Posts

remote job interview

How to Prepare for A Remote Job Interview

Do you have an upcoming interview for a remote job opportunity? If so, you are not alone. Since March, remote job listings have increased by 2.8x as more companies continue to support a remote workforce. As companies work hard to pivot to remote working environments, job seekers are doing the same. Preparing to interview for a remote opportunity is like prepping for any other interview – you must do your homework. However, there are some questions that will likely arise as you interview for a remote position. Here are some questions you must be ready to answer as you prepare for a remote job interview.

Have you worked remotely in the past?

This question will likely be the first one the hiring manager asks you. The hiring manager is trying to gauge your interest in a remote opportunity and understand if this is a new feat for you. If you have worked remotely in the past, you can give a brief overview of your remote experience; share your role, the company you worked for, how long you did it, and how you succeeded in this position.

If you have not worked remotely before, that is not a deal-breaker. Did you work a few days from home when you were out sick or worked remotely when out of town for business? These are all experiences you can share to illustrate that you are ready to take on this new remote opportunity.

What type of collaboration tools and software have you used?

When your team is working remotely, you may never communicate with them in person. Therefore, this question is another popular one hiring managers ask candidates for remote positions. The hiring manager wants to understand what collaboration tools you have experience with and how you used them; they want to understand if this will be a smooth transition for you.

There is a slew of collaboration and project management tools out there, such as Microsoft Teams, Trello, Zoom, Slack, Google Docs, and so on. Whether you have used these for work, school, or personal use, give a brief overview of what tools you have experience with and how you used them to be productive. You probably won’t have experience with every platform, but your experience with one software will be transferable with another.

How do you keep yourself motivated while working from home?

When you are working remotely, you have a lot of independence. You will not have your boss regularly checking in on you or nudging you to get back to work if you lose focus. Thus, it’s essential to motivate yourself while working from home and get your work done proficiently. The best way to answer this question is with honesty. Share what you do to keep motivated throughout the day and on track, whether that’s a specific routine, checklists, calendar reminders, or alarms on your phone.

Keep in mind, your work style may not be an excellent fit for a remote position, and that is what the hiring manager is trying to assess. Be honest and let them know how you need to be held accountable and what you do to stay productive throughout the day.

Need more help preparing for your remote job interview?

If you are looking for more help answering common interview questions, here is how to answer the most common questions.

Interview Question: What Are Your Pet Peeves?

Interview Question: What Are Your Pet Peeves?

What They Want To Know

This question can feel like a trap. And we’re not going to sugar-coat it… it kind of is! A hiring manager asks about your pet peeves for a couple of reasons. First of all, they want to know that you’re human! We all have things that bother us. Second, they want to make sure that you will fit in with the team. Do you take things too seriously? Will you hold minor annoyances against your coworkers?

When answering, be honest but don’t totally unload all of the things that irritate you. To avoid a minefield with this question, keep the focus on yourself. Choose a pet peeve that is something you can control and redirect. Then, explain why it bothers you and how you overcome it.

Example Answer For “What Are Your Pet Peeves?”

“One of my biggest pet peeves is getting behind on a project. If something unexpected comes up, or there’s a delay I can’t control, it can really bother me. Over the years, I’ve learned that this is a trigger for me. So, to avoid this, I always try to stay ahead on my projects. By creating a structured schedule, I can account for any unknowns and not get caught up in frustrating delays.”

Final Comments

This answer is perfect because it is truthful, tame, and offers a solution. Avoid going on and on about pet peeves that bother you as it will signal to the hiring manager that you are high maintenance. It’s best to answer it quickly and move on!

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Interview Question: How Do You Like To Be Managed?

Interview Question: How Do You Like To Be Managed?

What They Want To Know

This question tends to put candidates on the defense thinking about how they like to be managed. A hiring manager asks this to understand if you will mesh with their team and leadership style. Many managers deploy multiple management tactics depending on the makeup of their team. Thus, it’s helpful to anticipate how you would fit in.

This is a question that pays to prepare for ahead of time. Think back to times in your career when you were satisfied with your leaders. What did you like most about how you were managed? Additionally, see if you can glean any information about the management culture of the company you are interviewing with. Often, the company’s website or social media will offer insights into the company culture. And in the end, tie it back to your anticipation for this role in particular.

Example Answer For “How Do You Like To Be Managed?”

“Throughout my career, I’ve found that I work best with a Manager that values clear and open communication. I am most successful when I truly understand my role on the team and what is expected from me. On the other hand, I love being able to go to my manager with new ideas and questions. I am able to work independently when the communication channel is there.

This is why, when I was looking at the “About” page on your website, I was excited to see that communication is one of your core values. Reading that reinforced the notion that this company would be an excellent fit for me.”

