When your office is entirely remote, it’s crucial to know that your future employers and employees have a great ability to perform and communicate effectively. But how do you ask questions that get at the heart of their soft skills and remote working style? We’ve made a list of remote job interview questions and answers for both parties to ask during their interviews.
Questions to Ask Remote Employers
How does your company ensure that all remote employees maintain boundaries between work and life?
- So many of us have been through several years of turmoil. One positive thing we can all agree on is that life is precious and should be respected. We should feel empowered to take time off if we need it. Asking how the company makes sure that employees are taking adequate time off will give you a better sense of their remote work expectations. But if you get the vibe that the hiring manager is pretty demanding of your time or lacks boundaries themselves, that’s a red flag for you.
How do you give remote work feedback?
- With all the things that can get lost in translation, feedback is often one of them. Knowing that your manager will take the time to give you adequate feedback regularly and in a style that you appreciate (writing it down, making it constructive, etc.) are great signs that your potential manager is invested in your development. Even better? Ask them how often they show appreciation. Bonus points for them if they touch on this subject without being asked. You know that a thank-you and proper credit for work go a long way to keeping you around. Make sure they’re the kind of company that communicates in that style (AKA, appreciates all you do).
What are your communication expectations? How do team members communicate with one another?
- The answers to these questions will tell you whether you have micro-managers on your hands or reasonable coworkers who know that you don’t need to be chained to your computer to get the job done. Plus, you’ll get to know which software you’re expected to use on the daily. If you prefer emails and Slack is the only method the company uses, you’ll be able to take that into consideration while making your employment decision. The same goes for video communication—how often is everyone in Zoom meetings? This will help you know how much time is left for real work outside of that busy meeting schedule.
How do teams collaborate to finish projects? What software do they use?
- This question definitely needs to come up, whether you ask it or they provide the answer ahead of time. It’ll give you a sense of how organized the company is—and what, in turn, might burn out their employees if they’re not. Be sure that you’re familiar with the software they use going into the interview. That way, even if you’ve never worked on the platform, you know what it does and how quickly you’ll be able to acclimate. Sketch and Figma, for example, may take a bit of time to learn. You’ll want to get to know their project management software, too.
Questions to Ask Remote CandidatesDescribe your experience working remotely. How has it challenged you? What do you love about it?
- Both recognizing challenges and being able to iron them out are extra helpful, especially for leadership positions in your company. The candidate should be able to manage themselves and a team with a core set of organizational and communication skills. Ask them how they do it when it gets tough! There’s the flip side to enjoying this kind of working style, too—some people genuinely do not like it. Make sure the candidate can articulate what they love about it, whether they love the freedom, the ability to create more balance in their lives, and more. This is a sign that the candidate will be able to take time for their own self-care and not burn out quite as easily.
- These questions get at both the soft and hard skills of remote work. First, you’ll get examples that show that the interviewee is proactive but not distracting, responsible but not micro-managing others, and able to work independently while not missing deadlines. The second part of the question gets at the person’s comfort level with specific software. If they can name the apps they’ve worked with successfully in the past or hint at how long it takes them to learn new software, it shows they already have insight into your company’s day-to-day. They’ll probably fit in pretty seamlessly!
- With endless Slacks and confusing Zoom meetings, this is bound to have happened to everyone with remote work experience. Getting to know how calm the candidate can stay under the pressure of a deadline while being able to communicate effectively to meet those deadlines is a huge plus. However, if they’re easily thrown back emotionally into the conflict or are displaying signs of distress over the situation, it might be a signal that they need to work on this area of expertise.
At Artisan, we have a handful more questions we ask candidates when we’re hiring, too. Making sure our contractors and coworkers are all remote-certified helps everyone stay on the same page in terms of workplace expectations and cross-functional communication. Feel free to use our framework to help you prepare for your interviews!
These are some of the questions we should all be asking in remote work interviews. Hopefully, they will help employers be less afraid of hiring remote workers and employees will feel great about landing a full-time remote work gig.
If you’re looking for work, we can help!