Top Questions to Ask Remote Companies in Your Virtual Interviews
Remote Job Hunting
Asking these virtual interview questions will help you learn more about the remote jobs you’re considering and impress hiring managers at the same time.
Have you ever drawn a blank during an interview when the hiring manager asks if you have any questions for them?
Most candidates spend so much time preparing answers that they forget to jot down some virtual interview questions of their own.
And that could be the kiss of death for your chances of landing the role.
After all, the state of remote work has been ultra-competitive thanks to COVID-19. More people are choosing to work from home. And companies have even more candidates to consider as they open positions to the global talent pool.
Since it’s harder to read your body language and subtle clues virtually than in-person, asking intelligent, thought-provoking questions gives you another opportunity to show hiring teams more about yourself.
So in today’s guide, you’ll find 70+ virtual interview questions to ask remote companies. You don’t have to use all of them, but asking a few is definitely in your best interest.
Why You Must Ask Questions During Your Virtual Interview
It’s a major red flag to hiring managers, recruiters, and potential employers when you don’t ask any questions during a job interview. It could signal everything from not being interested in the position or disliking the company to thinking you know more than you do.
On the other hand, asking the right virtual interview questions:
Shows you’ve done your homework. Researching a company before an interview tells hiring teams that you’re serious about the organization/position and eager to learn more.
Leaves a memorable first impression. An interview is, essentially, a conversation to get to know you as a professional. As you ask follow-up questions, you’ll come across as a good listener and build a solid rapport with your interviewer. This dialogue may help you stand out from your competitors.
Helps you make an informed decision.An interview allows companies and recruiters to gather intel about whether you’re the right candidate for the position/organization. But it’s also your chance to find out whether a top remote company is right for you. Ask questions about things that matter to you in a role, remote work environment, company mission, etc.
Now that you know to come prepared with questions, let’s go over a few examples.
The Best Virtual Interview Questions to Ask Remote Companies About…
When remote companies conduct virtual interviews, they’ll give you a specific date, time, and platform (such as Skype or Zoom) to meet. This should provide plenty of time to research and write questions about:
The Company Culture, Core Values, and Mission
To get a true understanding of whether you’ll enjoy working for a remote company, you’ll need to know more about what they stand for, care about, and strive to achieve. Dive deeper than the messaging on their website and social media profiles with questions such as:
- How would you describe the company’s culture?
- Can you explain the company’s mission?
- What core values does the company emphasize?
- What does the company do to help the community/world?
- What type of people thrive in this organization?
- Which employees best represent the company culture, and why?
Answers to these questions will give you a better idea of what the company stresses to its employees, and whether you’ll fit in.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I)
Active community outreach, inclusive hiring practices, and a diverse upper management team are some of the best signs a remote company is committed to DE&I. If you didn’t notice these during your initial research or hear about them during your interview, don’t hesitate to ask questions.
Companies should be happy to discuss their commitment to DE&I. And it’s easy to bring up by asking:
- Can you share more about your policies for diversity, equity, and inclusivity?
- Can you describe some of the company’s inclusive workplace practices?
- How does your company plan to expand DE&I initiatives in the future?
- Does your company offer DE&I training? If so, how often? Is it company-wide?
- What about DE&I community outreach?
Answers to these questions will shed light on whether the DE&I buzzwords in the job ad were all talk or actually authentic.
Success, Future Growth, and Company Goals
No matter which remote company you interview with, it pays to know the organization’s bigger picture. This roadmap should help you decide whether you see yourself working toward these goals in the next few months or years.
Feel free to ask:
- How does the company define success?
- What are the company’s top three goals for this year? The next five years?
- How do you anticipate evolving with the industry in the next 5/10 years?
- Can you describe the company’s biggest challenges? How is the company prepared to tackle those challenges?
- How does this role impact the organization/help address its biggest obstacles?
- Can you walk me through pivotal revenue milestones from the last few years?
Answers to these questions may give you opportunities to show off your strategic side and explain how you’ll add value.
Recent Industry News
As you research remote companies, check out industry news stories, press releases, articles shared by the organization’s C-suite, etc. These nuggets of intel will help you gain familiarity with the company’s current issues and provide talking points to discuss during your interview.
Questions along these lines convey that you’re up-to-speed, analytical, and curious about how you can contribute both now and in the future:
- How has the recent merger affected the company? The employees? Your goals?
- How is the new CEO’s leadership impacting the company?
- Where would I fit into the company’s plan to regain market share lost to your competitor?
- Where are you experiencing the highest growth? The sharpest decline? How will this impact the position?
Make sure to follow up these answers with examples of how you can help the company handle flux and achieve its mission.
The Position (Expectations, Job Duties, Responsibilities, etc.)
To ensure you’re happy, productive, and stick around, it’s best to get on the same page about what each position entails right from the start. Ask your interviewer to expand on the basic responsibilities listed in the job ad to paint a picture of your daily work life.
Use these questions to uncover more about the position, how the company sees someone in this role, and what they expect:
- How long has this position existed? Is it a new position?
