8 Digital Interview Questions and Answers Every Recruiter Should Ask Remote Workers

Remote work becoming the norm means interviewing is becoming anything but. The reality of how a video interview goes when someone is in their kitchen, dogs barking, burping their infant is not the same song and dance we were used to when “work from home” was not so common. You can almost guarantee opening small talk will have more fluff than what the weather is like that day.

As we continue to add to our growing list of digital interview tips,  how do we effectively alter our interview questions to more accurately represent and acknowledge the challenges that come with remote work life? Here are 8 digital interview questions and answers to get you started.

1.  What does your typical workday look like?

Talk about an open-ended question. This is a hot start to your interview, but a foundational one at that. You’ll likely learn a lot about the candidate, both personal and professional, based on their answer. It gives you a sense of their routine, structure, and productivity levels.  

You know it’s a good answer when: The candidate doesn’t ramble. Being able to concisely answer an open ended question like this is a skill worth noting.

2.  How do you switch off from work?

This question is formulated around one word: burnout. Remote work has quite literally blurred the lines between workspace and, well, non-workspace. There’s no train to catch or traffic to beat. Knowing when to log off usually results in a more productive employee overall.

You know it’s a good answer when: The candidate has a thought-through process to help themselves recharge in the off hours. This shows they may have sensed burnout or work exhaustion before and proactively took steps to ensure they’re bringing their all to the team everyday.

3. How do you get work done?

Everyone has a different method for checking things off the list. Maybe they need to dive in, unbothered for 2-3 hours to crank something out. Maybe they prefer jumping from task to task throughout the day. Maybe the very nature of remote work changed how they get things done completely. Regardless, knowing how a potential new hire deems themselves productive is wildly helpful for their future boss or manager to know.

You know it’s a good answer when: the candidate incorporates their personality traits. Perhaps the candidate is not a morning person, so they save their collaborative work until the afternoon. If it’s the other way around, maybe they enjoy doing solo work to end the day because it helps them shut off at night.

4. What’s your preferred method of communication?

This may sound like a common digital interview question, but you can uncover a lot from a candidate’s answer. Firstly, it tells you which communication platforms they’re familiar with. While it may not make or break the hiring decision, it’s always good to know which tools they already have in their shed. Secondly, it could help you make connections between their strengths and the role they’re interviewing for.

You know it’s a good answer when: Their answer aligns with the role they’re interviewing for. Example: a candidate interviewing for a sales role may prefer talking on the phone. A candidate interviewing for a writing position may prefer email or Slack communication.

5. What’s the hardest part about working remotely?

It’s questions like this that bring out the candidates personality. Not specifying whether you’re asking from a professional or personal standpoint is another chance to let the candidate take the reigns. Finding out what kind of culture the candidate is looking for may also come out in their answer.

You know it’s a good answer when: You sense honesty and authenticity. Sure, the world has known remote for a while now. But we also knew in-person for a while before that. Without the option to engage in banter before or after the interview, see if the candidate takes this opportunity to open up.

6. What do distractions at home look like for you?

From candidates raising a family under one roof to someone living alone in their studio apartment, we’re all human and distractions are all around. What you’re really asking them is how they deal with those distractions and remain productive despite them.

You know it’s a good answer when: The candidate acknowledges their distractions and the parameters they’ve put in place to help diminish them during work hours.

7. What are your pet peeves of working with a remote team?

Just like distractions, there are certainly some pet peeves that surface as a result of working with a 100% remote team. We all have that coworker that decides to run to the bathroom or scarf down lunch 1 minute before meeting time—making them 5 minutes late for the actual meeting. Or, they show up on time—with lunch and their unmuted microphone. Remote life throws nuances at us all day and requires us to find common ground with our teammates.

You know it’s a good answer when: the candidate can address their pet peeves maturely and provides examples of when they’ve addressed them directly with a coworker in uncomfy situations.

8. What gets you out of the midday slump when you’re working remotely?

We’ve lost the excuse to go grab lunch with the IT department or sit for a quick coffee in the building lobby. Hearing from a candidate what they actively do to recharge themselves in the middle of the day tells you that they value ending the work day on a high note by getting things done. With no “doughnuts in the break room” emails, finding ways to get out of that slump is on the employee.

You know it’s a good answer when: the candidate has put effort towards finding a reset button that works for them in order to come back to their computer ready to work.

As remote work continues to become the norm, finding the digital interview questions and answers that best help you navigate digital interviewing is important. Getting to know a candidate over video is no easy task, but with ongoing digital interview practice and more online interview tips from us, questions like the ones above can help you find the people that will give their all to your company, even from afar.

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