Interview Questions

Comprehensive Interview Guide: 60+ Professions Explored in Detail

Read More

19 Remote Work Interview Questions

By Biron Clark


If you’re looking for remote job interview questions to practice, this article is for you.

There are topics employers ask about most when hiring a remote worker, and if you can’t give a good answer to these questions, it could cost you the job.

For example:

  • They’ll want to know if you’ve worked remotely before and why you want to do it.
  • They’ll test whether you’re organized, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • And they’ll ask questions to ensure you’ll fit with their current remote team and culture.

That’s just a bit of what’s coming up. Let’s dive into the top remote work interview questions:

Remote Job Interview Questions and Answers

1. What can you tell me about yourself?

When interviewing remote workers, the interviewer will likely start off by asking each candidate to talk a bit about themselves.

They may also say, “Walk me through your resume,” which you can answer in the same way.

When answering either question, focus on your professional story and keep your answer to 90 seconds or less.

Start with how you got started in your current area of work.

Then, take the interviewer through the following topics:

  • Key job changes (and your reasons for changing)
  • Key accomplishments and successes
  • Skills learned/used: What are you best at?
  • And finally, what you’re hoping to do in your next job

Note: If you’re a recent graduate with no prior work experience, focus on your academic experience, internships, etc.

No matter what level you’re at, you may also want to mention why you’re looking to work remotely now.

Or, if you’ve already been working remotely, mention that in your answer here.

Some employers will give preference to remote job seekers or those who have already proven themselves on a remote team.

Read sample answers to “Tell me about yourself” here.

2. What are your thoughts on being a remote worker?

Any time a job is fully-remote, you can expect the interviewer early in the conversation to ask your thoughts on working remotely.

If you’re a first-time remote worker, it’s important to give a convincing answer.

Not all candidates make great remote workers, so the person interviewing you will be paying careful attention to how you respond.

Don’t make the mistake of acting like you don’t care about working remotely if it’s a big reason you applied.

When I was working as a recruiter, I took a job interview for a remote position at a new company.

I bombed the interview and didn’t get the job, and I think one reason was that I wasn’t clear and upfront about my reasons for applying.

A big reason I applied was to be able to work remotely.

But I acted like I didn’t realize the job was fully remote and that I didn’t care. They saw right through it.

So my advice when answering this question, or any question about the remote nature of a job, is to be honest if it excites you, and be honest if it’s part of the reason you applied.

There’s nothing wrong with seeking a remote job or having a strong preference for remote work.

Especially if a company is fully-remote (also known as a “distributed” company), they’re going to figure you probably knew this when you applied.

3. Have you worked remotely before?

Most remote employers don’t require you to have worked remotely before. They’ll gladly hire new remote workers.

So be honest and upfront here. Don’t lie when answering this question.

Lies lead to more lies. For example, if you say you’ve held remote positions, they may say, “Great. What communication platforms did you use?”

If you haven’t done any remote work, say, “No, but…” and then briefly explain why you feel it would suit you well and/or why it excites you.

For example, you could say, “No, but it’s something I’ve been eager to do after some colleagues of mine accepted remote positions and said it boosted their productivity and energy.”

And if you’ve done any remote work, whether full-time or just a few days per week/month out of the office, then mention it.

Any time spent working remotely is a plus when interviewing for a fully-remote job.

4. How did you hear about this position?

This is not a trick interview question; employers ask how you heard about this position out of curiosity and to get a general sense of how you’re conducting your job search.

In your answer, it’s appropriate to say any of the following (but not limited to):

  • You saw the position posted on a job search engine like LinkedIn or Indeed.
  • You heard about the position through a colleague or friend.
  • You visited the company’s website directly.
  • You saw the position mentioned on a social channel like Twitter or Facebook.

There’s no “right” or “wrong” answer here, but the goal is to answer clearly and to show confidence in explaining how you’re conducting your job search.

If you’re specifically looking for a remote job, mention that, too.

I mentioned earlier that when I interviewed for my first fully-remote position, I tried to act like that wasn’t a factor in why I applied for the position.

