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3 Work from Home Interview Questions You Must be Ready to Answer

3 Work from Home Interview Questions You Must be Ready to Answer

Before any job interview, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the basic interview questions. You can almost guarantee an interviewer to ask you questions like, “Can you walk me through your resume?” or “What achievement are you most proud of?” But with remote work opportunities on the rise, there are a few more questions you should be prepared to answer. Here are three work-from-home interview questions you can expect to answer in your next interview.

What does your work from home setup look like?

If you are interviewing for a remote opportunity, your interviewer will likely ask what your work-from-home setup looks like. Most of us worked from home at some point, thanks to the pandemic. However, if you will be working from home permanently, your prospective employer will likely inquire about your remote setup to ensure you have a good workstation. Now, you don’t necessarily have to have a home office, but the interviewer will want to hear that you have a designated area to work from home. Whether that’s a desk in your guest room or your dining room table, your interviewers will want to hear that you have an area that is devoted to your workday. Basically, they want to ensure that you are not working on the floor in your living room while the tv is blaring in the background to distract you.

How do you collaborate with your team in a remote work environment?

Good communication and collaboration are essential in any work environment. However, when you’re not working in person with your colleagues or manager, it can be more challenging to work together. Thus, an interviewer will likely ask how you collaborate with your team while working from home. When answering this question, you want to share how you take the initiative to work with your team on projects and other tasks successfully. You can share what tools you use to communicate with your team and the types of meetings you have.

For example, you can share that you frequently chat with your teammates using Microsoft Teams and you meet once a week for a video chat to strategize about tackling your ongoing projects. As long as you can express to your interviewers that you can successfully collaborate with your team virtually, you will be in good shape.

What were some of the challenges you’ve faced while working from home?

This question is similar to an interviewer asking about overcoming conflict or difficult situations in the workplace. Working from home brings unique challenges, and interviewers will want to know how you have overcome them in the past. When answering this question, provide an example and details on how you overcame the situation. Focus your response on the solution rather than the problem itself. Whether that be work-life balance, isolation, or obtaining information vital to your role; the hiring manager will want to understand the steps you took to conquer this issue. The problem itself is not essential, but the resolution is because you will face obstacles in any remote work environment, and it’s vital to prove that you are capable of triumphing through those hurdles.

So, those are the three work-from-home interview questions you must be able to answer. If you are looking for more interview advice, take a look at our blog! We have tons of helpful interview tips and tricks to help you secure your next remote job!

How to Respond to “Walk Me Through Your Resume”

How to Respond to “Walk Me Through Your Resume”

At the beginning of a job interview, the hiring manager will typically start the meeting off with an introductory or ice breaker question. This question usually is some iteration of, “Tell me a little more about yourself.” However, some interviewers may also begin an interview by saying, “Can you walk me through your resume?” So, what’s the difference in this interview question, and what are hiring managers looking for in your response?

What the interviewer is looking for

When an interviewer asks you to walk them through your resume, they are looking for a brief overview of your work history. Essentially, this is your elevator pitch of who you are and highlights what you bring to the table. This question is your chance to connect the dots between your experience, skill sets, and qualifications to paint a picture of your candidacy to the hiring team. In other words, it’s kind of like audibly going through the same details you would share in a cover letter but with a human element since you have the platform to present it face-to-face in your meeting.

Tailor your answer

So, now you know why interviews ask you to walk them through your resume, how do you formulate your answer? Well, just like your resume, you must tailor your response here to fit the role you are interviewing for. The things you touch on must be relevant for the position you are meeting about. If you don’t have certain qualifications that are imperative for this position, this is your opportunity to elaborate on your transferrable skills. If you are well into your career, there is no need to go over every position you’ve had. Don’t go beyond 10 – 15 years. This overview is supposed to be short and sweet, like an elevator pitch.

Current, past, future

So, before you launch into your answer, you have to ensure you have the proper framework. It’s best to kick off our answer with your current position and skillsets. This position is where you should focus your energy because it will likely relate to the job you are interviewing for. Next, touch on your past roles. Briefly give a high-level overview of your duties, responsibilities, and projects as they relate to this new position. Finally, wrap your answer up by discussing the future. This is where you explain your career goals and why this position is an excellent fit for you. Using this format will help you deliver a concise yet effective response to “walk me through your resume.”

