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Five key questions to ask when interviewing for a remote position (Sponsored by Payworks)

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While it’s no secret that the “world of work” has changed a lot in recent years, these changes have made it increasingly conventional wisdom that you can build an effective team from pretty much anywhere! And if you’re looking to add some star bookkeepers to your team, you’re no longer limited to seeking talent that just so happens to be close to home.

Feeling skeptical about what you might be missing by interviewing potential staff remotely? Fear not!

While in-person and remote interviews are different from each other in many ways, they also have a major goal in common: to read between the lines and assess what a candidate is really telling you about themselves.

Whether it’s deducing an applicant’s time management skills from their interview punctuality to getting a sense of their capacity for teamwork from their career success stories, there’s lots to learn from all parts of the interview experience.

There are also some key questions you can ask – some directly related to remote work and others that are likely familiar from in-person conversations – when evaluating a candidate for a remote work position! Here are a few to get you started:

1. How do you manage your time while working remotely?

The applicant should ideally respond with concrete strategies and examples of how they not only keep themselves organized and on track, but also how they mindfully disconnect so as to prevent burnout. You’re looking for proof that they can work independently and prioritize their time effectively – on and off the clock.

2. How do you deal with stress?

While this question is pretty standard – candidates will typically respond with stories of how they met and overcame work challenges in the past – it also acknowledges that each of us has likely developed some new coping skills throughout the recent global pandemic. These skills are transferrable even now that those days are behind us, and should be buoyed by a willingness to reach out for help as needed.

3. How would you build connections in a new and virtual work environment?

An applicant’s answer to this question can reveal both their interest in building relationships with their new team and their creativity in doing so under remote or hybrid circumstances. Ask yourself how this candidate’s strategies would complement the team already in place and work for the role in question!

4. How do you learn most effectively?

This is a great question no matter where your team is working! But are the candidate’s preferred methods of learning a good fit within a remote environment? And if not, is there potential and willingness to work together to identify a different solution that works for both parties?

5. What are you looking for in a new opportunity?

This one’s a classic for a reason! Beyond figuring out what career growth or transition opportunities they’re seeking, this can also be helpful in assessing what else motivates a change. Hiring is much more than checking all the requirements boxes; it’s also about finding the right complement when it comes to both work and personal values. Discovering the candidate’s purpose – what drives them to get out of bed every morning – can become a great opportunity to share your own team’s core values.

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