While most interview questions remain the same from position to position, there are unique conditions that apply to applicants for remote employees. In order to better assess the candidate’s ability to successfully work as a remote employee, be sure to cover these five questions before you make a hiring decision.
“Can we discuss the position over a video conference?”
When hiring for a remote position, it may be helpful to complete the interview face-to-face, especially if attending video conferences will be a requirement for the position. Not only will this give you an opportunity to interact with a candidate in a more natural way, it will also provide insight into their workspace, communication style and basic technical ability.
“Can you describe your work environment?”
This functions as an opener to assess whether remote employees are properly setup to accomplish the tasks necessary to work successfully. For example, if the remote employee is going to be responsible for a large volume of calls, it may be necessary that they have a dedicated home office that prevents extraneous noise from coming through on the call.
It also gives you the opportunity to find out other pertinent information, such as the speed of their internet connection, current access to required software, and if they have a dedicated phone line.
“If a technical issue arises, how would you go about addressing it?”
Since a remote employee will be responsible for troubleshooting equipment and network connectivity, understanding how they would approach these tasks is critical. While high-level technical ability is not always necessary, being capable of handling common issues is imperative to their success. If there are no technical support resources offered through your company, or if the remote worker will be performing the majority of their duties outside of traditional support hours, this is even more imperative.
“How do you plan on arranging your day to meet the requirements of the job?”
While not all remote employees will need to clock in and out as specific times, it is important to understand the timeframe in which the candidate intends to perform their assignments. This allows you to evaluate their availability, ensuring it includes times when they need to be available for contact. Additionally, it provides insights into other obligations they may also need to meet that could cause conflict.
While someone responsible for compiling a report may be able to complete the work at any time, it may not be efficient if you cannot reach them during core business hours to communicate changes. Not only can this cause frustration for you, it can lead to wasted time and money if the employee continues working with the wrong priorities or inaccurate information.
“Have you ever worked remotely for another company?”
This question allows you to find out if they have served a similar function under similar circumstances. While previous experience working remotely may not be required, it can provide insights into how they have previously prioritized work and handled deadlines when not under direct supervision.
It also allows for follow-up questions to determine if they are currently working remotely for another company, and, if so, whether they intend to stay with that company as well. While holding two positions is not inherently wrong, conflicting priorities between multiple employers may arise.
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