Practice makes perfect

The hiring manager asking you to walk through your resume is a common interview opener, and thus, you must practice your response. Yes, you should tailor your answer for each position, but your first impression will be lackluster if you don’t have your response pinned down. Practice rehearsing your response out loud to help you sound confident during your interview. If you are not ready to answer this question, you will likely start to ramble, and your response will be more incoherent. This response sets the tone for the rest of your interview, so you must have it ironed out to receive that job offer!

Want more interview advice?

The next time an interviewer asks you to, “Walk me through your resume,” you will be ready to answer this question confidently and effectively. If you are interested in more interview advice, take a look at our blog! We have hundreds of helpful articles with tips, tricks, and examples to help you nail your interview. Good luck!

3 Phrases to Never Say During a Job Interview

3 Phrases to Never Say During a Job Interview

When you finally land an opportunity to interview for a role that you are excited about, you probably have many emotions going through your mind. You are excited, relieved, anxious, and all of the above. However, how you present yourself primarily comes from your word choice or the phrases you use. Even small changes in your responses can have massive implications and leave your credibility in doubt with the hiring team. Here are three phrases to never say during a job interview to help you seal the deal.

“I don’t have much experience with this, but”

If there is a particular skill set that the hiring manager inquires about during your interview, never follow up with an answer like this, even if it’s true. Never lie about your qualifications during an interview (or any time during the hiring process). But, in your response, highlight the capabilities and experiences that you do have instead of focusing on the ones you don’t. If your answer emphasizes your limitations, you are making the hiring manager’s decision pretty easy. Basically, you must show how your experience makes you an asset or that you are ready for a new challenge. You can cross off everything on the hiring team’s list, but if you make them think you are unqualified for the position, you are doing yourself a disservice.

“My salary expectations are $X, but I am flexible.”

Never say this phrase during a job interview. If you are in a pre-screen meeting or a final interview, this question may arise. If a hiring professional asks you about your salary expectations, you must be prepared to answer this question. Do your due diligence beforehand to understand what you are worth. This range will be based on your field, location, years of experience, and qualifications. Once you have a number in mind, stick to it. Unless you really don’t care about your salary requirements, never say that you are flexible. Even if you are flexible with your pay, stating that you are flexible indicates to the hiring manager that you are willing to take less money. Instead of saying you are flexible with your salary, use your research to your advantage.

Here is an example: “for my next career move, I am looking for a salary between $65,000 and $70,000. This is based on comparisons from other professionals in this market with over five years of experience in this field and the unique skills I bring to the table.”

If you are looking for more advice on discussing salary expectations during an interview, check out this blog!

“I don’t have any questions.”

When you get to the end of almost any interview, the interviewer will likely ask if you have any questions. If your response is, “I don’t have any questions,” you are writing your own rejection letter. Having a few meaningful questions prepared is your opportunity to illustrate your interest in the position and make a lasting impression on the hiring team. Before your meeting, have a couple of questions at the ready. These questions can be about the role, the company, the team, or even about something one of the interviews mentioned earlier in the discussion.

If you want some help generating some questions to ask during your interview, here is some insight on what kind of questions you should be asking (and with some examples!).

So, these are three phrases to never say during a job interview. If you are looking for more interview advice, we have a plethora of tips and tricks on the JSG Blog!

Try Asking Candidates These 3 Personal Interview Questions

Try Asking Candidates These 3 Personal Interview Questions

 Trying to get the complete picture of someone in a quick hour-long interview can be extremely difficult. Many hiring managers spend most of this time assessing a candidate’s qualifications and work history. So much so that after you’ve left the interview, you might find yourself feeling like you actually know nothing about the candidate at all. This can be especially true with virtual interviews. When interviewing over video chat, you can miss out on some of the natural rapport and back-and-forth conversation that comes so freely in person. If you want to get to know candidates a little better, try asking these three personal interview questions during your next hiring session. Not necessarily to get a specific answer, but to lighten the mood, break down barriers, and get a glimpse into your candidate’s personality.

What Have You Binged Watched Lately? 

