Remote Hiring

Top Interview Questions to Ask When Hiring for a Remote Position

Top Interview Questions to Ask When Hiring for a Remote Position
HireHive Team

HireHive Team


Despite proclamations made by Tesla’s Elon Musk, remote work is here to stay. Not only was it a life-saving factor during the worst of the pandemic, but we learned that employees were just as productive, if not more, while working from home. Remote employees save money by limiting food and fuel costs every day. And the EU is currently working on a structure to protect workers’ rights while not reporting to the office. 

Working from home is only one piece of the puzzle. In this brave new world of remote work, companies have to shift gears when hiring. Some interviews can be conducted remotely, moving us to a global job market. Even if someone comes into the office to interview, there will be different requirements to determine their qualifications for a job at home. Before you start your interview process for remote employees, here are the top interview questions you should be asking. 

Have You Ever Worked Remotely? 

Had you asked this question in 2019, you would have had a very different answer than today. Many people transitioned to remote work during the pandemic, and there are many reasons they may want to look for a new remote position. However, this is still a valuable question. Some people may be career changers, such as service industry and retail workers looking to move to another sector. Looking at their background will give you the answers, but sometimes it’s helpful to hear how a candidate explains it. 

Why Do You Want to Work from Home? 

Many organizations are now bringing employees back into the workplace. Some are doing it in a more antagonistic way than others, such as the recent proclamation by Elon Musk about Tesla employees. And frankly, plenty of companies will continue to work from home, so if someone is unhappy with the return to the workplace, they can leave and find another opportunity. 

But their reasons for working from home can be varied. For example, in the US, Black employees are experiencing a greater sense of belonging in remote work arrangements. They no longer bear the burden of doing all the emotional labor of trying to fit in at work. There is a 21% increase in the perception of being treated fairly. That means work from home can be a big part of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion programs. 

Have You Ever Worked with a Distributed Team? 

There are many ways people worked from home in the past, and not all of them included working with a remote team. Freelancers or independent contractors work entirely on their own. However, in a remote workplace environment, your employees will be interacting with their team, even if that is asynchronous. You want to hear about the tools they used and how they interact with others who are also remote. 

What is Your Comfort Level with Technology? 

Remote work also means working with various technologies that may not have been a part of office work. For example, many companies use VPNs to ensure that data is secure when working in remote locations. They may also provide computers and access to other software to make working from home more accessible. Your new employee should be comfortable using technology and picking up new skills. 

How Do You Like to Communicate with Your Remote Team?

Communication goes beyond just what channels you use, like Slack or video chats. You want to know how your new employee stays in touch, is comfortable communicating, and will take the initiative in reaching out to other team members. Are they okay with regular team meetings through video conferencing platforms like Zoom? Do they communicate best through email or text? There may be subtle things that can make someone a good match for your corporate culture. 

What Keeps You Focused When Working from Home? 

One of the biggest concerns for managers is productivity when working from home. We learned that productivity wasn’t a problem. A study by Standford University showed that productivity was up 13% over previous years working in the office. However, there can be distractions when working from home that your employees need to consider. They need to demonstrate how they stay focused and get the work done on time in a way that meets your standards. 

Tell Me About a Challenging Work Situation and How You Handled It

Some common behavioral interview questions can give you insight into someone’s ability to work from home. A classic is to have them talk about challenging situations and how they handled them. This will give you a picture of what they do when they run into a problem and whether their fight or flight instincts kick in or they can take a step back and determine a fair solution. 

Tell Me About a Time When You Failed and What Happened Next

Similarly, you can find out how they approach failure. We all know that failure is a normal part of the human experience, but the important part is what happens in the aftermath. How did they handle themselves after a disappointing result? What did they do to move forward? How can they avoid the same mistake in the future? 

How Do You Switch Off from Work?

Finally, a lot of the success of remote work comes from developing a solid work/life balance. It’s so easy to allow yourself to do one more thing or check emails in the evening because your computer is right there. But it’s critical to set these boundaries when work and home are the same. You want to know how someone will approach this and make sure they understand that they can have a balanced life in and out of work. 

Conclusion: Interviewing for Remote Workers

How do you determine the right technology to assist with your hiring process? And can that same platform help with all the aspects of human capital in your company? 

With more competition for top talent, it pays for companies to consider all their advantages and the use of tools to assist in the quest to find talent. HireHive helps busy people hire great people. By having your entire recruitment process all in one place, you can post jobs, streamline your online application process, improve the candidate experience, and tap into vast global networks. 

Subscribe for email updates

Arrange a product tour today and start using
recruiting software that helps you find and hire
the best candidates.

Read also

Company logo for Life Credit Union

“HireHive makes the team a lot more productive. We’d be lost without it. Team Leaders can do it all themselves if needed or jump in at the right time and know exactly where everything is and what’s happening.”

Profile of Hilary Dempsey

Hilary Dempsey Head of HR at Life Credit union

Join over 2,000 companies who streamlined their hiring process with HireHive