Final Comments

In general, you want to keep the focus on the positives. Avoid bringing up management styles you don’t like or mentioning previous managers you didn’t jive with. We like the above answer to “how do you like to be managed?” because it brings it back to your qualifications!

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Interview Question: Do You Have Any Questions For Us?

Interview Question: Do You Have Any Questions For Us?

What They Want To Know

Congratulations – you made it through the entire interview. Then suddenly, the hiring manager hits you with this question. Your mind is racing, trying to think of the right question that will sound intelligent and insightful. Don’t fret – your interviewer really isn’t trying to trick you by looking for some obscure, off-the-wall question. They simply want to ensure that you have all of the information you need to make an informed decision.

No matter how comprehensive the interview is, you must have a question at the ready. Avoid interview faux-pas’ such as asking about salary or time off. Instead, focus on questions that will enrich your understanding of the position or company. We typically advise asking something related to your success in the role or the interviewer’s experience at the company.

Example Answers For “Do You Have Any Questions For Us?”

“Yes. I know you’ve been working for Radius Consulting for five years, and I would love to hear about what you like most about working here.”

Or

“Should I be hired for this position, what could I accomplish in the first 30 days to ensure a successful and sustainable future with the company?”

Final Comments

Both of these answers show that you did your research and that you are invested in being successful in this role. Keep your questions short and simple, and most importantly, listen to the answers! As a bonus, your interviewer’s answers will most likely provide great content to circle back to in your thank you note!

(If you’d like to have even more interview questions in your pocket, check out this extensive list from The Muse!)

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

How To Overcome Negative Interview Obstacles

How To Overcome Negative Interview Obstacles

We all have them, a spot in your work history that isn’t so shiny. Maybe it’s a job you were fired from, or a boss you didn’t get along with, or a gap in employment. These less than ideal situations do not have to break your chances of landing the position! It’s all in how you address them. We’re breaking down common negative interview obstacles that may arise and how you can overcome them.

You Were Fired

“So, why did you leave your last position?” Instead of freezing at this question, arm yourself with confidence beforehand. Keep your answer short, simple, and honest. Explain what happened in the simplest terms, without placing blame on others or providing too many details. And in the end, be sure to finish on a positive note.

Example: When I was initially hired as {job title}, I thought I had a clear understanding of the job requirements. As time went on, I discovered there were some miscommunications and misunderstandings. My supervisor and I agreed that it wasn’t a great fit for either of us. Since then, I’ve focused on defining my professional expectations and improving my communication skills.

You Hopped Around To A Few Different Jobs

This negative interview obstacle can happen for several reasons. Contact positions, improper fit, and better opportunities coming along are all very valid reasons for “job hopping.” Multiple jobs in a short amount of time is something that Hiring Managers notice, and the chances that you’ll be asked about it are high! What they are looking for you to address is their fear that you won’t stick around for this position. So, be sure to cover those short stints quickly and then move on to why you’re looking for a more permanent job (this one!)

Example: While quickly moving from job to job was not ideal, it proved that I was able to adapt to new environments while educating myself along the way. Now I’m looking for a company that I can really call home. I’m interested in a career that provides new challenges every day and a supportive team. That’s why the {job title} position initially caught my eye!

You Didn’t Get Along With Your Boss

Behavioral interview questions are swiftly gaining popularity in the hiring community. There’s a chance that you will be asked a question similar to “Tell us about a time you didn’t get along with a team member or supervisor.” Do not fall into this classic negative interview obstacle trap! Briefly touch on your differences, but concentrate your answer on what you did to overcome them.

Example: My last supervisor and I didn’t always see eye to eye. On {XYZ Project}, we had different opinions on how it should be executed. In the end, we looked at both sides and took the elements that worked from each to form a most effective compromise.

You Have A Gap In Employment

If you took time off for one reason or another, it can feel like a glaring hole in your resume. Don’t fret. Most employers understand that a little time away is not only acceptable but can also be restorative. Mention the reason for the gap, but also include how you grew during that time. You can include professional skills you honed via online classes, volunteer experiences, or even just life lessons that shaped how you view the world. The point that you want to communicate is that you are even better after briefly stepping away.

Example: For the past couple of years, I stepped away from my professional duties to travel. It was always a goal of mine to see the world, and I wanted to dive in while I’m still young. During my time away, I documented my experiences in blog format to share with family and friends. It really allowed me the opportunity to hone my writing and creative skills while also broadening my horizon. I’m now ready to jump back into my career with a whole new perspective on life.

These are just a few of the possible negative interview obstacles you may encounter. A few good general rules to follow are; be honest, keep it simple, and end on a positive note. While, of course, you want to answer questions about the past, your focus should be on the future. (And landing this job specifically!)

Interested in more interview advice? Explore a wealth of interview resources here.

