and not all conversations need to be held privately. Show that you know this by providing examples in your answer to this interview question about how you have previously used different tactics to convey different information based on the particular situation.  

#3 - Have You Worked Remotely Before?

More people than ever have worked remotely after the COVID-19 pandemic. So, having this experience isn't as unique as it used to be. The employer will still ask this question to understand when and how you worked remotely. The interviewer will also want to know how you adapted and whether you were able to find satisfaction with the job when not being physically next to your colleagues/clients.

If you haven't worked remotely, make sure that you answer this question with details about your ability to do so and why you want to work remotely now. This answer can also include specific details about this particular remote job that you are interviewing for and why you want to work remotely for this company.

#4 - Why Do You Want to Work from Home?

The question may feel strange post-pandemic, but it is important to articulate why you want to keep working remotely. The employer asking this question isn't looking for details about your kids or personal life. Instead, they want to know why you want this job and if you are ok with continuing to work remotely. Some people thrive when they are around others and other candidates do better when they have the ability to work remotely. Whatever your reason, make sure that you answer this clearly and connect it to the specific job - not just that you want to work from home.

#5 - What Do You Need to Keep Organized?

Working remotely means that your future boss and colleagues won't see you every day. So, asking what you need or how you stay organized when working remotely in an interview is to better understand how you could fit their remote work culture.

Answer this question with a few statements about your personal process generally. Talk about how you prioritize your work and find information when working remotely. And, make sure that you talk about how you use technology to stay on top of things at work. But, don't forget that every company has different processes and systems. So, make sure that you are relating your statements back to the particular remote job that you are interviewing for to keep your answer relevant.

#6 - How Do You Prepare for Video Meetings if You are Leading? How is that Different if You are an Attendee?

Most employers aren't looking for someone that just checks in and checks out of a video meeting. Remote jobs require people to be engaged in the meeting regardless of whether they are on video, phone, or otherwise. So, the interviewer is trying to understand how you get ready for meetings that aren't in person.

The best way to answer this interview question is to talk about your process as both a leader and attendee. A few items to think about in building your answer:

  • Length. Most people can't stay focused for more than 2 hours and those meetings that are 30 minutes to 1 hour are typically more effective. Include a discussion about how long is too long or too short and how you came to that answer when talking about your role as a leader and attendee.
  • Focus. Are you someone that puts together and shares an agenda before meetings? If attending, do you actually read the agenda before the meeting? Make sure to talk about what you do and why that matters to you when attending or leading a video meeting at work in your answer to this interview question.
  • Communications. Unless you are attending a lecture, there will be an expectation for people to communicate and collaborate in the video meeting. So, in your answer to this interview question, cover how people communicate before, during, and after the video meeting.
  • Accountability. Most meetings at work are intended to get things done. So, talk about how you hold people accountable as a leader of the video meeting or how you make sure there is clarity in the expectations as an attendee.

#7 - How Do You Use Technology at Work and in Your Free Time?

Employers may also ask about your use of technology outside of work in a job interview for a remote position. This question is trying to understand how you feel about technology and how you adapt to change.

For this answer, include details about how you use technology on a daily basis at your job. Remember that every company uses a different technology and that you will have to learn new systems or ways to use a system if given this job. So, don't talk about being an expert for your current team on a particular system. Instead, focus this answer on how technology is a tool to get the job done and how you adapt to different systems in your current role.

And, don't forget to answer the other part of this question - how you use technology outside of work. Be honest in your answer and talk about what types of gadgets you use or choose not to use when working. It's ok to purposefully unplug when not working, so long as you can and do get your job done.

#8 - How Do You Connect with People if You Won't Meet them in Person?

The COVID-19 pandemic may have made it more acceptable for employers to have a wider range of remote or hybrid jobs, but some people still struggle with not being around other people. So, the interviewer may ask this question to understand how you deal with the remote nature of the role and what you need to feel engaged with the company/work.

Answer this question about connecting with colleagues/clients remotely by focusing on how you can or have used technology to create additional opportunities to connect with people. You can talk about using Slack or other chat functions to ensure that you can ask quick questions. Or, include examples of when you have scheduled additional video meetings to get to know a colleague or customer in the past. Whatever you have done or can do, make sure to include something in your answer to this job interview question about how you would create these connections if given this particular job.

#9 - Tell Me How You Get things Done on a Team Made up of Dispersed People.

Working remotely means that you will be working with colleagues, vendors, and customers that are all across the US or the world. This type of teamwork takes a different approach to make sure that everyone is engaged in the process and that they stay on track with the goals. Employers hiring for remote roles will ask this interview question to understand how you have handled such situations in the past and if you are ok in navigating this environment.

In your answer to this interview question, make sure that you are clear about your prior experience working with people that are located in multiple locations. This can also include a specific example of how you have managed or supported such teams in the past. You can also incorporate some details about using technology to create connections between the team members or turned around a project that was otherwise off track. If you haven't worked in this environment previously, think about using examples of working with people at different company locations or how you can use technology to unify people with the objectives of the team.

#10 - How Do You Manage Work-Life Balance?

The line between work and everything else can easily blur if you are working remotely. Employers will ask this question in an interview for a remote job because they want to make sure that you aren't going to burn out. They won't be sitting next to you or down the hall when you work remotely, so asking this question is how the hiring manager can understand what you need.

Answer this interview question honestly and provide examples of how you balance things. Focus on tactics that you use to make sure that you get the work done and that you are available for colleagues and clients. But, include some details about how you create boundaries. You don't need to get too deep in the details about your personal life here, but talk about how you balance work-life demands and be confident in your answer. No one is perfect and the person interviewing you doesn't expect that you have it all figured out. But, be clear about your motivations and strategies to be successful while working remotely, and remember to include details about why you want to do that for THIS company if given THIS job.

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