When it comes to hiring for your latest open role, the interview process is one of the most effective ways to figure out if a candidate might be a good fit for your company.
Not only is it a great way to learn more about a potential hires’ skillset, background, and personality, the interview is a chance for you to make a great impression on them.
Given top talent has many options on where they choose to work, it’s important to create an interview that is both engaging and informative.
If you’re a remote first company, asking the right questions during an interview is crucial to find your next star hire.
While many of the standard job interview questions are applicable for remote work roles, there are a few you definitely don’t want to forget to ask that apply specifically to remote work.
We’ve put together a list of 13 must ask questions for your next remote hire.
While we don’t recommend simply reading this list during your next round of interviews, try and incorporate a few of these questions during your next round of interviews.
Question 1: Can you tell us about your previous remote experience?
While it’s not always necessary for them to have previous remote work experience for them to perform at a high level, experience working on a remote team is often a big plus.
Effective remote working requires a significantly different mindset and approach than a traditional 9-5 office job from how you communicate to how you disconnect from work.
Of course, even if they have experience working remotely, it’s important to set the right expectations and provide through onboarding.
This question can also help you determine their potential for growth as they move up throughout the company so you can plan accordingly. If they have shown a track record of advancing roles or c
Question 2: What tools have you used in the past for communication and project management?
Understanding which tools and software they have used in their previous positions is a great way to see if there is any overlap between your team’s current tech stack.
If they are already familiar and able to use Slack, Asana, or Trello, for example, that can help save time during onboarding and get them up to speed quicker.
You can also use this question as an opportunity to further explore various scenarios to better understand how they work.
Try asking, “In what situations do you find email to be the most ineffective way to communicate?” or “Since you’ve used Trello for the last several years, what’s one feature you would like to see them implement?”
Question 3: Where is your favorite place to work?
It goes without saying that a remote team has a little more flexibility in choosing where they work.
Does a candidate prefer working from their home office? A coworking space? A local coffee shop downtown?
If they enjoy working from a coworking space, for example, do you cover a monthly stipend? Knowing where they work best can help you give them the tools and resources they need to succeed.
Question 4: Please tell us about a time you had a conflict with a coworker and how you worked to solve it.
A revealing question to ask even for a traditional job role, you can learn a lot about how they approach disagreements and communicate when they are upset or frustrated.
Give bonus points if, during their explanation, they demonstrate initiative and proactiveness in finding a resolution.
Question 5: If you could set your own hours without restriction, when would you work?
Although your company may still require traditional working hours, understanding when a new hire works at their best can be helpful when setting responsibilities and deliverables as well as proper expectations.
If you learn that a software engineer you’re considering hiring likes to work in the evening, you can avoid scheduling important meetings in the morning to not distract from focused coding.
This question will also often provide insight into their values and responsibilities outside of work for helpful context.
Question 6: How do you disconnect after a long workday?
Do they like to meditate? Go for a long walk? Spend time with their children or partner?
In remote work, especially, disconnecting from work can be a challenge. Having an idea of how they like to disconnect and relax after a workday can be invaluable in helping ensure they don’t burn out or become overly stressed.
Additionally, this question can highlight some of their favorite hobbies and activities, which can help enhance team culture if members of the team share similar interests.
Question 7: Are you comfortable working the occasional odd hour for meetings etc?
As much as we may try to avoid it, the occasional odd hour workday happens in a remote work environment.
While ideally, this shouldn’t happen all too often, it’s important to know whether or not a new hire can accommodate different working hours if needed.
Asking this question will set the expectation of what the role might require, so there aren’t any surprises down the road.
Question 8: What are your biggest concerns about working remotely?
A great question to ask to prevent issues that can otherwise be avoided; this might be one of the most valuable questions on the list.
Understanding their biggest concerns about working remotely can help you create a personalized plan for their role and workflow.
Is their laptop on its last leg? Do they need additional accountability for certain projects or deliverables? Do they struggle with getting lonely at times?
Remote work can be challenging even for the highest of performers, and transparent communication is key.
Question 9: What is one professional area could you improve in?
While it can be helpful to know areas a new hire is looking to improve, this question can also help you see whether or not they demonstrate the ability to be proactive.
If, for example, they believe they could improve their writing skills, what have they done to address the fact?
There’s a massive difference between knowing what needs to be improved and taking the steps necessary to get there.
- “I think I could be a better writer.”
- “I know I can communicate better professionally, which is why I recently invested in an online course on how to write more effectively in a business setting. “
Who would you hire?
Question 10: What’s one thing we could invest in for you to make you happier and productive?
Could they use a new laptop? Noise canceling headphones? A monthly co-working pass?
This straightforward question can help you see ways in which you can help them become more effective and satisfied in their role.
Question 11 Why do you think you would be a good fit for our remote company culture?
Getting “culture right” is hard for any startup, not just for companies who are building distributed teams.
That said, working to find the right culture fit is crucial for long term success and team synergy.
Look for fresh and unique perspectives on how they believe they can help improve your company. Additionally, look for their perception of your company culture and how you actually operate.
While social media and online media can give a reasonable picture of your company culture, you want to make sure both you and the potential hire are on the same page.
Question 12: Are you comfortable communicating mostly through chat/email?
Although many remote teams use video conferencing tools such as Zoom to have virtual meetings, the vast majority of communication on a remote team occurs through chat and email.
Knowing how comfortable a potential hire is at communicating mostly through the written word can help ensure effective communication from day one. Setting the right expectations is key.
Over To You
While you likely already have a set of questions you ask each potential hire, improving the questions you ask can go a long way in improving your interview process.
For both your company and the potential hire, first impressions matter. Use these set of questions to help your company stand out.
What are your favorite interview questions when hiring for a remote role? Let us know in the comments below.
Need a hand finding quality software engineers for your company? Learn more about becoming a hiring partner today. It’s 100% free.