Brain Teasers

Interview Question: How to Answer Brain Teasers

Originally asked when interviewing for a tech job, brain teaser interview questions are becoming more popular in all industries. What is a brain teaser interview question, you ask? Here are a few common examples:

  • “How many golf balls can you fit into a school bus?”
  • “How many windows are in New York City?”
  • “Why are manhole covers round?”

It’s easy to feel a sudden panic when your interviewer asks you one of these oblique questions. However, don’t worry about having the correct answer. The hiring manager is more concerned with your thought process and how you derived your solution than the actual answer itself. So, if you are looking for a brief walkthrough on how to tackle one of these tricky questions, here are a few steps you can take.

Ask for clarification

Asking clarifying questions helps demonstrate both your curiosity and saves you a great deal of stress. Let’s use the golf balls inside a school bus question as an example. To clarify, you can ask something like, “when you say school bus, do you mean a full-size school bus or one of those shorter busses?” Asking clarification questions such as this buys you a little time to think and helps you refine your answer.

Take your time

Most people will want to rush right into their response, but take your time. Take a few moments to formulate your answer and think it out. After all, the hiring manager wants to see your thought process, not have you take a wild guess. If you brought a notebook and pen (which you should always do), feel free to jot down some notes and write out your thought process. This can help you prepare your answer, especially if math is involved. So, sticking with the example above, you can calculate the school bus’ volume by assuming the length, width, and height of the bus. Then, you can assume the volume of a golf ball and do a little math to determine your solution. Now, you are ready to present your answer!

Present the answer to your brain teaser in detail

Now that you have your answer prepared, it’s time to outline your response to your interviewers. You can’t just spew out your solution and call it good. Therefore, you must explain how you developed your answer. Present any presumptions you made when forming your response.

For this scenario, you can say:

“When calculating the school bus volume, I am going to assume that the bus is 22-feet long, 6-feet wide, and 9-feet tall. That makes the volume of the bus 1,188 cubic feet.” Then your next assumption can be the volume of a golf ball and explain how you determined that. A golf ball’s volume is ~2.5 cubic feet (4/3 x pi x 0.85 inches). Finally, you are ready to present your final answer. “Now that we have the volume of a bus and a golf ball, we can calculate how many golfs balls are in a cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches / 2.5 cubic inches), which is ~691 balls. Now all you have to do is multiply 691 balls by the volume of the bus (1,188 cubic feet), and your answer is 820,908 balls.”

This answer may not necessarily be correct, but it’s an excellent example of how to tackle a brain teaser interview question.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Why Should We Hire You

Interview Question: Why Should We Hire You?

What they want to know

A lot of interviewers trip themselves up over the question, “Why should we hire you?” Your interviewers are essentially asking you, “Why should we hire you over the other candidates? What makes you the best candidate?” Interviewers typically ask this question at the end of a job interview. This question is your final sales pitch. It’s your time to shine and summarize for your audience why you would be a great fit for this position and the company. Use this as an opportunity to address your experience, background, and skills and why they make you an excellent fit.

Bonus points: if you can quantify your answer in any way, that is the icing on the cake. Using numbers to illustrate your success or accomplishments is an excellent way to show your value and stand out above the competition. Also, be sure to tie your answer back into the job description to ensure your interviewers that you are a great fit for this role.

Example answering why should we hire you

“I have a passion for helping others and pride myself on using my customer service and recruiting background to match talented candidates with excellent employers. My interview-to-offer ratio of 86% over the last three years illustrates my consistency and track record for success. Additionally, last year I earned our annual ‘Recruiter of the Year’ award, which demonstrates my expertise in the recruiting world. I think my personal career goals align with your company’s mission of simply putting people to work, and I believe I am a great fit for this Recruiting Manager position.”

Final comments

Answering the question, “Why should we hire you” can be challenging. However. this example works well because it touches on the candidate’s background, their skills, and quantifies their accomplishments. The answer addressed the company’s mission statement and expressed their passion for helping others, which can help show why they are a culture fit. Overall, this example answers the questions well (and with confidence!).

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

made a mistake job interview

Interview Question: Tell Me About A Time You Made A Mistake

What they want to know

Everyone has made a  mistake or two throughout their career. But what sets the best candidates apart is being able to discuss your mistakes and express what you learned from the situation. Employers often ask this question because it’s raw – it makes you self-reflect and even puts you on your toes (if you weren’t already standing on them!). Interviewers want to learn if you are self-aware, can accept feedback or criticism, and care about doing your job better.

The most vital thing is, to be honest. The worst thing you can do is answer this interview question with something on the lines of “I honestly can’t think of a time I have made a mistake at work.” Newsflash! You are human, and it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. And be sure to explain how you overcame the mistake. It will demonstrate your resilience and problem-solving abilities!