During COVID-19 lockdowns, many of us invested copious amounts of time bonding with Netflix. Most candidates will have an answer at the ready. It’s important to note that there is NO right or wrong answer to this question (and let your candidate know that!). At best, it’s an opportunity for you to bond over something you’ve both watched; and at worst, it will help your candidate feel more comfortable in the interview to talk about something they enjoy.

Do You Listen to Podcasts? Which Ones Are Your Favorite? 

Podcasts have been growing in popularity during recent years. In 2021, 57% of Americans have listened to a podcast. As a result, there is a podcast on just about every single topic on the planet. Again, there is no right or wrong answer here! If a candidate doesn’t listen to podcasts, take the opportunity to share one of your favorites. If they do, take note of which ones they like and why they enjoy them. Is it a silly topic used as a way to unwind after work? Maybe something personal development-related that gets them inspired? Or is it relevant to their passions like sports? No matter what, this personal interview question is a great way to open doors to further conversation.

What’s An Accomplishment You’re Especially Proud Of? (Work-Related Or Not) 

When you ask this question, many people’s first instinct is to jump to a professional accomplishment. However, we encourage you to push beyond that. Work-life balance is of the utmost importance to modern candidates, and they undoubtedly have personal achievements they are proud of. Maybe they learned a new hobby, take on home renovations in their free time, or just worked really hard to get where they are. Hearing these personal accomplishments will give you great insights into who this candidate is and what is most important to them!

Need more personal interview question inspiration?

Are you looking for more personal interview questions to ask your applicants? Explore our hiring resources here!

Why Hiring Managers Ask About Your Hobbies in Interviews

Why Hiring Managers Ask About Your Hobbies in Interviews

Sometimes the most innocent interview questions can catch us off guard. Hiring managers often ask, “what are your hobbies?” or “what do you like to do for fun outside of work?” You might be curious about the intention of these questions. Are they just trying to get to know you better? Or are they trying to read into your hobbies to see how you will fit with the company’s culture? Here are a few reasons why hiring managers ask about your hobbies in interviews.

It’s often an icebreaker question

Most of the time, asking about your hobbies is just an icebreaker question. In most situations, hiring managers will start with a few simple questions to get the interviewee talking and help them feel more relaxed during an otherwise tense setting. Asking about your hobbies is an easy way to help candidates open up and get them to speak more authentically throughout the interview. When the interviewee feels a little more relaxed, they are more likely to be themselves rather than put up a facade of what they think the hiring manager is looking for. So, if this question is brought up early on in your meeting, don’t read too much into it.

Shows what candidates are passionate about

Also, when hiring managers ask you about your hobbies in interviews, they may be trying to discover your passions. Sure, you can say your passions align with the company’s core values and mission statement. But do your hobbies back up these principles? Asking about your hobbies outside of work is an excellent way for hiring managers to get a better picture of the real you. It’s easy to put up a wall during an interview and show them what you think they want to hear. But a candidate divulging what they enjoy doing outside of work can provide better insight into what drives them and what they care about.

Hobbies can identify transferrable skills

When a hiring manager asks about your hobbies, they are sometimes trying to identify transferrable skills. Sure, you may have three years of experience in your field, but does your love of rock climbing or crocheting blankets have skills, such as leadership or attention to detail, that can translate to the job you are applying for? Basically, sharing your hobbies with hiring managers can help them understand how well-rounded you are as a person.

Additionally, these transferrable skills are even more significant for entry-level candidates with little to no real experience. If you are fresh out of school or made a career change during the pandemic, you may have little to no experience in this field or industry. However, understanding your hobbies and how you spend your free time can help the interviewers grasp what you can bring to the table, even if you don’t have direct experience.

When discussing your hobbies, be honest and provide examples

So, when you are asked this question in your interview, how do you tackle this question? First of all, have some appropriate hobbies at the top of your mind. Yes, we all like watching Netflix and hanging out with our friends. However, you must share hobbies that add value to your candidacy and reflect some of your skill sets. Think of hobbies that demonstrate drive, personal development, leadership qualities, and/or creativity. So whatever hobby you decide to share during your interview, be ready to provide examples and express why you enjoy that hobby. Explaining why you enjoy volunteering at your local food bank or cross-country skiing allows you to inject your personality during the hiring process and show off some of your soft skills that can be useful in this role.

