Working from home was a luxurious experience reserved for a few privileged people in the past, based on the country you are based in. Today, doing Smart work, working from home or doing home office, many terms which mean that your home became your office.
The number of remote working job postings online has significantly increased since we are experiencing a pandemic. It is for some areas especially in corporate jobs, becoming the norm. While at the beginning everyone thought working from home all the time would only be a short and sweet experience, we are now slowly realising that sharing our private space with work will become normal.
Regardless of the current pandemic, some industries, especially the ones linked to ecommerce or any part related to support for fighting the virus, continue to hire.
As we continue to experience remote work, we will also need to practice and learn what are the new expectations from a company when it comes to their employees.
One thing that is for sure is that soft skills, meaning all the competency you have to deal with people, to organize your work, communicate and deal with self-motivation will now come at the forefront of any remote job interview.
Hiring managers will now want to know how reliable, organized, collaborative, independent, and pragmatic you are, being isolated in your home office.
Keeping this in mind, we will help you articulate your answers and disclose the areas which are now even more important applying for a remote working job.
Before providing you with the questions to be prepared and how you can formulate your answer, we want to highlight our favorite techniques to build your answer, called the STAR technique.
Star method is:
S: Situation, set up the context
T: Task, what did you have to do
A: Action; what did you do in order to accomplish your task
R, Result, what was the result based on the action you took
Structuring your answer using the STAR interview method has proven to be very powerful in many successful job interviews. Star approach requires some practice at first but once mastered, you will never forget about it.
Let us now jump into the main topic of our discussion today: Questions related to remote jobs.
Here are 10 questions that you may get from a job interview done online and for a remote job.
1. Are you currently working from home or have you already experienced home office or part time remote jobs, and how do you experience it?
The first question related to remote jobs might be if you already have experience working from home and how you experience it.
In this question; make your answer simple, if you have worked from home already share your experience, mentioning the what, when and where. If you have not, think of a project or initiative you took that required from you a lot of commitment and describe how you met this commitment.
If you are applying for a remote working job or a digital nomad job, the chance that you like working from home should be great, make sure you show enthusiasm and benefit from your productivity.
You can say for example, with the pandemic, once a day to another I had to work from home like many of us. At the beginning, it was challenging because my home was not set up for it, so I decided to make it comfortable and adapted to remote work by getting remote facilities, then I first had also to adapt to not be in contact in person with my colleagues, but after few weeks I found myself a new routine with using effective and more intense online communication to ensure we kept tracked on our project and continue to work effectively. Today, I find myself much more efficient because I don’t experience distraction during the day I can fully focus. We became very creative with my manager and team members on how to stay connected.
2. How have you used the different platforms and tools placed at your disposal to effectively work from home?
For this question; you may not be familiar with each tool a company may use, but explain how you got familiar using those tools efficiently to serve your new routine at home and how today they help you to be effective and productive. If you have the opportunity try to look up online what other tools than the one you are already using.
Sometimes you can also have a free trial to get yourself familiar. Those are good initiatives you can use to prepare yourself for these questions.
You can say for example: In my current company TEAMS is driving the rhythm of our communication, with all its applications available. However we are all free to use the one we wish. In order to ensure that we found our way out with my team, during the first weeks at home we have discussed how to use those tools, when each of us update our document and how we would be keeping track of projects and tasks accomplished. We have selected a few applications, like the planner, the one note as well as the open conversation tab. We use each of those applications every day and we like to get notified when someone needs something from the team. I use those applications daily and they help me to get organized and in touch with my team.
3. How will you effectively communicate with the rest of your distributed team and your manager?
This question is very important especially for a remote job. How you will keep your communication open, be reachable by the rest of your team and update everyone on your work, will determine how your work is perceived by the rest of your peers and your manager. Communication is the only way to have a remote working job to make sure everyone is working and keep up with its work.
You can say for example that before to make any plan, you like to get to know your team and your manager style of communication, understand how everyone prefer to be reached during unexpected situation, for instance my manager might prefer to be called or texted, then I'll make sure I will not lose time on sending a notification on the TEAMS conversation tab and wait for my manager but instead I would call him.
I will also agree on a 1.1 cadence with my manager to be able to discuss the less urgent topic while I have full attention and keep open communication with my peers throughout informal catch up from time to time or place bi-weekly meetings if a specific project needs intense collaboration. Good communication is flexible and adaptable. I will use a combination of streams in order to fit everyone’s style and time.
4. How do you deal with self-motivation working from home?
While motivation is owned by each individual, social connection has a tremendous power on getting ourselves motivated. At the office we don't have the same distraction that the ones we may have at home (laundry, cooking, TV etc.) so how do you keep yourself focused?
