Do you HATE interviews? They’re a necessary evil if you want to get the job you desire, and for many people nowadays that means something home-based. This list of work from home interview questions is designed to help you to prepare.
Like most people, I don’t particularly like interviews either. But I do know just how valuable they are.
You see, an interview is all about who you are and how good a fit you are with the company. It is not really about your skills or experience. If the company is not already pretty confident that you meet their requirements, you won’t even get a chance to answer interview questions.
Still, you can certainly blow a job opportunity you almost had in the bag by performing poorly on an interview. Being prepared is crucial – especially if you have never done a remote interview before!
With that in mind, we have put together some tips and 20 work from home interview questions (along with some answer suggestions) to help you go into your interview for a remote job feeling confident and prepared.
IMPORTANT: These are SAMPLE answers. Do NOT read these out like a script!
- Getting Ready for Your Remote Interview
- 20 Common Work From Home Interview Questions
- Do you have experience working from home?
- Why do you want to work from home?
- What is your biggest concern about working from home?
- What is your favourite thing about working from home?
- How do you balance your work and personal life?
- What is your home office like?
- How do you manage your schedule?
- How do you go about prioritizing tasks?
- What do you do to remain motivated?
- How do you cope with isolation?
- What methods or tools do you use to organize your work?
- Do you have any experience collaborating on team projects in a remote work environment?
- How do you handle conflict?
- How do you ensure that you are communicating effectively with your coworkers?
- How would you manage a complex project in which you can only communicate asynchronously?
- How would you solve a problem if the rest of your remote team is offline?
- What would you do if a project is falling behind schedule and you risk missing a deadline?
- Tell me about a time you had a problem at work and how you resolved it.
- Why do you think you would be a good fit for this role?
- What are your future goals?
- Closing the Home Working Interview
- Additional Advice for Work From Home Interviews
Getting Ready for Your Remote Interview
You should get ready to answer work from home interview questions just as you would for an in-office interview. But there are simply a few additional steps you need to take.
Researching the company, reviewing the job posting and your application, and picking out appropriate clothes should all be somewhat familiar to you. Now you need to turn your attention to the elements unique to a remote interview.
The first thing you should do, if at all possible, is become familiar with the software you need to use. You want to be as comfortable as possible with it beforehand. Even if you have used the software before, it is worth taking the time to note minor details such as how long it takes for the application to open.
You don’t want to show up late because Zoom or Skype took longer than expected to open and then start apologizing, before the audio connection is fully established.
Do not let technical issues create more stress, you already have enough to worry about!
Ensure you have a good location for the interview. You need to consider the sound, the lighting, and how professional the background looks. If you do not have the luxury of a dedicated home office, you can stage your setup so that the interviewers will see little more than the wall behind you.
Do not attempt to use a fake digital background in an interview. Leave those for the family Zoom quizzes.
Once you have tested all of the setups, try to persuade a friend to give you a mock interview. This dry run will provide valuable feedback and should help you feel more confident.
On the day of the interview, ensure you are ready ahead of time. Remind members of your household. Get dressed. Set up your equipment. Have copies of your resume, application and any notes at hand. Turn off your phone.
Although it is common etiquette to arrive for an in-person interview 10 minutes before the scheduled time, this is a little too long for a remote interview. I would aim to join the virtual call five minutes ahead of the scheduled time.
20 Common Work From Home Interview Questions
Do you have experience working from home?
Purpose: Working from home is not for everyone. The interviewer wants to make sure that you are ready to face the challenges of working remotely. They will be looking for time management skills, your comfort level with technology, and communication skills.
Side gigs and personal projects can easily bolster your relevant experience as they require similar skills.
“I have limited experience working from home since I only started doing it due to the COVID restrictions. However, I have enjoyed it.
I find that I am much more productive when I am in control of my schedule and can create ways to do my work more efficiently. Being able to work without interruptions was great. I didn’t find that I missed social interactions with coworkers at all.