Regardless of what hobby or activity you choose, do not lie about it. If you say you love playing chess and actually have no idea how to play, and you just want to look clever, you are in a world of trouble. Never lie about a hobby. The hiring manager may ask detailed questions about it, or coincidentally, share the same hobby. If you cannot intelligently discuss it, it won’t add value to your candidacy (and can hurt your chances if they suspect you are lying).

Are you looking for more job-search advice?

So, these are three reasons why hiring managers ask about hobbies during an interview. If you are looking for more job-search advice, take a look at our candidate resources! We have hundreds of helpful guides, articles, and tips to help you successfully land your next job.

Questions to Ask During an Initial Interview

Questions to Ask During an Initial Interview

The initial interview, often over the phone, is one of the most critical stages in the hiring process. It is typically your first interaction with the hiring team, and a solid first impression is crucial! Thus, you must prepare for this interview like any other – research the company, know the job description like it’s the back of your hand, practice answering common interview questions, and prepare a list of questions to ask your interviewer. Here are some of the best questions to ask during an initial interview to leave a firm first impression and gain insight into the position.

When are you looking to make a hiring decision?

Asking this question will give you a better understanding of when the company is looking to make a hiring decision. This question can help if you are entertaining multiple job offers and looking for a timetable when you can expect them to decide on a candidate. Understanding the hiring decision timetable also provides insight on when to follow up if you have not heard back yet. If you a decision is expected to be made by a specific date, this will help you determine when it is appropriate to follow up with the hiring team on their decision.

What changes has the company made during the pandemic?

This question is vital to ask during an initial interview. It will reveal how the company acted during an uncertain time and what changes they made to keep their employees safe. Understanding how the company reacted to this challenging time will help you determine if this is the right match for your needs in a future employer. This question can also give some insight into how this position or company has changed during the pandemic. Will you be working onsite 100% of the time? Or are there work-from-home days to offer added flexibility?

What will mark success in the first 90 days?

Another excellent question to ask during an initial interview is how they will measure success in the first three months of your employment. The hiring team’s answer will help you determine if their expectations are realistic and understand what they anticipate from you. If the company has unrealistic expectations for the role in question, it may be a red flag. On the other hand, the answers to this question can allow you to speak on some of your past accomplishments; you can explain how these achievements can help tackle these benchmarks at the beginning of this new position. Basically, this gives you an opportunity to run for the hills or sell yourself on why you are the right person for this job.

Who will I work with most closely within this position?

If the interviewer doesn’t provide any details on the team makeup or who you will be working with, this is a great question to ask. Asking who you will be working with will help you know how collaborative this role is. Will you have a ton of independence and autonomy in this role? Will you be working with teams across different departments on projects? Learning about the team dynamic will help you determine if this role is a good fit for your working style.

Ready to take on a new job opportunity?

These are a few of the questions you can ask in an initial interview to clarify any unknowns about the position. Are you ready to put your interviewing skills to the test? Browse our latest job opportunities and partner with us today! We have hundreds of exciting positions across North America. If you are not ready yet, here are some more resources to help you excel through the hiring process.

How To Answer Interview Questions About Remote Work

How To Answer Interview Questions About Remote Work

If you’re interviewing in 2021 and beyond, chances are, interviewers will ask you questions about remote work. The modern workforce is rapidly changing, and many managers are rethinking their previous aversions to working from home. So, how do you address it during your interview? First, there are two different situations we must examine: if you have experience working remotely and if you do not.

If You Have Remote Work Experience

Having experience makes fielding questions about working remotely a little less intimidating. However, it’s still important to prepare yourself! Prior to your interview, take some time to think about your previous work from home position(s). Here are some common questions that you can expect in your interview:

  • Who was your supervisor, and how did you communicate?
  • What was your accountability structure?
  • How did you fight distractions?
  • How did you prioritize your tasks?
  • What are your strategies for maintaining a work-life balance?
  • How did you overcome any obstacles that came up?
  • How did you stay in touch with fellow team members?
  • What was the most challenging thing about working remotely?

If You Do Not Have Experience Working Remotely

If you don’t have experience working remotely, make that known upfront. The last thing you want to do is get caught in a lie or be put in a position to handle something you’re not equipped for. Instead of answering questions related to past experiences, you’ll need to be able to speak on common remote work skills such as your adaptability and accountability. Here is an excellent example script that you can customize to fit your personality, skills, and experience.

