Even with many workers vaccinated and returning to the office, it’s clear remote work is here to stay. Tech giants like Facebook and Twitter have pledged to adopt longer-term remote work policies, while reports To display 58% of employees will look for a new job if they lose the ability to work from home. In fact, many experts are predicting that the workforce will see a massive reshuffling of jobs – and Data confirms this theory.
As we enter this new era, now is the time to review your recruiting and hiring practices. What lessons have you learned over the past year by conducting interviews remotely? Which candidates have added something valuable to your culture, and which employees would you think twice about hiring with the right hindsight? After all, interviewing candidates virtually can be difficult. How do you know them? How to put them at ease?
As a virtual technology company, we understand these challenges firsthand. Our workforce works entirely remotely – 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 face of the new employee until they were hired.
Through some trial and error, we have learned to really know a candidate and assess whether they will succeed in a virtual and remote work environment. The most effective way to do this is to help candidates feel more comfortable letting their guard down, so 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 the time to connect with your colleagues on a daily basis?
- How do you stay focused when working remotely?
- How do you disconnect from work?
- How do you handle conflict when working remotely?
1. How do you manage your day?
Traits like tenacity and proactivity are extremely valuable when your team members are working remotely. We give them great importance during our hiring process. This question is open-ended enough for you to get an idea of the person’s priorities. And it can help you gauge how self-sufficient a person is, while learning about their work ethic and approach to time management.
2. How do you take the time to communicate with your colleagues on a daily basis?
One of the biggest challenges of working remotely is the lack of chance interactions people have in the office, whether around the water cooler or meeting a colleague in the elevator. This question can be a powerful way to understand how much a person values building relationships with teammates and how they approach the challenges of not working side-by-side in an office.
3. How do you stay focused when working remotely?
Working remotely and independently allows employees to be free from distractions, 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 insight into their productivity and effectiveness in a remote environment.
4. How do you disconnect from work?
Finding work-life balance is one of the toughest issues we face in remote work environments. In March, Indeed found that 52% of employees experience a kind of professional burnout. This problem has obviously become more prevalent when the work and home environments are the same. Being responsible for a regular schedule is healthy not only 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 likely they are to burn out.
5. How do you handle conflict when working remotely?
Conflicts arise whether employees are working remotely or in a physical environment. In both cases, communication and transparency are essential. In remote environments, companies need to build trust by showing a willingness to listen, absorb, and move into a solution-focused conversation without retaliation. By asking questions about conflict directly in the interview process, we can understand how a person can handle awkward and/or uncomfortable situations. We can also see how they share their feedback – critically or constructively.
Whether you’re committing to an all-virtual workforce or planning to bring some people back to a physical office part-time, fine-tuning your virtual interview process will ensure you build a strong team.