Using Zoom meetings and email to keep in touch and to collaborate on projects was easier than I expected. I think this is because I have used those tools a lot when working on a personal project to compile my family history. Over the years, as I have worked on that project, I have developed lasting friendships with people I have never even met.”
Why do you want to work from home?
Purpose: The purpose of this remote work interview question is to get to know you better. It is also to see if having limited supervision is likely to affect your productivity. You should focus on how working from home will enable you to be a better employee.
“I am naturally an early riser and working at home allows me to start work earlier. This makes it possible for me to get a lot more done as I can make significant progress before I need to start participating in meetings or responding to communications.
In a traditional office it was hard to find large blocks of uninterrupted time that would allow me to focus on my work. Having more control over my schedule makes me more productive at work. This also makes it easier for me to switch off at the end of the day and enjoy time with my family.”
What is your biggest concern about working from home?
Purpose: The interviewer wants to know that you are aware of the challenges of working from home and that you are prepared to meet them. They want to see that you are aware of weaknesses and willing to take action to minimize their impact.
“My biggest concern is my ability to learn from others on the team. Since there is not the same level of casual interaction as you might find in an office, I know that I will need to be very intentional about building my relationships with my coworkers. Having a deeper relationship makes it easier to ask for help and share knowledge.
I think remote work requires you to be a lot more honest and open with yourself and others for you to succeed and grow professionally. Additionally, I would definitely take advantage of any learning opportunities or skills workshops that are available.”
What is your favourite thing about working from home?
Purpose: This question is designed to see your professional drive, your work ethic and your understanding of the challenges of working from home. Ensure your answer is related to work!
“What I enjoy most is being able to organize my work according to my needs. Starting work early allows me to gain a lot of uninterrupted time to power through the most important tasks of the day. Sharing project updates is much more efficient using project management software. I no longer lose time tracking down my coworkers.
If I do need more information than they have provided I can easily follow up with them. I can also make sure that my team meetings are shorter and more productive by providing material for the team members to review before the meeting.
Although I do sometimes miss working side by side with a team, it is still possible to build strong relationships. The greater efficiency when working makes it easier to set aside time for team building activities.”
How do you balance your work and personal life?
Purpose: The interviewer wants to make sure that you have taken adequate measures to separate your work life from your personal life in order for you to be productive and avoid burnout. This is one of the toughest things to achieve and so they want to ensure that you have techniques in place to help you cope.
“I try to keep the two separate in the same way that I would in a traditional office. Developing my own work routine and having a dedicated workspace allows me to focus more when working and to switch off during my lunch break and after work.
I even set an alarm to mark the end of work periods to avoid wasting time checking the clock. Once the alarm sounds, I quickly wrap up what I am doing and then take a quick ten-minute walk. It serves as a great way to clear my mind and remind me that I am done with work.”
What is your home office like?
Purpose: The interviewer wants to know that you have an appropriate setup to enable you to work effectively and without compromising your health. You should let the interviewer know if you do not yet have access to something that the job requires.
“I have converted our spare bedroom into an office to allow me to have a dedicated workspace away from any distractions. Although I have a desk, ergonomic chair, and high-speed internet, I do not have a dedicated work computer. I plan to purchase a computer exclusively for work but I currently have to use my personal laptop. Encryption and a VPN help me to ensure data security.”
How do you manage your schedule?
Purpose: The interviewer wants to see that you are a self-starter. They want to learn how you manage your time. This is a good time to indicate whether you prefer to work traditional business hours or not. Be sure to justify how you organize your time.
“I like to split my work day into two blocks. Starting work early in the morning gives me a chance to focus on important tasks. I usually take a long break in the middle of the day. This allows me to do some exercise as well as have lunch. Being able to relax enables me to come back to work refreshed. It has also made it easier for me to communicate with coworkers in other time zones.
I always check my email and instant messages at the start of each block. This ensures I do not miss anything important and helps me avoid continuously checking email. Where possible I schedule meetings for the afternoon block, having already taken care of the most important and urgent tasks during my focused morning block.”
