Even with many workers vaccinated and heading back to the office, it’s clear that remote work is here to stay. Tech giants like Facebook and Twitter have committed to longer-term remote work policies, while reports show 58 percent of employees will look for a new job if they lose the option to work from home. In fact, many experts are predicting that the workforce will experience a massive reshuffling of jobs — and data backs this theory up.
As we enter this new era, now is the time to revisit your recruiting and hiring practices. What lessons have you learned over the past year when conducting remote interviews? Which candidates have added something valuable to your culture, and which employees would you think twice about hiring with the proper hindsight? After all, interviewing candidates virtually can be challenging. How do you get to know them? How do you make them feel comfortable?
As a virtual technology company, we understand these challenges firsthand. Our workforce operates entirely remote — we have team members working from anywhere with WiFi. In 2020, we hired over 100 employees through our virtual interview process, and in many cases, we didn’t even see the new hire’s face until after they were brought on-board.
Through some trial and error, we’ve learned how to truly get to know a candidate and assess if they’ll thrive in a virtual, remote-first work environment. The most effective way to do this is to help candidates feel more comfortable letting their guard down, so that you can get to know them on a deeper level. Here are the five questions we always ask.
5 Interview Questions to Add to Your Remote Hiring Process
- How do you navigate your day?
- How do you take time to connect with your colleagues on a daily basis?
- How do you stay focused when working remotely?
- How do you switch off from work?
- How do you manage conflict while working remotely?
1. How Do You Navigate Your Day?
Traits like tenacity and being proactive are extremely valuable when you have team members working remotely. We put a strong emphasis on them during our hiring process. This question is open-ended enough so that you can get a feel for what the person’s priorities are. And it can help you assess how much of a self-starter someone is, while also learning about their work ethic and their approach to time management.
2. How Do You Take Time to Connect With Your Colleagues on a Daily Basis?
One of the biggest challenges of remote work is the lack of serendipitous interactions people have in the office, whether it’s around the water cooler or bumping into a colleague in the elevator. This question can be a powerful way to understand how much value someone places on building relationships with their teammates, and how they approach the challenges of not working in an office side by side.
3. How Do You Stay Focused When Working Remotely?
Working remotely and independently allows employees to be free of distraction, office chatter, and interruptions. That said, people often need a certain level of discipline to manage their time and an ability to master organizational skills when they are home alone. This question helps reveal how a person thinks about their time and prioritizes their work. It can also provide some insight into their productivity and efficiency in a remote setting.
4. How Do You Switch off From Work?
Finding a work life balance is one of the most difficult issues we are facing in remote work environments. In March, Indeed found that 52 percent of employees are experiencing some type of burnout. This issue has obviously become more prevalent when work and home environments are the same. Being accountable to a regular schedule is healthy not just for an employee’s productivity but more importantly for their mental health. This question helps us understand how a person sets boundaries and ultimately how susceptible they might be to burnout.
5. How Do You Manage Conflict While Working Remotely?
Conflicts arise whether employees are working remotely or in a physical environment. In either case, communication and transparency are key. In remote environments, companies need to build trust by showing their willingness to listen, absorb, and move to solution-driven conversation without retaliation. By asking about conflicts directly in the interview process, we can understand how a person might handle awkward and/or uncomfortable situations. We can also see how they share feedback — in a critical or constructive manner.
Whether you’re committed to an entirely virtual workforce or plan to have some people return to a physical office part-time, fine-tuning your virtual interview process will ensure you build a strong team.