Businesses are beginning to reopen after months of being closed due to the COVID 19 pandemic. Many need to hire employees and local guidelines are encouraging them to allow employees to work from home whenever possible. Contrary to what people may believe, remote work isn’t all pajamas and coffee shops. Not every employee is cut out for the isolated work life and may lack the commitment and dedication it takes to be productive all day, every workday.
The interview process for hiring new employees to work remotely is no different than hiring in-office workers. But, asking remote-specific questions will help you figure out if they are the right remote employee for your team. Here are some interview questions to ask potential remote workers to make sure they are the right candidate for your business.
Have they worked remotely before?
Some candidates are attracted to the idea of working from home but don’t understand its reality. First-time remote workers might be shocked by the transition and struggle to produce quality work on time. Ask them if they have worked remotely before and if the answer is no, then ask them why they want to now and how do they plan to organize their time?
If the candidate has worked remotely, then ask them what their challenges were with working out-out-office and what strategies they had to overcome them. If the candidate says there were no challenges, you can bet that they aren’t being honest or didn’t work remotely enough to face the challenges that come with remote work.
Do they have experience working with a remote team?
When you work in an office, you can get the answer you need by stopping by a coworker’s office to ask a question. When the team is remote, it’s not easy to get an answer when you need it. It may be a full day before a question is answered since not everyone works the same hours, and there are no “offices” to stop by.
Ask the candidate how they plan on interacting with the team. How will they get the answers they need? What will they do while they are waiting for an answer? What if it’s an emergency? How will they hold others accountable? Finding out how they will deal with the situation will give you insight into their problem-solving and answer-seeking skills.
Where is their office?
Ask the candidate if they have an office setup, or if they plan on going to a coffee shop or coworking space. Does the candidate already have everything a remote worker needs to be productive? Ask about the technology they use and how they have access to it. Ask what the home office setup is like and, if possible, conduct a video interview and encourage the candidate to participate from that home office.
A candidate who does to have a “home office” shouldn’t be disqualified since not everyone works best in a traditional office setup. Be sure to ask about about anything else specified in the job posting like a wired internet connection, a private area for calls so they know what is expected.
How tech-savvy are they?
Remote workers don’t have easy access to tech support, so what happens when their computer crashes or the virtual meeting won’t work? Ask candidates if they are comfortable using technology and troubleshooting on their own.
If someone works remotely but can’t handle the inevitable tech problems, they could lose hours of productivity while waiting for technical support. Not every tech problem can be solved by an employee, but they should have some experience with handling the easier tech problems that are bound to occur.
How do they plan to be part of the team?
Working remotely, you will never bump into your coworkers for a random conversation in the break room, which means every attempt to communicate must be intentional. While the company can create opportunities for casual engagement (like a virtual office lunch), the employee must make the effort to build relationships with their coworkers.
Ask potential candidates how they plan to build relationships with the team and what communication platforms they are comfortable using. Do they prefer email, texting, or virtual meeting spaces? Why do they prefer that platform and how will they let others know? Asking what communication platforms they use and why will help you better understand how they plan to communicate and collaborate with their team.
How do they plan to stay focused on their work?
People that work remotely have different challenges than office workers and requires employees to be very self-motivated. Without a manager nearby, it’s easy for people to get distracted or lose their motivation. Working remotely often blurs the line between work life and personal life.
Ask applicants how they plan to manage their days. How do they decide what time to begin work, take breaks, and stop working when it’s quitting time? Finding out how they plan to stay focused on tasks will give you some insight into how they might face distractions as a remote employee.
In conclusion, working from home is not as easy as people think. It takes self discipline, determination and innovation. Asking the right questions during the interview process will raise the expectations for the candidates and help you pick the right remote employees for your team.