How do you go about prioritizing tasks?
Purpose: People often confuse important and urgent tasks or struggle to organize their schedule. The interviewer wants to make sure that you know how to organize your work and prioritize well.
“I use Trello to organize all of my tasks. This allows me to easily keep track of all my tasks as well as visualize how they impact tasks assigned to other members of my team. I can easily group important tasks, track deadlines, highlight urgent tasks, and mark tasks as completed.
Having everything organized visually in one place allows me to quickly establish my daily tasks and enables me to take care of urgent issues without compromising important objectives.”
What do you do to remain motivated?
Purpose: Remote workers need to be self-motivated and able to keep working without a lot of supervision. The interviewer is looking to see what your work ethic is like and how you will avoid distractions.
“I think the key to motivation is being passionate about what you do. That being said, I do sometimes have to rely on my routine to keep me going when I have a bad day. Having a dedicated workspace and an established schedule definitely helps me to mentally and physically separate my work from everything else that may be going on in my life.
I like being able to work alone in a quiet environment as it allows me to focus on the task at hand. Getting into the flow makes work so much easier and faster.
Establishing clear work goals and tracking tasks in relation to those goals also gives me a real sense of achievement. It is hard not to be motivated when you can see how much you are getting done. On days where I do find that I am struggling a little, reaching out to my coworkers for support always helps.”
How do you cope with isolation?
Purpose: Working at home alone, with limited interactions with your coworkers, can often lead to a sense of isolation. The interviewer wants to know how you plan to engage with your coworkers and that you have other social interactions outside of work.
“I work well on my own and don’t miss the interruptions that arise when you work in an office. That being said, I find it really important to connect with my coworkers. I always make sure to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the company for workers to socialize.
I also make a conscious effort to get to know colleagues more and more as we interact on projects. Planning at least one social activity with family or friends each week also helps. Nothing can quite replace physically getting together with other people to relax and have a good time.”
What methods or tools do you use to organize your work?
Purpose: Organization is a very important part of being productive but it can be very difficult to tell how well organized someone is when they work from home. Explaining your organization system will help the interviewer see how you will be able to keep on track with all your different tasks.
“In my job at the moment we use GDocs to be able to easily share or work on team documents. We also use Trello to organize and track tasks. I find that having these group tools is very useful as it helps keep us on the same page, even though I personally prefer to use different software.
Organizing my files according to projects helps me keep track of documents as teams will sometimes change. I have also developed the habit of not considering a task completed until I have logged my progress. This helps to ensure that my team and I are always working with up-to-date information.”
Do you have any experience collaborating on team projects in a remote work environment?
Purpose: Working remotely requires team members to make additional efforts to communicate. The interviewer wants to know that you can take the initiative to ensure the completion of tasks in order to deliver a project.
“I haven’t worked exactly like this previously but I do have a lot of experience collaborating remotely with others. I always seem to be the designated person when it comes to organizing big family events. For example, I had to coordinate with family members spread all over the world to get videos and scrapbook contributions ahead of my grandfather’s 90th birthday. It really taught me a lot about the importance of planning ahead, setting deadlines, tracking communication, and following up with people.
I quickly discovered that I had more success if I used the communication tools that each family member was most comfortable with. It also became clear that while some people needed little more than an email describing the task, others required more of a face-to-face style explanation in the form of video chats.
Thankfully, previous experiences had taught me to leave plenty of lead time to handle such issues and I was able to put together a wonderful presentation on the day of the celebration.”
How do you handle conflict?
Purpose: This question is designed to see how much of a people pleaser you are. For remote teams to work successfully, issues need to be addressed, but conflicts should be avoided.
“I pre-empt situations where conflict could arise. Frequent communication that is open, honest and respectful will usually allow for any issues or differences of opinion to be resolved amicably.
I will always try to find a nice way to address the problem, but I will address it. Avoiding issues to please others only leads to greater conflict further down the line.”
