Have you ever had an interview that left you lost for words, literally? No matter how much you prepare, there are always questions that will trip you up and catch you out. Sometimes interview questions are designed this way to see how you think on your feet, sometimes you just weren’t expecting the question, and sometimes it’s just nerves.
Whatever the reason is, these kinds of questions can severely impact your chances of getting hired for the position. In this current economy, interviews are much harder to come by due to the high unemployment rates and competition when applying for jobs. So if you are successful in landing a remote interview, you don’t want to ruin it.
That’s what led us to make this list of what are the top 10 interview questions and how you can answer them. It should give you some ideas on how to approach the questions, what points you can call upon, and how to give an answer if you aren’t sure.
The important thing to remember is your answers will vary and these should only be used as guides and examples. You also should practice multiple different questions to avoid being surprised. Imagine having 10 common questions and planning your answers for those, then in the interview, only 3 of those were asked. You would become stuck and thrown off your game.
A top tip – Have someone else read interview questions to you at random. This way you can practice answering unplanned questions.
What Are the Top 10 Interview Questions?
1. Do you have any experience working remotely?
This is one of the most important questions since this will help your employer know if you’re capable of doing work without any supervision. It is also one of the most common questions that some employers just ask because it’s common to ask. But in case that you don’t have any experience working remotely, don’t worry too much because there’s always a solution.
To answer this question you should think about any work you have done remotely or even any projects you have worked on remotely. This can include:
- Free work for experience
- Personal projects
It’s important not to lie when it comes to an interview as you will always be caught out. So if you haven’t got remote experience, tell the interviewer you haven’t.
BUT don’t leave it there. Explain how you have worked on personal projects remotely using project management tools, setting time aside to work, having a schedule at home to work on these projects, and anything else that can be related to working remotely.
The most important thing is to show the interviewer that you have what it takes to work remotely. So don’t think “I don’t have that experience, so I haven’t got the job” just find a way to demonstrate how the skills and experience you do have related to working remotely.
2. How will you be able to manage your time and prioritize your work?
Working remotely means dealing with an influx of emails, meetings, projects, contacts, and Slack messages. This means that on top of the work that you have been assigned, you must be able to make time for extra tasks and projects.
Your future employers want to know whether you’re ready to handle what is thrown at you and how you would prioritize that work. This is where you can use a project management or organizational tool in your answer.
Explain how you use Monday.com to manage your weekly tasks and how you use Evernote to keep track of important notes. You can also pull on various tools such as Slack and Google Docs to demonstrate that you actively monitor your time and schedule tasks properly.
The employer wants to see that you can dedicate time to your job when working from home. This is a big concern for employers when allowing employees to work remotely, so you need to everything you can to convince them.
Again, you can talk about a routine you follow and a separate home office you have, which allows you to focus on work and avoid distractions. You have a system where you flag urgent tasks to be done immediately and less important tasks to be delayed. Also, you prioritize tasks based on their value to the company; if a task results in a profit of $10,000 over a task that keeps the inbox clear, which one is more important?
The key points to remember here:
- You keep a list or track of tasks
- You sort them by value and time required
- You sort projects based on complexity
- You are flexible and can accommodate extra work
- You don’t like tasks building up so try to keep a clear “to-do list”
3. How will you be able to keep yourself motivated to work without an in-person supervisor?
The reason behind this question is not only for your employer to know if you’re productive even with the absence of a supervisor popping into your cubicle, but for them to be assured that you won’t get burnt out from working by yourself.
One reason why people quit in the early stages of working remotely is that they can’t find the motivation they need to work. With these questions, employers can be assured that they don’t have to worry about checking up on you every single day.
With this question, you can pull on past experiences and projects where you have separated yourself into a separate room and knuckled down to get stuff done. This shows that you can avoid distractions around your house and keep focused on the work.
You can explain that you have a dedicated workspace that you treat like an office, where you enter at the start of the day and only come out for essential needs. As a bonus, you could even show the employer this, let them see how your office is free from a TV, clutter, and other potential distractions. This would show them that you are serious about working at home.