For instance, I personally force myself into a routine, I would every other day go for a short run, have tea and dress myself so I tell my body and my mind, that I am now getting myself prepared for work. On the week-end I will be less strict with myself so I make a natural difference between working day and day off. I also personally know that a quick catch up with my manager helps me to re-boost my energy and reload my motivation, so when possible, I would place a short call.
5. Can you describe a change you went through and how you dealt with it?
This question should be answered using an example of your past experience. If you apply for a remote working job, try to tell a story that was done remotely, avoid using the ones where you had to adapt to working remotely from the moment the pandemic occurred as many of us had to go through it and everyone has a personal approach to it.
However, you can choose a project that was supposed to happen in person but was changed to remote due to the pandemic for instance. You can also choose to tell a story on the way you had to onboard a new team member starting to work remotely. If you have not been working remotely so far, find an example where you needed to use online communication or adapt a lot. The most important part that you need to highlight here is how greatly you adapt to change and how proactive you communicate about it.
For instance if you want to mention a fair or event that was supposed to happen in person, meeting customers, but you had to do it online. You can say that for a few weeks we were all preparing for our annual fair that was planned for April in the capital. All our teams had a very fulfilled list of tasks to accomplish and we had booked and paid most of our suppliers.
Unfortunately with the coronavirus, we could not make it and decided to organize an online event where our customers could check our services and product. I was the one most comfortable with technology so my boss naturally asked me to take the lead on it.
We had only 5 weeks to reorganize the entire event. I have made a plan for myself and shared every change and task with the rest of the team. I have used intense communication level with everyone meaning every morning we would get a 15 minutes catch up to review what was done the day before and agree on the task for the day. We had many challenges such as finding the platform to host our customers online, but I was able to ask for help when needed and at the end we had a great event, everyone was very surprised of the work accomplished in such a short time and my boss congratulates me for the organization and my capacity in adapting and redesigning the event.
6. How do you feel about resolving conflict remotely?
Before working from home, when a conflict rose, you would go and talk to the person so you can clarify the situation and often come to an agreement on how to move forward.
However, now with online communication how do you solve problems? Here you need to highlight your capability in understanding, communicating and identifying the root cause of a problem easily.
What you can say here: it is anyway more difficult online so you need to use soft skills such as empathy, listening and communication even more. The first thing I would do is to plan a meeting with the person of the conflict and switch on the cameras. Not so many people are used to switching on their camera. This is a pity because often it gives a more relaxed atmosphere to the conversation. Then I would try to understand the person's point of view and ask questions until all parts are clarified. At the end, I would try to propose an agreement that would match both side expectations.
7. What do you do when you are home and you don’t know how to do something?
For this question; best is to use an example where you had to manage this uncertain moment where you did not know intuitively how to deal with a situation. Emphasize the situation, what was needed from you, the actions you took and most importantly the results.
You need to demonstrate that you are capable of staying calm and thinking logically even when you are alone off of your screen. Demonstrate a logic thinking process.
Here is an example of a situation: We had received an invitation for an audit that was unexpectedly happening the next week. I was the most senior person in my team and my manager was off for 2 weeks. I was the only one knowing all our processes.
Naturally, I volunteered to perform the audit and found out that our finance department could help me on learning how to prepare for it. I filled in the checklist and ensured we were all compliant with what needed to be done. I prepared and reviewed all documents and on the day of the audit I presented what I would have prepared for it. The audit went well, I did not have the answer to one question but I told the auditor I would look into it during the afternoon and come back to him, which I did. We successfully completed the audit and my manager was very thankful for managing it during her holiday.
Here are very strictly related questions that could come to you during a remote working job interview. Make sure you have an answer for it. In case you don’t have so much experience with working from home, ask you friends or people you may know and work remotely. They will help you to understand their routine and how to be efficient working from home.
Remote jobs have a lot of advantages but also some disadvantages, make sure you know how to deal with it so the hiring manager feels comfortable.
Put forward your soft skills meaning your ability to listen, to collaborate online, to communicate via online tools or your reliability in having self control working from your home space without having anyone watching you.
At the end if you are getting the opportunity to ask question, ask the natural question about the team, the environment, the manager style and the company objective but ask as well questions about how the team is organized remotely and what are the routines the team has adapted to in order to keep updated on each other’s work and accomplishment.
In that way you show you interest in the organization but also its online organization.
If you need with your interview preparation, reach out to The Ambitious:
For more about interview preparation, we invite you to read our blogs below.