[This article originally appeared on the Virtual Vocations blog here.]
If you’re new to telecommuting or returning to a home-based work model after some time away in an onsite position, a remote interview can seem daunting. Allow us to ease your reservations about virtual job interviews with this list of six common remote interview questions telecommute-friendly employers are likely to ask, and advice on how to formulate your answers:
Interview Question 1: Tell me about yourself.
This classic ice-breaker is used to test the applicant’s ability to summarize information and organize thoughts. Think of it as a 30-second elevator pitch that sells the best product around–you!
When constructing your answer to this remote interview question, focus on your most recent professional history. Discuss what you learned at previous positions and what major strengths you accrued. At the end of your elevator pitch, come full circle by relating your professional experience to how you can use it to benefit your prospective employer.
Interview Question 2: What is your greatest strength?
Here’s where the job description for the position to which you are applying is particularly useful. Review the core competencies required and choose one to discuss when asked this question during your remote interview. Perhaps your greatest strength is your rapid response time or exceptional customer service ability. Whatever the case, ensure you can back up your claim with a couple of examples.
Interview Question 3: What is your greatest weakness?
We all have our weaknesses, but, during a remote job interview, don’t think of them as flaws. Instead, frame a professional drawback as a learning curve by talking about steps you have taken overcome an issue. Mention professional development you’ve undergone and classes or webinars you’ve taken to brush up on the latest in industry software, for example. Doing this will allow your self-awareness to shine and speak volumes to your hirability.
Interview Question 4: How would you handle it if…?
Ah, the scenario question. When a hiring manager asks this question in a remote interview the employer is looking to gauge your ability to problem solve, especially under pressure. Think back to your last job; when something went wrong, how did you deal with it? Use the Triple D outline for answering the question:
- Describe the problem
- Detail your solution
- Divulge the outcome
That’s it — keep it simple and avoid rants or extraneous details.
Interview Question 5: Do you have any questions for us?
If not, you should! Spend some serious time drumming up one or two questions from the job description that you can ask your employer toward the end of your remote interview. As you develop your questions, consider the company’s daily delegation process, communication platforms, your relationship to your superior, or other aspects of company culture that are important to you.
Bonus Tip: Know that the employer isn’t just interviewing you, you’re also interviewing your prospective employer. If you think of your interview in these terms, it’ll feel less like a test and more like a discussion of mutual interests.
Interview Question 6: Why should we hire you?
There are several variations of this question like, “Why would you be a great fit for this company?” or “What will you bring to role that no one else can?” No matter what form the question takes, your answer should be the same: you are unique, and explain why.
While elaborating on your most desired attributes, avoid industry clichés such as hardworking, a team player, or detail-oriented. Talk about how you’re mission-driven, how the company’s professional goals are aligned with your own, or how your background in a different field will strengthen your skill set in this position.