Pro tip: Don’t blame other people in your answer. Not accepting any of the responsibility for the mistake you discuss is essentially like answering “what’s your greatest weakness?” with a strength – you don’t want to do that.

Example answering tell me about a time you made a mistake

“One time, I dropped the ball on a deadline. I was in the middle of a big software migration, and my boss asked me if I had time to run a report for him. I was swamped that week and was engrossed in this migration project that I was working on for weeks. Time slipped away from me, and I forgot to run the report, and my boss was irritated and missed her deadline. But I learned from this situation that I need to have better communication with my team and not accept more work if I don’t have the bandwidth to complete it.”

Final comments

This answer is an excellent example for answering this interview question. It addresses the mistake, explains the result, and illustrates the learning moment. The interviewee did not blame anyone else but themselves. Plus, the mistake wasn’t earth-shattering. If you have a terrible mistake in your past, it may be wise to share one that is a little “softer.”

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

What is Your Ideal Work Environment?

Interview Question: What is Your Ideal Work Environment?

What they want to know

Hiring managers ask questions like “What is your ideal work environment?” to identify three essential things:

  • Are you a fit for the company’s culture?
  • How long will you stay with the company?
  • Receive a glimpse of your personality

According to Jennifer Sukola, a Muse career coach, hiring managers are looking for, “How long are [you are] going to stick around? That’s the question.” “Employees who mesh well with the company’s environment will be happier and, in turn, stay in the job longer and contribute more.” Ideally, your preferred working environment matches the company you are applying to. However, don’t force a fake answer to give the interviewers what they want to hear. You must be honest in your response because if you think you want the job, it isn’t fair to you or the employer by lying just to secure the job. Remember, you are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you.

Nevertheless, that does not mean that you can’t touch on things that match their culture and working environment. Also, most job descriptions do a decent job painting the picture of the working environment you will be in. Make sure you take a quick look at their website and social media channels to gain insight into the company’s working environment. If that environment fits you well, express that in your answer, and explain why it works for you.

Example answering what is your ideal work environment

“My ideal working environment is where I have the opportunity to work collaboratively with a team. I am a people-person and enjoy working with others. I have fun being able to bounce ideas off colleagues and come up with great ideas and new experiments. Additionally, I find it rewarding to come to a solution with my team and create something beneficial for the company. I find that I work best in an environment that is positive, encouraging, and centered around teamwork.”

Final comments

If you are an extrovert and enjoy working as a team, this is a fantastic answer. It clearly answers the question and offers a brief peek of the interviewee’s personality. Just remember to be truthful and answer honestly. If you are lying, you are doing yourself an injustice as you will likely not be happy in this new role if it doesn’t fit with your ideal working environment.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

A Conflict You Faced at Work

Interview Question: Tell Me About A Conflict You Faced at Work

What they want to know

Everyone has faced a challenging situation or conflict in the workplace. However, that doesn’t make it any easier to discuss in a job interview. It can be challenging to pick a conflict to discuss without feeling overwhelmed or frustrated. The key here is to make your answer more of a story and less analytical. Your interviewers want to see your human side and get a sense that you are capable of professionally handling conflict in the workplace.

In your answer, focus more on the resolution and less on the conflict. Many interviewees make the mistake of spending too much time talking about the conflict and getting caught up with the story’s negative side. Instead, briefly explain the problematic situation and focus your time on what you did to overcome it. But most importantly, be honest with your answer and don’t pretend to be the “perfect” candidate.

If you can, pick a relevant example relevant to the job or the company’s industry. In other words, choose a conflict or situation related to the job. You can use the STAR method to outline your answer to this question to keep you on track and paint a clear picture of your conflict resolution skills.

Example answering tell me about a conflict you faced at work

“My coworker was on vacation for the week, and our Chief Operating Officer called me and asked if her presentation for a new product idea was completed. She was very stressed as she needed it by the following morning. I was not working on the presentation and didn’t have the most recent copy. I called up my coworker on their cell phone and had her email the PowerPoint to me.

Our COO and I had a brief call and went over the presentation with her to see what was missing. I was able to figure out what was left to add and completed the presentation before the end of the day. Our COO was very pleased with the presentation and called me after her meeting and send it went very well! Now, my coworker and I share all of our working documents on the cloud so we can easily access each other’s files if something like that ever happens again.”

Final comments

This is an excellent example of explaining a conflict you faced in the workplace and how you resolved it. The answer highlights the conflict itself but focuses on the steps the interviewee took to overcome it and come to a resolution. Additionally, it clearly uses the STAR method to lay out the problem, making it easy for the hiring manager to follow. It also demonstrates that the interviewee can thrive under pressure and work alongside senior leadership.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!