- Where does this role fit within the company? How does it help meet objectives/goals?
- Can you describe a typical workday for someone in this role?
- What are the primary priorities in this job?
- How would you describe the ideal candidate for this position?
- What qualities/skills/competencies will be needed most for this position?
- What are the most challenging aspects of this role?
- What do you expect from new employees in 3 months/6 months/1 year?
- How do you define an excellent vs. poor job in this position?
- Can you give me an example of a best result produced by someone in this role?
These answers will help you weigh all your options equally to make an informed decision.
Many on-premises companies switched to a remote work style during the pandemic. While some organizations want their employees to return to the office, others are encouraging their teams to create a flexible workspace from home.
Unless you know a company is fully-remote (i.e., doesn’t have any employees working in a centralized location), you’ll want to ask:
- What is your remote work policy?
- Will the company continue remote work or experiment with a hybrid model?
- Would you describe your remote workforce as well-established or in a building/hiring phase?
- How much of the team works remotely?
- How would you describe the remote work environment?
- How do you help your team work from home and find productivity and motivation?
Don’t be surprised if your interviewer doesn’t have all the answers here. Companies are still trying to figure out their best course of action post-COVID-19.
It’s often said that employees join companies but leave managers. So it’s crucial that you understand what management expects and feel comfortable with how they lead the team, handle mistakes, convey goals, etc.
These questions will help determine how they manage a high-performing remote team:
- What’s the company’s overall management style?
- How much interaction will this position have with upper management?
- Can you tell me about the person I will be directly reporting to? Can you explain the chain of command/reporting structure from there?
- Who will measure my performance? How will my performance be measured?
- How does management handle employee mistakes? Difficult customers/clients?
Now, if a supervisor or direct manager is interviewing you, ask questions such as:
- How would you describe your management style?
- What do you expect of someone in this position?
- How do you measure success/failure? How do you reward/handle both?
- How do you like to communicate with your team? Do you prefer synchronous or asynchronous communication?
- What is your ideal employee like? Can you describe the type of employee who works well with you?
- What are the most important traits for someone in your department?
- What’s your approach to solving problems?
- What are the most important assignments that need to be accomplished within the first few months in this position?
- What’s the speed of the workflow? Is there a tight deadline calendar?
- Which remote tools and software does the team use?
Answers here should help you figure out whether your work style meshes with your supervisor’s management style (and if you’ll be happy playing by their rules).
Working with a Remote Team
One of the best practices for entering the remote workforce is to become familiar with the most popular cloud-based tools and software. Chances are, you’ll be using communication apps like Slack to keep in touch with your remote team members and project management tools like Trello or Asana to stay ahead of deadlines.
It helps to ask questions about the team you may join, such as:
- What groups/departments will this role be working with?
- Can you tell me about the other employees in this department?
- What is the department structure like? What are the team dynamics like?
- Please rank the team’s daily collaboration on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being not very collaborative (i.e., more solo work than teamwork) and 10 being a daily discussion/team meeting.
- Can you describe your practices for remote team-building?
- How often does the team communicate? How do they prefer to communicate?
- Do employees work/collaborate in different time zones?
Insight here should provide a better idea of how everyone works together and your potential place within the department.
Employee Development / Career Advancement
Industry leaders know professional and personal development catapults your career. So companies that invest in their people often maintain a cutting-edge workforce excited to grow with the organization.
Questions to gauge a company’s commitment to ongoing learning and training include:
- How does the company support employee development?
- How often do employees receive training or continuing education opportunities?
- Is there a college tuition/certification reimbursement program?
- Are there mentor-mentee programs in place?
Along these same lines, you should also ask if there’s a chance to advance in your career at the organization. Try:
- Can you describe a typical career path/promotion tier for someone in this role?
- How long does an employee typically stay in this role?
- What opportunities for advancement does the company offer?
- Does the company tend to promote from within?
It’s best to know ahead of time whether you’ll have a career path to follow or can’t advance any further.
The Next Steps in the Hiring Process
As your virtual interview wraps up, you’ll want to address any concerns you may have about the position that your interviewer has not touched on. This is your best opportunity to discuss issues before they make a hiring decision.
Questions to close your interview include:
- Can you walk me through the next steps of the hiring process?
- When do you aim to fill this position?
- Do you have any concerns about my ability to fulfill the job requirements?
- How can I show you that I’m the right person for this position?
- May I contact you if I think of any other questions?
Make sure to follow up and send a thank-you note after your interview expressing how pleased you were to discuss the role and company.
Now Save and Share these 70+ Virtual Interview Questions
It’s not easy to job hunt and find work during a pandemic. But making it to the elusive interview round may be the last hurdle you need to overcome to land the role you’ve been chasing.
Keep these virtual interview questions handy, adapt them for each position, and you’ll impress hiring managers and learn enough about each role to make the best decision for your future.
We know job hunting depression is real. If you’re looking for expert tips to strengthen your remote job search, check out the We Work Remotely Learning Portal next. You’ll find free help with resume writing, networking, career coaching, and so much more!
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