In reality, it was a huge factor, and I specifically wanted to find remote work so that I wouldn’t have to commute.

Being dishonest was a mistake and likely cost me that job.

5. Why did you apply for this position?

The next question that employers ask remote workers is “Why did you apply for this position?”

Remote employers want to hire someone who is targeting specific factors in their job hunt.

For example:

It would be a good answer to say that you’re currently in a Sales Associate role and you’re looking for a Senior Sales Associate role to advance your career and provide new challenges.

Or, you could say that you’ve been wanting to make a career change into sales and their position seemed like a great first step to learning sales (if you’re interviewing for an entry-level role, of course).

The bottom line is: employers get hundreds of applications for each remote job.

So if you want to work remotely, you must be ready to explain how the job fits your skills and why you applied to this role in particular.

You can mention that you applied for the job because you’re excited about the idea of working remotely, but also have other reasons, such as:

  • This role will advance your career and/or provide new challenges
  • This role matches well with your past experiences
  • This role matches your career interests or what you’re passionate about
  • A friend or colleague recommended the company as a great workplace and this role seemed to be the best fit for your skills

You may also hear variations to this interview question such as:

…So be ready for those questions as well.

6. Why are you job searching right now?

In general, employers in any interview will want to know why you’re looking for a new job.

They want to understand the general situation in terms of the following:

It’s best to be clear and direct when answering the question of why you’re looking for a new role.

If you were laid off, say so.

If you’re unemployed, say you’re in a full-time job search and not currently working.

If you’re currently in a job but looking for a better one, then don’t ever badmouth your current employer, but simply say:

“I’m doing well in my current position, but I’m also looking for a career-advancing opportunity that will help me grow. My current company doesn’t have a higher-level opportunity available.”

A response like the sample answer above will satisfy the interviewer.

And of course, if one of your main goals is working remotely and joining a distributed team, then, you can say that, too.

7. Why should we hire you?

Before hiring you for a remote role, a hiring manager will want to test whether you understand the job and are confident that you’re ready to take on the role.

This question isn’t a spot to be shy or say, “I don’t know.”

This is the place in the interview process where you should brag about yourself and talk about your greatest strengths, especially those that relate directly to the work needed for this job.

You can read sample answers to “Why should we hire you?” here.

Also, note that you might also be asked variations of this interview question, such as:

You can answer all three with the same strategy:

  1. Show you understand the job description and role.
  2. Point out your greatest strengths and past experience that fit the job.
  3. Name anything that makes you unique or gives you an advantage over other candidates.

8. What is your home office setup?

Companies often help their remote employees set up a good home office, providing equipment or money to buy your own gear, but it’s still good to demonstrate that you already have a nice space to work from.

So be prepared to answer questions about your home office setup and where you’d do your work.

Also, in any Zoom or video interviews for a remote job, be sure you’re in a space that’s organized and distraction-free. Keep pets and children out of the room, and shut windows to limit noise.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and it applies to video interviews, too…

If you’re saying in the interview that you have a great remote work office setup, but you’re taking the interview from a loud room in your house and constantly asking to pause to handle personal matters, it’s not going to help you secure remote work.

9. How do you prioritize your workday?

If an employer is going to trust you in any of their remote jobs, they’re going to need to be convinced that you can effectively prioritize.

This is an important factor even in an office setting but is even more important for remote employees.

Since a hiring manager won’t be able to observe your work habits each day and offer tips/corrections, they need to be sure you’ll prioritize effectively from day one.

To answer, “How do you prioritize your work?” it’s best to sound like you have a proven system in place. Explain the exact steps you follow.

Feel free to talk about what has worked best for you in past roles, too, even if those previous positions were not remote jobs.

You can discuss tools and technologies you use, as well. Anything from pen and paper to Google Calendar.

There isn’t one “right” answer here, and your system for prioritizing will depend on the industry.

But you should always aim to sound like you have a proven process in place, and that you’re confident in your ability to structure your day and handle the most important tasks on time.