How do you ensure that you are communicating effectively with your coworkers?
Purpose: Remote work depends on the ability of workers to communicate with each other and their managers. Working in a traditional office does not usually require you to provide updates as frequently.
The goal here is to see what tools and methods you will use so that you can communicate promptly and effectively without constantly interrupting your workflow.
“I think it is really important to work out how communication fits together then you take a new job or get assigned to a new team. Unless the expectations are higher, I would normally carve out two daily blocks for sending and responding to emails. I would inform my manager and my team of what I will be working on and if I anticipate any major deviations in my normal schedule at the start of each day.
At the end of each week, I would send a progress report. I would use the instant messaging tool for urgent messages and also ensure that I respond rapidly to instant messages. I find that having open and frequent communications makes it easy to reach out for clarification whenever necessary.”
How would you manage a complex project in which you can only communicate asynchronously?
Purpose: This question is designed to reveal your time management and communication skills.
“I do not find asynchronous communication to pose any real issue – especially when it is taken into consideration at the start of a project. I like to ensure that deadlines are set in such a way that there is ample time for communication between team members. This means that my teams need to get to work quickly and be in constant communication.
If every member of the team is active in communicating progress and issues then it doesn’t matter if the communication is asynchronous. I usually find that my team and I quickly adjust to the response time of other team members and start factoring it in automatically. Project management tools that allow easy visualization of the workflow, like Trello, can be very useful for keeping everyone on the same page.”
How would you solve a problem if the rest of your remote team is offline?
Purpose: Remote workers need to be able to work and make decisions independently. The interviewer wants to gauge your capacity to move forward with work as well as your ability to decide when you need to wait for support.
“If it is a problem that I have dealt with before or know how to resolve then I would simply take care of it. After solving the problem I would log the incident or send out a notification to the relevant team members so that they are aware of what has occurred.
On the other hand, if I am not sure how to resolve the issue and there are no company procedures that can help me, I would contact my team. If it is urgent I would use instant messages but otherwise I would send out an email.”
What would you do if a project is falling behind schedule and you risk missing a deadline?
Purpose: The interviewer wants to see that you can take accountability, deal with potential failures, and learn from your mistakes. This type of work from home interview question needs to be handled carefully.
“I would identify the cause of the problem and discuss the matter with my manager as quickly as possible. Depending on the type and cause of the problem, it may be possible to get the project back on track by allocating further resources to it.
On other occasions, changes to the project or its deadline may be needed. In my previous job, I supervised a team in putting together a training manual for new employees. Unfortunately, one of the team members fell sick and was off work for two weeks. I knew that I could either wait for that team member to return or find someone else in their area of expertise to provide the necessary information. I approached my manager and explained that the sick team member had expertise that no one else could adequately provide.
In the end, my manager agreed that it was better to miss the deadline in order to produce a better training manual. I’m really glad I talked to my manager instead of pushing blindly to meet the deadline because years later that segment has never needed to be revised or updated.”
Tell me about a time you had a problem at work and how you resolved it.
Purpose: The interviewer wants to learn how you respond when faced with a difficult situation. Demonstrating your work style and how you resolve problems can allow them to see if you are a good fit for the company and the role.
“In my prior role, I was responsible for supervising and training the interns that joined our team. On one occasion we received an intern who relied on their charm to get by. I began to work more closely with the intern to ensure that her approach was not a cover or a coping mechanism because she did not understand the tasks assigned to her.
Having clarified that this was not the case, I proceeded to explain to her how completing her assigned tasks played a vital role in the success of the team. I also demonstrated how those tasks would teach her skills that would help advance her career. Nothing seemed to make a difference. So, one day, I invited her for a coffee and a chat.
It turned out that she had been pressured to take the position by her family. After talking with her about her interests and goals it was clear that she was much better suited to a role in human resources. Having that discussion enabled us to mutually agree that the best thing was to terminate her internship and for her to start building her career by finding a more appropriate position.”
Why do you think you would be a good fit for this role?
