Interviewers have a huge choice when it comes to the types of job interview questions they can ask. They can opt for a nuts-and-bolts interview which focuses solely on the candidate’s qualifications. Or they can choose to ask those strange interview questions that are designed to reveal the inner workings of a job seeker’s mind—but really just wind up confusing everyone.
The questions below represent the best and worst of remote interview questions. Although you can use any combination of queries in order to achieve the outcome that you want, these are the ones to use—and the ones to avoid.
The Best Remote Interview Questions
“Are you able to self-manage?”
Some workers come into the office motivated and ready to work. Others need the fear of a boss busting into their office to keep them on task—and not texting. Finding out ahead of time if someone is good at meeting their deadlines (without ever having met their manager) is a good indicator that they’ll be able to work well from a home office.
“Why do you want to work remotely?”
Some people get their best work done at 2:00 AM, which is not during the traditional office hours most people work. For them, a remote job is best. Or someone else might need the flexibility that can come with working from home. While you don’t have to know the ins and outs of why they specifically want a remote job, it can give you some insight into what the person is looking to gain by not having a traditional office job.
“What would you say is your communication style?”
In order for a remote team to function effectively, remote workers have to proactively communicate about, well, everything. From concerns to clarifications, remote workers have to speak up (and often!) if they’re going to be successful. The last thing you want to do is hire someone who remains mum when there’s a problem—or goes radio silent when you need to find out some information.
“Why do you want to work for our company?”
When screening job candidates for potential hire, this question should be at the top of your list. After all, knowing why a candidate chose to submit their application to work for your company can tell you a lot about how they’ll be as a worker. For example, if they cite your company culture as a motivating factor for wanting to work for you, or if they are well-versed in your company’s history and know how to take your business to the next level, these are the types of applicants who are already invested in your company—without even having the job yet.
The Worst Remote Interview Questions
“Where do you see yourself in five to 10 years from now?”
Does anyone really know where they’ll be in five years—or even a year from now? Most likely, the life you planned might look quite different from the one you’re living at this exact moment. So you can’t really expect a job seeker (who’s currently applying to various positions) to know where they’ll be, either.
“What does your home office look like?”
The goal of this question is innocuous enough. You’re trying to determine if the person already has a home office set up (and that it’s functioning) so that they can work well. But in the age of digital nomads, you might find that your next best hire is going to traverse the globe in search of adventure, all the while working for you, too! So unless your job has a location requirement, or if you need your worker to always be available during set hours and be in a quiet place, you shouldn’t worry too much about where they work—as long as the work gets done.
“What’s your greatest weakness?”
Although some employers use this question as a way to suss out how self-aware people are about their strengths and weaknesses, many times it puts job candidates on the defensive. Think about it—what job seeker is going to want to admit any failures they’ve had to someone they’re trying to win over? To get the answer that you want—and avoid the ugly awkwardness that this question can create—ask the applicant instead to cite a time when something went wrong, and how they fixed it. This answer gives you what you’re looking for in terms of a weakness, but also highlights the person’s strength to show how they turned a wrong into a right.
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