You can read word-for-word sample answers to “How do you prioritize?” here.

10. How do you stay organized?

Next, a hiring manager will want to know how their remote employees are staying organized.

They’re likely to ask you directly, and if you can’t explain clearly, it will be seen as a potential red flag.

So to prove you’ll stay organized as a remote worker, be prepared to show that you have a system and process you follow.

You can discuss how you stay organized within the workday, or across a week or month.

The timeframe will depend on your role.

For example, a customer service representative should talk about how they stay organized within a day.

A construction project manager may want to talk about keeping the project organized and on track throughout the month or year.

Use your best judgement given how long the typical task or assignment lasts in your role.

If you’re unsure what timeframe to discuss, feel free to ask the hiring manager, “Are you looking to hear how I stay organized within the day, or longer term, such as throughout a week?”

Read here for sample answers to “How do you stay organized?”

11. Are you detail oriented?

This remote job interview question is simple: If a hiring manager asks whether you’re detail oriented, you should say “yes”.

They wouldn’t be asking this question if they didn’t think it was an important trait in the remote employee they hire.

So answer “yes” with enthusiasm and then discuss how you’ve applied a detail-oriented approach to past work (or academic work if you have no professional experience to point toward).

As with other remote interview questions, if you can point to an example from a past remote environment, that’s ideal. However, pointing to any prior work experience is great.

If you’ve never been on a remote team, but you’ve worked in more traditional work environments and been detail oriented there, that’s still worth talking about.

Read in-depth examples of paying attention to detail and being detail oriented here.

12. What are your career goals?

In general, hiring managers want to see that their position fits your career goals.

One of their biggest fears is that they hire you, train you, and just as you begin to start producing good work for them, you leave for a better position… such as a role that excites you more or fits your goals more closely.

So they ask upfront about your goals.

And at an even more basic level, they want to see that you’ve put thought into your career goals in general!

So when seeking remote work, don’t forget to also evaluate roles in terms of the job duties, skills involved, learning opportunities for your career, etc.

Stay focused on that for most of the interview and you’ll impress the hiring manager a lot more than if you just talk about working remotely!

Hiring remote employees isn’t that different than hiring any employee in terms of the hiring manager’s mindset, which is why many of the interview questions you’ll hear are also asked in other interviews.

Employers may also ask remote candidates these two related questions:

13. Describe a challenge you faced and how you handled it

When looking for the right remote employee, companies like to hear about challenges you’ve overcome and past examples of problem solving.

Hiring managers believe that if you’ve overcome challenging projects in the past, you’ll be more likely to handle unexpected challenges in the future, too.

And hiring managers need to be able to trust you to handle challenges in a remote role, since you’re not working in-office where immediate help is available.

So in your interview, be ready to talk about one of your most challenging projects and how you overcame the major hurdles.

Make sure to choose a story with a positive outcome and/or a great lesson learned.

Keep your response work-related, too. If you’re a new graduate, you can talk about a challenge in your academic experience.

I don’t recommend sharing a challenge from your personal life unless you have an exceptionally good story that you can relate back to the job you’re discussing.

This article has numerous examples of challenges you may have overcome.

14. Describe your work style

If a company is going to trust you to perform well without a manager nearby, they’re going to want to know your work style.

They’re looking for you to clearly describe how you approach your tasks, and they’re looking to see whether your style matches with the existing remote team.

To answer, you can talk about paying attention to detail, communicating well, thinking creatively, or any number of other skills that fit with the remote work you’ll be performing in this role.

When answering remote job interview questions, try to tailor your answer to the company and job being discussed.

Hiring managers aren’t just looking to see whether you’re impressive/smart overall. They care much more about whether your skills and experiences match up with the exact job they’re hiring for.

That’s a key to interview success for remote work or otherwise.

An interviewer may also ask, “How would your coworkers describe you?” so be ready to share what your past colleagues would say about your work, too (all positive, of course).

15. What is your ideal company culture?

A hiring manager with a successful team wants to maintain that company culture.