Then start to pull on how you have always been able to work independently, even though you enjoy working in a team, independent work allows you to fully concentrate and produce the best work possible. You can say that although you are respectful and polite, you work much better without someone standing over your shoulder, and you are more productive.
Be honest too, everyone experiences burnout. So say to the interviewer, there are periods where I start to flag and slow down. But I can pick myself up by taking a 15-minute coffee break and walking around the yard, this allows me to clear my head, recharge, and get back to it. Not only do employers want to see you are capable, but they also want to know you are human, so be honest.
Key points to remember:
- Show you are human
- Demonstrate you are serious about working from home
- Pull on past experiences of working independently
- Explain your office environment
- Pick on key points on how you motivate yourself
4. What do you think is the biggest challenge of working remotely and how will you overcome it?
Interviewers would want to know if you have the ability to be able to either independently work on a challenge or collaborate with a team. This question will not only show how ready you are in working remotely, but it will also demonstrate how prepared you are.
For the biggest challenge part of the question, you can say anything. Think about what is actually a challenge for you working remotely. Is it communicating with the team, prioritizing your work, meeting deadlines, or something else.
The key thing to remember, be honest. As mentioned already, employers want to see that you are a real person with challenges. The point is not the challenge you face, but what you do to overcome it. Never answer a question like this with “I don’t have any challenges”, employers don’t want to see that.
For the part about overcoming the challenge, it would be beneficial to pull on a previous example. So if you used “communicating with my team” as a challenge – You can say something like “When I had this challenge before, I came up with a plan that I suggested to the team in one of our meetings. The plan was to download team collaboration software that allowed the team to communicate in real-time”. Obviously, you would expand on that, but you are giving a real demonstrated example of how you have improvised and overcame a problem, exactly what the employer wants to see.
If you don’t have any real-world examples to give, then come up with a challenge and then try and tell the employer what you would do to resolve it. Try to explain in detail the things you would do and how they would help you overcome the challenge.
Key points to remember:
- Be honest
- Pull on past challenges and what you did to overcome them
- Describe in detail how you will overcome challenges
5. What are some distractions that you anticipate in your remote workplace, and what’s your plan to avoid them?
Let’s be honest, distractions can’t be fully avoided, but they can be minimized. This question is a great opportunity for you to showcase your honesty and transparency. It may seem like it would create a negative impact on your part, but it’s the opposite as we have already mentioned several times.
Give them an honest response, the distractions might be children in the house, pets, outdoor noises, TV, or even everyday tasks. No matter what it is, it’s unavoidable but manageable. This is where it helps to demonstrate that you have a dedicated office space that allows you to avoid distractions.
You can explain that you have a separate office that you are in for dedicated work hours. You explain to your family that you can’t be disturbed during that time, you walk your pets before work and at lunchtime, you don’t have a TV in the room, and you have an app on your computer that prevents Facebook/YouTube during work hours.
There are many things you could say, it’s just important to show the employer that you will in fact have distractions but you have a good system in place to make them minimal.
Key things to remember:
- Use honest distractions that you have
- Make sure you explain clearly, your plan to avoid them
- Don’t say that you don’t have distractions
6. What will you do to make sure that a project is successful?
This question will open doors for your interviewer to see if you have an idea and experience when it comes to completing a project. Your future employers need to know that even without constant supervision from them, you’re still capable of being productive.
List down all the things that you did in the past that contributed to a successful project may it be as simple as time management up to milestone completions. You might not realize it, but even the smallest thing like being on time or proper scheduling of tasks will help.
Some good tips here are to talk about:
- A project you were involved in that wasn’t successful
- A project that was failing and how you made it successful
- What you learned from a failed project
- What you learned from a successful project
Pick out key points on how you assess a project, what you do to prepare, how you execute the project, plans for failure throughout the project, and how you ensure improvements on future projects. It is important to show that you know how a project should be approached and executed.
The part that trips people up here is that they think it needs to be about the position, and try to compare a project that they know nothing about. The employer is looking for how you approach tasks, how you work, how you learn, and how you improve. It’s impossible for you to know how to complete a project that you have never done, so don’t try and make it about the job you are applying for; you can relate it slightly but not in detail.
