With the rise of remote work, companies will be hiring for remote positions more frequently and the interview process for a remote worker looks a bit different than that of an in-office employee. You'll interact with them like any other candidate, but you might not get the chance to shake their hands during the interview process. More than half of on-site workers and 42% of remote workers all wanting to work remotely more in the next five years. With remote work growing, it's important to know what to ask in an interview for a remote candidate.

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Remote workers need to be self-starters, great with time management, and clear communicators. Each of these areas are often the most challenging aspects of remote work, so it's essential to gauge their level of comfort with these in the interview. These remote work interview questions will help you evaluate and identify the best candidate for your team, so keep reading!

1. Do you have prior experience working remotely?

This question gets down to brass tacks - their experience with working remotely. It'll help you determine if they've ever worked remotely before or if this will be a new opportunity for them. It's up to you to decide if you'd want someone with experience or brand new to the opportunity. A candidate without a remote working experience shouldn't automatically be a no.

If they haven't had experiences before this, you can see where their pain points are and help them find solutions. Even if someone hasn't had the best experience with remote work in the past, they can still be ready to take on the role with ideas in mind on how to succeed.

2. Tell me about a time when you've had to respond to a problem from a communication failure.

Communication is essential for teams to succeed with remote workers. Hearing about a failure shows the steps they took to fix something when it went wrong. Miscommunication happens, so hiring an employee who can fix it when it occurs is essential.

A good answer will explain the situation and how they recovered with actionable processes to improve communication. With actionable points are given, you can gauge whether they've learned and implemented those fixes.

3. How do you motivate yourself to work?

Without team members around you, working when you're remote can be a challenge. Especially when you work at home, it can be difficult to separate that area from leisure and instead focus on working. This motivation can come from a list of some great motivational quotes or creating a productive home office. A great remote worker can get themselves on top of their projects no matter the location.

This question will provide specific tactics they use to get themselves working. You'll want to hear actual methods and an explanation of why this helps them get in the right mindset. If they can provide a couple of detailed strategies, they're an ideal candidate to work remotely.

4. What do you bring to the table that would help you excel as a remote worker?

This open-ended question puts the ball in their court. They'll have to provide specific reasons as to why they believe they'd do well as a remote worker. Their answers will let you tell if they've already thought about how they'd be successful, without relating their answers specifically to the subject of the question.

You can listen to reasons that you might not have thought of before, as well as seeing if their points make sense. If they can't give a detailed list of what would make them successful, they should go back to the drawing board on why they want to work remotely.

5. What gets you up in the morning?

This question takes us back to the area of motivation. It's less work-related and provides insight into the things that make them tick. It can bring up interests that they have, activities they like to do, and experiences that have made them who they are today. Their answer can be a good point to bond over common interests or experiences, and provide more insight into them as a person.

You'll want to see that this person's actively thought about what drives them to succeed and hear tangible reasons for motivation.

6. How do you best prefer to communicate with team members?

This question provides a clear answer to assess if a candidate has good communication skills. It also shows the different ways in which they prefer to communicate. Some prefer Slack and instant-messaging tools over video conferencing. Others would rather hop on frequent Zoom calls for face-to-face communication.

Whatever answer they provide, they should give a list of tools that they use for communication and how frequently they like to communicate. You'll want them to focus on effective communication and be provide multiple steps to ensure that nothing gets lost in communication.

7. What do you think will be your biggest challenge as a remote worker?

This directly addresses what they think they'll have trouble with. Every new job has aspects that a candidate isn't completely comfortable with. This helps you and them find points that will be challenging and come up with ways to fix it before it starts.

Look for an answer in which they provide a problem as well as a solution to it. It's easy to think of things that will be difficult, but a great candidate will know exactly how they'll overcome struggles. You two can then discuss what solutions the company or team provides to fix it, or past examples of candidates overcoming that problem.

8. What tools have you used in the past to work effectively while remote?

Every remote worker has some tools in their toolkit that helps them succeed. From video conferencing tools like Zoom and the Meeting Owl to messaging platforms like Slack, there are dozens of things out there that help remote workers do their best.

They should provide a list of what they've used in the past to be successful, and how each of them will contribute to remote success. You can see their technical aptitude through their answers, as well as experience with each tool.

9. What would be the title of your autobiography?

Although this question can be asked for remote and in-office workers, it's still a fun way to get to know the prospective employee. It allows them to be creative, humorous, and give background into their own lives.

This might throw them off, so taking some time to come up with an answer is ok. Creative answers are common, so asking follow up questions can give more insight into their title choice.

10. What activities do you do that help you maintain a work-life balance?

Work-life balance can be more important to remote workers than those in-office. When your home and office are located in the same place, it can be stressful and hard to separate the two. Their answers can show how they maintain this balance and if they're prepared to work remotely. Those who have this balance figured out are less likely to get burnt out with their work and be able to work effectively when they need to.

Those that have detailed and well-thought-out answers will be able to handle the challenges that remote work brings. You'll also see what they like to do that keeps them focused on work and their personal lives.

11. What's your experience in working with distributed teams across time-zones?

Many remote workers work this way to be able to live in reasonably priced areas and work at companies in more expensive urban areas. With that, you can often be working on a team with members spread out across the country. Experience in working with others who are on different time schedules is a must for remote workers.

Their answer should give background into how they solved challenges. This could be finding time to schedule meetings and communicate with others outside of normal work hours. Altering your schedule for the benefit of the team is a great point that could be brought up. Many of the tips discussed here are also great answers for a candidate to bring up.

12. What benefit of remote working do you value the most?

Everyone has different reasons for wanting to work remotely. Some are more productive working in their own space, while others enjoy the cost savings from a lack of commute or renting in an expensive area. This question gives you a view of what's most important to them and why they enjoy remote work.

No answer here is better than another, but you'll want them to discuss in further detail the answer they chose. If they said that saving time from a commute was most important to them, look for them to explain what they do with that extra time instead. If they put it into another hobby or caring for their family, they're a better candidate than someone who wants to use that time to catch up on sleep.

13. What about this job/company are you most excited about?

Here's where you can divide candidates into those that care about salary, perks, or a title and those that are invested in improving your company. Candidates that are passionate about what your company is doing or aspects of their role are a great fit. They're invested in their jobs and will be a great cultural addition to your organization.

Candidates should be able to provide specific areas of the job that excites them. Those that seem genuinely excited and can go into detail about their interests are great hires for your organization.

14. Do you have any values that align with the company values?

Their answer here can show whether they've done their homework on your company. Great candidates want to work at companies that value similar things that they do. If they know what values you exemplify, they've most likely taken the time to research and understand how the company is a good fit for them.

They should be able to know what your companies main values are, and explain how their values align as well. Have them provide examples of how they live their values to see if they're genuine responses.

15. What are your goals a month from now, three months from now, and a year from now?

This question puts into perspective the candidate's interest in working. You can see if they're motivated to build for the long term and can plan for a long term goal. This will also give you an idea of what they're looking to get out of their career. You can then talk about steps they would need to take along the way to achieve those goals. If they're able to confidently answer and provide concrete goals, they have a good long term vision that aligns with the companies success.

With these questions in mind, you'll get to know your remote candidates better than ever before. Next up, the top tips to avoid loneliness when working from home.

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