The last thing they want to do is bring on a new remote team member who will disrupt that.

So they’ll ask about your ideal company culture or what culture you prefer.

Maintaining culture is more difficult when managing a distributed team, so hiring managers are especially careful of this when hiring for remote jobs.

Before your interview, research the company and review the job posting to understand their environment.

  • Is the culture more formal and traditional? Or more casual and relaxed?
  • Is everyone remote? Or is remote work rare in the company?

These are questions to try to answer during your research. This page has exact steps you can follow.

Once you’ve done your research, give an answer that is genuine and true but that also fits with the company’s current culture and team.

In your interview answer, you can talk about:

  • Strong communication and making sure to avoid misunderstandings
  • Careful planning and organization
  • Attention to detail

These are some common habits among great potential remote workers, so try to demonstrate these traits when the interviewer asks what type of culture you prefer.

Hiring managers are careful to hire people who won’t disrupt/harm the current team. That’s a big factor in terms of what employers look for when hiring.

Aim to show that you’ll mesh with the current team and that you have professional habits to make you a great remote worker.

Note that companies may also ask these two related questions in your remote interview:

16. Can you describe your work ethic?

“Describe your work ethic” is one of the most critical remote job interview questions, especially for first-time remote workers.

If an employer doesn’t trust you to work hard even when nobody is watching, they won’t let you work remotely for them.

Hiring managers are more cautious about work ethic when running a distributed team. They have to believe in you 100% to offer you the job.

So be ready to talk about hard work and bringing a consistent effort, even when the work gets difficult.

It also helps if you can clearly explain why this type of work interests you.

Don’t go into your job interview without reasons for wanting to hold this exact role.

17. What does integrity mean to you?

Employers don’t just care about hard work and productivity; they want ethical and honest workers, too.

So they may ask a question like, “What does integrity mean to you?”

When you work remotely, they want to trust that you’ll work just as well as you would in a traditional office environment.

Not every candidate is up to this task, and employers work hard to only select the candidates who are.

You have to show that you’re 100% trustworthy if you want to be a fully-remote employee.

Visit this page for example interview answers to “What does integrity mean to you?”

18. What motivates you?

There are many perks to working in a remote environment, but one possible risk is that you’re not receiving encouragement and motivation from sitting in an office with your peers.

So hiring managers want to know what motivates you to come to work each day.

In your remote job interview, be ready to share at least one factor that motivates you in this particular industry or job, apart from the money.

Don’t mention working remotely when answering this interview question; focus on discussing the work, the industry, the impact the company is having, etc.

Read here for example answers to “What motivates you?”

19. Do you have any questions for us?

Employers interview a lot of people for each remote role, and they get plenty of applicants.

So they’re going to choose a candidate who comes prepared with great questions and who seems engaged in the interview process.

Always ask questions in your remote work interview.

Not asking questions can cost you the job whether the interview is a phone call, video call, or in person.

Here are examples of interview questions to ask remote employers:

  • How do other remote team members stay organized?
  • What are the company’s team-building opportunities, and how employees make up for the lack of face-to-face socialization in remote working?
  • What are the different communication platforms that the existing team uses to stay aligned?
  • What is the most challenging project that the group is tackling right now?
  • What do you wish you knew before you worked remotely?
  • What are some initial goals for the role, for example, “what would success look like in the first 90 days here?” or “what are you hoping someone new can bring to the role?”

Read here for more killer interview questions to ask employers.

Conclusion: Common Interview Questions for Remote Jobs

Pursuing remote work is competitive and these positions are highly sought-after.

Working remotely requires employees to be trustworthy, organized, and competent, and employers typically grill candidates with tough questions.

They’ll ask why you want to work remotely, why you think you’re up to the challenge, and why this particular role made you want to apply…

…Plus every other topic that we looked at above.

Practice the questions in the list above, be ready to impress employers with your communication skills and organization, and conclude with great questions of your own.

That’s how to show a remote company that you’re the right person to hire.

Biron Clark

About the Author

Read more articles by Biron Clark