The best thing to do here is to pull on previous experience working on projects and demonstrate skills. If you don’t have any experience with projects, even personal ones, pick an example and talk about the steps you would take to ensure it is successful.
Key points to remember:
- Use past project examples
- Talk about successes and failures
- Explain what you have learned
- Give examples
7. What skills are important to be able to become a successful remote worker?
The hiring company needs to know if you have the right knowledge when it comes to remote jobs. Working remotely is far different from working in the traditional office environment and the skills required will be slightly different. This question will give your employer an idea if you truly have experience working remotely.
Key skills to focus on:
- Time management
- Technologically Capable
- Problem Solving
- Being Adaptable
There are many other skills that could be listed, just think about what relates to working remotely. We would recommend picking 2 or 3 skills, then focusing on how they apply to remote work and examples of when you have used them.
You could talk about how problem-solving is key. The fact that you don’t have someone to go and ask instantly so need to figure out how to solve the problem yourself. Give an example of when you have done this previously, why it worked, what didn’t work, and what you learned from it.
You don’t need to be an expert at these skills and have hundreds of examples, as long as you can demonstrate that you know what type of person is required when it comes to remote work.
- Pick 3 skills maximum
- Give examples
- Only focus on skills more relevant to remote work
8. How will you be able to balance your work and family/social life?
This is another interview question where employers are looking for honesty rather than the “correct answer”. For some people, finding the right balance between work and family/friends can be difficult. Whether it’s working too much or too little, it impacts many remote workers in different ways.
As it’s an interview you obviously want to show that you are keen and eager to work, but you also want to come across as human. So don’t say that you will work 20 hours a day and get the job done. Instead, say that you have set hours and a set schedule, but you are always happy to accommodate extra if the company requires.
This shows that you are willing to help out when the company has a high workload, but you won’t be eating, sleeping, and breathing work. This can have different impacts in different countries because in some countries it’s required that you drop everything for work.
Honesty is the best policy here and if a company expects you to drop everything and work all hours of the day, the job is probably not worth it. Work to live not live to work.
- Don’t oversell yourself
- Be realistic and still show dedication
9. What’s your preferred work schedule?
Your potential employers would like to know the time you’re available to work since they already have people working for them all across the globe in different time zones. This will give them an idea if you’re fit for the available time slot. Don’t hesitate to tell them you are preferred schedule or if you’re available to work anytime.
Make sure you pay attention to the job description though, if the posting states that candidates need to work in a certain timezone at a certain time, you need to make sure you are ok with this. It will also look like you haven’t paid attention to the job posting if you didn’t realize this
You should explain that you are open to work around the companies time requirements but would prefer whatever your preferred schedule is. This is similar to a physical job, if you couldn’t work certain times due to family or other reasons you wouldn’t apply, so don’t say or agree to a time you can’t work.
Some people actually lie on this question and still carry out duties or personal tasks when they are meant to be working. You will get caught out and possibly lose your job doing this, so be honest to begin with.
- Be honest about your schedule
- Double check job requirements
10. Do you have any questions for me?
Unfortunately, a lot of people make a mistake when answering this question. Whenever you say no, you missed an opportunity to find out more about the company and what they offer. Always remember that the answer to this question will always be a YES (and then other questions). This will showcase your preparedness and how well you’ve done your homework about the company.
Some key things you can ask:
- What are the companies goals?
- Does the company support staff progression?
- What is the company culture like?
Try to tailor questions based on if you were to work at the company for the next 50 years. Employers want to see that they are hiring dedicated employees who want to grow with the company. So tailor your questions to be about the future of the company, how they train staff, progression, etc.
If possible, avoid making the questions about yourself. These would include:
- Will I get a salary increase?
- How much vacation do I get?
- Do I have to work weekends?
These questions just show you are interested in the job not the career.
- Ask questions about the company
- Don’t ask selfish questions
- Always ask a question
Looking for remote jobs? Check out the latest remote positions here.
Don’t forget to work with a VPN too.