Purpose: While this question is a chance to show off your skills and abilities, be sure to tie them to the role you are applying for. The interviewer wants to see that you understand what they are looking for and that you will mesh well with the company culture. Make sure to research the company!
“I want to do work that makes a difference and I have been following how your company has helped many small businesses in the area. In the job listing, you say that you are looking for someone willing to learn, detail-oriented, and highly motivated and I believe that I am all of those things.
In my prior job, I was tasked with drafting a legal agreement that no-one believed could get approved. I had to convince all those involved that it was possible to save the funding in question, get approval for the terms and conditions, and create a legal agreement that looked nothing like the boilerplate agreements normally used.
It took countless meetings and document redrafts but my hard work paid off. I not only managed to save the money but also earned the respect of many of my colleagues.”
What are your future goals?
Purpose: The interviewer wants to see that you have planned your career and that you are going to stick around. You should talk about how your professional goals tie in with the position that you are applying for.
“My ultimate goal is to become a production director for a digital marketing agency. I know that I will need to learn a lot about marketing, advertising, and content creation to succeed in this industry. That is why I would love to be accepted into your digital advertising internship.
Your company is a leader in the field. Working for you would really help me to develop professionally and learn the skills I need to take me to the next level. I want to be a valued employee and to advance to positions of higher responsibility as my skills and experience grow.”
Closing the Home Working Interview
You might be tempted to breathe a huge sigh of relief once you have answered the last work from home interview question. But you are not quite finished yet.
In fact, this is perhaps the most important part of the interview.
This is your last chance to impress your interviewer and to see if you and the company will be a good fit.
You should take this opportunity to learn more about the company culture. Ask questions about how and why they do things the way they do. If you have done your research well and are thoughtful in your questions, this can really make you stand out. It could also reveal aspects of the company which may make you decide that this isn’t for you after all.
Check to see if they have any concerns about how you would adapt to the role. Then address these concerns, taking care to highlight your strengths.
You could also ask about the short-term goals for the role in order to be able to specifically address their needs, show off your skills, and demonstrate your genuine interest in the position.
You should also take this opportunity to ensure that you are clear on what the next steps are. It is perfectly okay to ask when you can expect to hear a decision. You may also want to get the interviewer’s email, if you do not already have it, so that you can send them a thank you note.
After ensuring that the interviewer does not need any further information or documentation from you, thank them for taking the time to interview you. Etiquette dictates that you should allow the interviewer to end the call but if they are clearly waiting for you to do it, then go ahead. You don’t want a clumsy end to an awesome interview!
Additional Advice for Work From Home Interviews
- Remember that this is about finding the right fit. You wouldn’t be asked to interview if they did not think you were qualified.
- Be aware of your body language. In a work-from-home role, you will probably do most, if not all, of your interacting from a distance. You do not want to give the interviewer the impression that you are uncomfortable in virtual meetings.
- Be yourself. Remember that, if successful, you may well end up working directly with your interviewer. It is never too early to start building a connection with them as long as you are professional about it.
- Remote work requires excellent communication skills and a high level of comfort with technology. Make sure to highlight these qualities.
- Tell stories. Where possible use examples and tell stories when answering work from home interview questions. Stories help us connect, they make the information more memorable. Sensory information and comparisons grab the listener’s attention.
- Try to keep calm if something goes wrong. A properly handled technical glitch or interruption by a child could actually earn you some points. After all, one of their major concerns is how an employee will respond to unforeseen circumstance and difficulties.
Hopefully, these work from home interview questions and tips will have helped you feel more prepared. I wish you every success in your interview.
I would also recommend you check out the following advice from remote work experts to ensure your remote working career gets off to the best possible start. If you’re undecided between remote working and freelancing, have a listen to this podcast.
Karen Fleming is a writer, translator, and teacher with more than 10 years of freelance experience. When she isn’t reading, writing, or taking yet another online class, she is probably doing some one-on-one tutoring or enjoying a good movie with her husband and two daughters.