With an increase in remote or virtual jobs, you might be wondering if the interview process is any different for a remote role. While the remote jobs you’re pursuing may be very similar to in-person roles you’ve had in the past, working from home requires a different work style.
That means when it comes time to interview, you’ll need to be ready to answer questions that are focused around a specific set of remote work skills in addition to the usual interview questions you might get for a traditional in-person job.
While every company is different, these are the most common traits recruiters and hiring managers will be looking for when interviewing a candidate for a remote job:
First and foremost, your potential future team needs to know they can count on you to show up to meetings, adhere to deadlines, and keep them updated on your work. Building trust with your prospective coworkers by showing them that they can count on you will be crucial—and that starts during the interview process. Showing up on time and well prepared is a great way to start building that credibility. Bonus points if you’re armed with a real-world example of how exceptionally reliable you are!
Since almost all communication is done via Zoom, Slack, and email, how well a person communicates via those mediums is really important. People need to be able to establish trust, build rapport, and express ideas clearly and succinctly to avoid misunderstandings. Luckily, the remote interview process is the perfect opportunity to show off your virtual communication skills.
If you’re always asking questions, you could become a distraction to your team. Understanding when to reach out for help and when to try to figure something out for yourself will be especially important. So, you’ll want to be prepared to discuss your resourceful, independent work style – using examples from your past experience whenever possible.
Managers can’t peek over your desk to see if you’re lost or idle, so it becomes significantly more important that you raise concerns if you’re stuck or otherwise need assistance. Asking questions throughout your interview process, following up with a thank you note after every call, and preparing for every interview in advance are all great ways to demonstrate your proactive nature.
There are countless ways this may come up during your interview process—you may be asked what successful collaboration looks like to you, for example, or your prospective manager might want you to share a story about how you’ve collaborated on projects in the past. Either way, ensure you highlight your ability to work well with others.
Interviewers will want to know you can stay organized and regularly loop your team in on your work to help avoid unnecessary holdups. You can demonstrate your stellar organization skills by staying on top of your interview schedules, taking notes during calls, having a list of questions prepared in advance, and, of course, being ready to discuss how you stay organized.
You probably won’t run into any conflicts during your interview process but you can come prepared to discuss how you’ve managed conflicts, straightened out miscommunications, and built rapport with your team.
To prepare for remote interviews, make sure you’ve got a clutter-free and noise-free room to take the call.
If you have pets or children in your home, make sure you have a plan to keep them occupied during the interview process. You don’t want any distractions in your job interviews, especially when interviewing for remote jobs when the hiring manager is seeing the actual environment that you’ll be working from!
Test the specific virtual interview platform the company plans to use.
It’s always good to do a test run on the specific website/platform you’ll be using in the interview to make sure there are no unexpected errors and to get yourself familiar with the technology.
If you’ve been scheduled for a video interview and don’t know what platform it’s being conducted on, ask the company ahead of time. Many companies interview remote workers via Zoom . Some tech companies prefer Google Hangouts. Other organizations may use another online video platform - regardless, you’ll want to make sure you download and install any necessary software ahead of time.
If a job offers remote work, many employers will assume that you know this and find it attractive.
Remote teams receive more applicants for each job they post because so many people want this freedom and flexibility, so you should always expect one or two interview questions about what you think of working remotely.
You can mention work-life balance, the fact that you’re more productive in a home office, the money or time you save without having a commute, or any other reason you want to work remotely. You’ll want to balance this response with your ability to complete your work on time and exceed expectations in a remote environment. You might also want to highlight a dedicated working space at home, reliable internet, etc.
Wanting a remote role isn’t enough to get hired for the position. Employers also want to hear from each candidate why they want this job and why they want to work for this company (the specific job is the most important topic to discuss).
Even if the main reason you applied for a role was to secure remote work, still be ready to point to areas of the job description that excite you, or what you hope to gain from the experience.
You’re not going to impress a potential employer when interviewing if you can’t explain why their exact position attracted your attention and why you thought to apply for this role.
In any interview, job seekers should be familiar with their recent work and achievements.
You don’t want to be unsure or hesitate too much when you answer questions such as:
You’ll be better prepared for all of the above if you review your resume and make sure you’re familiar with your work accomplishments. This may sound obvious but if it’s been a while since you wrote your resume, you may have forgotten some areas.
If you want to get hired onto a remote team, the interviewer has to trust that you’re honest, accountable, and hard-working, even when nobody is watching you.
So be prepared for questions like:
With all of these character-focused interview questions, you want to respond confidently with great eye contact and show that you’re a person they can count on to get the work done even if you’re doing it at home.
You can always expect the interviewer to conclude by saying, “Do you have any questions for me?” and trust me — you do not want to be the person who says “no.”
If you have zero questions about the job, company, team, etc., an employer is going to simply think you’re not that interested, or you’re not taking your job search that seriously. There’s so much you can ask about and so much great information you can pick up by asking questions in the job interview. Reference this video if you want an idea on potential questions to ask.
Plan to dress appropriately and set aside your interview outfit ahead of time so that you’ll have one less thing to worry about on the day of your interview. Even if you’re not going to be interacting face-to-face with people in an office environment, you’ll still make a good impression on employers by dressing appropriately for the interview.
Dressing the part will put you in a more professional mindset, too!
As one of the final steps to prepare for any virtual interview, check your email or other communication with the company and just confirm the time and time zone. Don’t miss your interview due to a time zone mix-up, etc. Be extra careful if your interviewer is located in a different part of the country, and if in doubt, just ask.
Google Calendar, Zoom, and other big remote communication platforms usually do a great job of setting calendar appointments for your local time zone but it’s still smart to double-check before the day of your video interview.
Have a general idea of what you’ll do if the remote job interview platform doesn’t connect or if there’s unexpected noise or other disturbances during your video interview. While it’s unlikely that Zoom will go down, some smaller platforms may be less reliable. Have a backup plan in case you can’t get onto the video call or in case your internet connection fails.
Make sure to have a phone number you can use to call the interviewer. Check the recent email from the interviewer that you can respond to and notify them that you’re having trouble.
There are many similarities and differences between in-person and remote interviews. We hope that you picked up some helpful tips when it comes to preparing for a remote or virtual interview. If you’ve tried anything else that has been helpful, we’d love to know!