“While I don’t have any previous experience working remotely, it’s something I believe I would excel at. In previous positions, I’ve been largely independent – charged with setting my own schedule, meeting deadlines with little assistance, and jumping in to help on projects in other offices. I pride myself on being adaptable, focused, and innovative. For example, when I finish one project, I don’t just sit there twiddling my thumbs until I am assigned something else. I always keep a collection of back-burner projects and tasks that I can jump into at any time. This helps me stay productive and motivated!”

Either way, it’s essential, to be honest. While working from home can be rewarding, it also comes with its fair set of challenges. Be sure to assess if this remote position is indeed the right opportunity for you! And if you need more interview advice or tips on working remotely, be sure to explore our candidate resources.

Interview Questions For Every Stage Of The Interview Process

Interview Questions For Every Stage Of The Interview Process

If you’ve spent any time on our blog at all, you know you need to ask questions during your interviews. However, it can be challenging to determine which questions to ask at which stage. Modern interviews feature anywhere from one to eight different interviews for one job. And the questions you ask during the initial phone screen should be different from the questions you ask at a final interview. Today, we’re breaking down the differences and laying out interview questions for every stage of the process.

Initial Phone Screen Interview Questions

The initial phone screen might not even be with the actual hiring manager, so it’s not the time to get into the nitty-gritty details. However, it is an excellent opportunity to get any further clarification on the position, company, or work environment. Here are a few examples of great interview questions to ask during your initial phone screen.

  • Can you provide some more information about this aspect of the job?
  • Is this position in office, remote, or hybrid?
  • Would you like a list of references?
  • What is the next step in the interview process?
  • When can I expect to hear about the next step?
  • Is there anything else I can share about my experience or qualifications?

Face-to-Face Interview Questions

When you have a face-to-face interview, things are getting a bit more serious. You’re most likely meeting with the hiring manager or maybe even additional team members at this stage. Whether it’s in-person or over video chat, it’s the perfect opportunity to delve deeper into the job’s duties and the team’s culture. Here are a couple of great questions to ask during a face-to-face interview.

  • How can I make an immediate impact in this position?
  • Who will I be working with most closely?
  • Are there opportunities for professional development?
  • What is the company or team’s management style?
  • What is most challenging about this job?
  • What is your favorite part about working here?

Final Interview Questions

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You are in strong consideration for the role, so this is the perfect time to really wow the interviewer with some great questions. At this point, you can really get into the details of what it would look like for you to be in this role and how you personally would fit in with the team. Here are a few bold questions you can ask during a final interview to leave a lasting impression.

  • What are the performance metrics for this role?
  • How will expectations and feedback be communicated for this position?
  • How do I compare to other candidates interviewing for this job?
  • What would you say are the most important skills for a successful person in this position to have?
  • How does this position contribute to the larger goals of the organization?
  • How would you describe your department’s culture?
  • If I were to be hired for this position, when would you like me to start?

These are just a handful of questions you can ask at each stage of the interview process. Keep in mind that it’s best to also incorporate questions that arise during your interviews, and don’t be afraid to circle back to something you need more information on. And if you’re interested in more interview advice, check out our interview prep and advice resources to increase your interview knowledge and boost your confidence.

3 Interview Questions You Should Ask Remote Work Candidates

3 Interview Questions You Should Ask Remote Work Candidates

It’s been nearly a year since the beginning of the pandemic where thousands of companies were forced to transition to a remote working environment. This transition is temporary for some employers, but many are permanently shifting operations to allow their staff to work from home. Regardless of which boat your company is in, you will eventually have to hire a new staff member on a remote basis. Hiring someone for a remote position takes a unique skill set and requires you to ask different interview questions to ensure candidates will be the right fit. You need to understand if they are reliable, flexible, and excellent communicators. Here are three interview questions you should ask remote work candidates.

Have you worked remotely in the past?

First of all, you want to understand in what capacity they have worked remotely in the past. Are they currently working remotely? Or are they considered an essential worker and able to work on-site? Shifting from working on-site to your home “office” is challenging, and you need to see if your prospective candidates are up for the task. You are looking for qualified candidates that fit the work style or environment. Understanding what capacity a candidate has worked from home is an excellent first step.

