While remote work isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, COVID-19 has certainly accelerated its prevalence. As the ongoing pandemic continues to change how we live and work, jobseekers are not just applying and undergoing the interview process remotely. Increasingly, they’re applying for positions that are also wholly remote. And that process brings with it unique interview questions remote workers should prepare for.
If you’re applying for remote work and looking to crush your next job interview, be sure to prepare in advance. Because you’re applying for remote work, the standard behavioral interview questions will be pivoted accordingly. While it’s never certain what hiring managers will ask, now that remote work is becoming more the norm (and now that hiring managers have had a taste of it themselves due to lockdowns), interview questions for remote workers generally include some versions of the following.
Question 1: What is your experience with working remotely?
Naturally, you’ll be expecting questions about your prior work experience and skills, particularly as they relate to the specifics of your job. However, since you’ll be working remotely, hiring managers will want to know if you have done so before. If you have, they’ll want to hear how you coped.
For those with remote work experience, the temptation may be to highlight only the areas in which you naturally excelled. Be sure also to discuss the initial struggles and the strengths you developed over time. This shows that you’re the sort of person who’s willing to learn from mistakes and grow.
If you have never worked remotely before, don’t stress too much. But as a potential remote worker, you should still think carefully about how to answer this interview question. Simply saying you haven’t worked remotely before won’t necessarily lose you the job; however, your chances increase if you demonstrate you’ve done some research on how to flourish in a remote position. Mention a few techniques you’ve read about that you plan to implement. Leave them with the impression that you know what it takes to succeed.
Question 2: How will you keep yourself motivated?
Most remote employees work from their own homes. Anyone who’s done so for any length of time knows it can be a challenge to order your day and stay motivated when you’re off on your own, especially since your bed is right over there, simply begging you to come take a nap.
If you’ve never worked from home before, don’t let this question catch you unawares. Fortunately, especially since the onset of the pandemic, the internet is teeming with resources to help you prepare.
For example, here are a few recommended tactics from CNBC:
- Take time for yourself every day
- Find out what energizes you
- Build rewards into your daily routine
- Take stock of what you accomplish every day
- Set yourself up well physically
- Practice compassion
These are just a few of the many, many tips and tricks floating around out there. We’re not just recommending that you check them out to prepare for the interview, either. If you’re truly hoping to land a remote position, studying up on this question can help you not just secure the job but also thrive in the long run.
Question 3: Why do you think remote work is right for you?
Of all interview questions for remote workers, this one is where interviewees most often stumble. Instead of giving the sort of answers the company cares about, interviewees respond with what they themselves care about. That is, they talk about the circumstances in their own lives that are pushing them toward remote work.
These may include:
- lack of transportation
- need to be at home to care for children or a family member
- lack of local job opportunities
But this isn’t what hiring managers care about. Though they are not unsympathetic to your personal life situations, they are not interested in giving you the job because of your own needs. What they want to know is not if the job is right for you but if you’re right for the job.
Keeping this in mind as you answer will put you in a much better position.
Be sure to mention some of the following points:
- personality traits that enhance your ability to flourish remotely
- skills you can leverage for successful remote work
- past experiences that factor into your ability to self-direct and self-motivate
Question 4: How will you prioritize your tasks?
Knowing how to do the work and actually getting it done are two different matters. The latter often hinges on organization and prioritization. Hiring managers know that no matter how knowledgeable and skilled you are in your chosen field, if you’re unable to prioritize your work, you’ll likely accomplish very little.
Again, preparing for this sort of interview question for remote workers isn’t just about acing the interview. It’s about preparing for the actual job. Whether you depend on the old-school Ivy Lee Method or rely on an app to keep you on track, be sure to have a plan in place, put it into practice, and articulate it well when asked.
Question 5: What’s your plan for handling distractions?
If you’re working remotely, you’re not only working within the gravitational pull of your couch and your TV; you’re likely doing the bulk of your work online, where social media sites may beckon. Unless you live alone, you’ll also have housemates and/or family members to deal with.
When hiring managers ask how you’ll deal with distractions, they’re seeking a sense that you’ve thought through this issue and have come up with a reasonable sort of plan by which you will keep yourself on track throughout the workday.
To prepare for this question:
- Be ready to name the likely distractions you’ll face.
- Make a plan to handle them.
- Practice explaining that plan along with reasons why you think it will work.
Remember, what hiring managers are looking for here is not someone with absolutely no distractions in their life. Let’s face it: those people don’t exist. Instead, they’re looking for evidence that you’ve considered this issue and thought through a reasonable game plan.
The same holds true with the other interview questions on this list. Often, hiring managers are looking less for one precise answer and more for evidence that you’ve truly considered what it will take to work remotely and have established a plan to thrive.
Looking for remote work that matches your experience and skill set? Visit Lensa’s job search, upload your resume, and start applying for jobs today.