5 Remote Work Specific Questions Plus Some Ideas on How to Answer
Working from home isn’t a pajama party. (Okay, so if you decide to dress for “party on the bottom and work on the top,” we won’t tell anyone–just don’t stand up during a Zoom meeting!) But thanks to the recent pandemic, many people have found they like working from home better, and employers are offering more remote positions to meet that demand!
There are some different concerns for employers when it comes to remote gigs (or even hybrid ones). They won’t be seeing you in the office five days a week and need to know that you won’t just be goofing off all day on the company tab. That, plus some of the technology aspects of working remotely can lead to questions that you wouldn’t normally get in a more traditional job interview.
To help you be prepared, here are some questions you might expect, and some ideas on how to answer those questions.
1 | Experience Isn’t a Dealbreaker
We are only talking about the experience of working remote. It would be a bad idea to apply for a job that is irrelevant to your own experience! And while not working remotely previously isn’t a dealbreaker, they are trying to gauge your comfort level with working remotely. If you have had experience working remotely, be sure to also include some of the challenges you faced and how you overcame them. If you haven’t worked remotely before, talk about any comparable experience you might have, such as organizing an online fundraiser. It shows that you can still do things that are completely online.
2 | Software Know-How
Remote work relies heavily on collaborative tools and software, such as Zoom, Slack, Trello, and Google Docs. You’ll likely be asked what types of remote or distributed team tools and software you have used and how you’ve used them. But beyond listing out the technologies you are familiar with, be prepared to speak on the practices that make remote work effective. And remember that it’s okay to not have experience with every single platform. Just be sure to mention how quickly you have learned new tools in the past.
3 | Great Communication is Key
This saying is an oldie but a goodie, and especially relevant when it comes to remote work. Hiring managers will want to know your approach to effective communication and collaboration, especially when you can’t just pop by a coworkers desk to discuss something. Some answers to think about include what you would do if you needed info but your go-to people are offline, how you collaborate with those in different time zones and how you would manage a conflict if one were to arise.
4 | Time Check!
Working remotely can pose some different distractions. Rather than the lure of chatting around the water cooler, you’ll face distractions such as family, pets or that retired next door neighbor who likes to bug you when you move your office to your back patio. Because you’ll have a lot of independence in how you organize your day, a company will want to see that you can manage your time wisely, juggle different tasks while staying organized and meet your responsibilities. Talk about your strategies for prioritizing your duties and tools you use to help keep you on-task. Maybe you use a specific app or have a color coding system. Whatever it is, you want to make sure that you are assuring an employer that you are up for the task of keeping up with your workload in a remote setting.
5 | Ability to Adapt
While being able to adapt to change isn’t remote work specific, being able to do this remotely can be a bigger challenge. In fact, being flexible and able to easily adapt is a huge part of working remotely or as part of a distributed team. It can be challenging to coordinate schedules and you don’t have the luxury of being only a few steps away from co-workers to quickly deal with a change together. This doesn’t mean you can’t support one another, but it does mean it will take more initiative to be able to adapt to changes. Give examples of how you adapted to change in previous positions, whether that job was remote or not. And be sure to bring up how your great communication skills can help your team meet those changing needs more promptly.
Office culture is still a thing, even if you aren’t physically in the office. How your values and personality fit in can play a big part in your success and even how much you end up loving your job. So before you even apply, find out if you are the right fit for a company’s culture by taking the Workzinga personality test! Our proprietary algorithm combines soft skills and personality insights, matching them against the personality results of companies. Our goal is to make the job search process more positive for everyone, and you’ll be more confident that this job will be one you’ll love!