If a candidate has not worked remotely, that is not a dealbreaker. You will just want to look for qualities in their answers to understand if they fit that working style.

What types of communication tools have you used, and how did you use them?

Asking a candidate what type of communication tools they use will help you understand how they will virtually work with others. You want to see what tools they have used in the past and how they have used them to communicate. Clear communication while working from home is essential. They don’t necessarily have to have experience with the same tools your team uses. For example, skills with Microsoft Team will undoubtedly translate into using Zoom or Slack. Most importantly, is learning how they use these tools to work with others successfully and complete assignments.

How do you control your time management and remain organized?

Time management and organizational skills are crucial for remote workers. It is much easier to check in on workers when you physically share office space. However, when people work remotely, they have much more independence; candidates will be more responsible for managing their time and organization. Asking this question will allow you to understand how a prospective candidate keeps track of their time, prioritize their work, and stay organized throughout the day. Answers will differ from person to person. So, what you are looking for is that they have a thoughtful method for managing their time and staying focused.

Need more hiring input?

So, these are three basic interview questions you should ask remote work candidates to see if they are a strong fit for your team. If you need more help vetting candidates for remote assignments, reach out to our team at JSG. We can help you identify the candidates that will make an immediate impact on your team from the safety of their homes. Let’s work together!

5 COVID Questions To Ask At Your Next Interview

5 COVID Questions To Ask At Your Next Interview

It’s important that you show up to any interview with a few great questions at the ready. However, in today’s day and age, those questions may look a little bit different. There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic is on everybody’s mind. And that doesn’t change just because you’re looking for a new job! If COVID-19 policies and procedures are a priority for you (and they should be), it is perfectly acceptable to ask COVID-related questions during your interview. As always, read the room to gauge which questions would be most appropriate. Here are five possible COVID questions you can ask at your next interview.

How has COVID-19 impacted your company?

No matter what industry they are in, their company’s size, or the role you’re interviewing for, the company has most certainly been impacted by COVID-19. Work may have slowed or stopped altogether, they may have shifted to remote work, or the company may have even implemented layoffs and furloughs. What you’re looking for in the interviewer’s answer here is transparency. You should not expect them to have handled it perfectly; that is unrealistic. However, if they are transparent about the struggles they experienced, that’s a good sign that they’ll be transparent with employees!

Will I be expected to come into the office, or are you offering remote work?

Hopefully, this was covered earlier in the interview. However, if it wasn’t, it’s essential to address it! Additionally, you can gain further clarification into their remote work policies. Is it temporary? How much flexibility do they offer? Are employees expected to secure additional childcare when working from home?

What are your COVID-19 procedures?

This is a great lead-in question to discuss COVID-19 safety measures. If the company requires employees to work in-office, are they following social distancing guidelines, providing hand sanitizer, and adhering to mask requirements? Additionally, you’ll want to understand their procedures if an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19. Do they require all employees to quarantine? Is it possible to complete your work while quarantined? The interviewer’s answers to this challenging question will give you a glimpse into how much they prioritize their staff’s health.

How has COVID-19 affected your vacation and sick leave policies?

Prior to the pandemic, it was utterly taboo to ask about paid time off during the interview. However, things have changed in the past year! COVID-19 has forced many companies to rethink their traditional vacation and sick leave policies. With a minimum self-isolation period of 10 days after exposure, you could burn through traditional PTO very quickly if they haven’t made accommodations. Just be sure to frame the question as above rather than the greedy “how many vacation days would I get?”

What have you done to support employees working from home?

Lastly, if the company is allowing employees to work from home, please ask more about it! Starting a new job isn’t easy, and it’s intimidating if you’re in a traditional office setting, not to mention working from home during a global pandemic without having met anyone in person! You will want to hear that they have established a remote onboarding program, prioritize employee development, and make significant efforts to decrease isolation through various communication software.

As we mentioned above, it’s impossible to expect picture-perfect answers to these challenging COVID questions. Instead, look for transparency, organization, and active actions. And remember, it’s okay for you to prioritize your health and safety during an interview! If you want to feel extra prepared for your Coronavirus-era interview, explore our candidate resources for more tips and tricks!