How to answer "What is your experience with remote work and virtual teams?" (with sample answers)

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This post is part of our series on behavioral interview questions.

Why Employers Ask This

Remote work has become a prominent way of working in recent years, and even more so during the pandemic. Many companies have had to pivot their work strategies to incorporate virtual teams and remote work. Therefore, employers want to ensure that potential employees have the necessary experience and skills to work effectively in a remote or virtual environment. This includes being self-motivated, organized, and able to communicate effectively through digital channels such as video conferencing and messaging platforms.

Additionally, working remotely requires a different set of skills and mindset than working in the traditional office environment. Employers want to know how you have tackled challenges with communication or productivity, and how you have developed successful remote working relationships. Moreover, employers are looking for someone who is tech-savvy, comfortable with using digital tools, and can adapt quickly to shifting priorities.

How to Answer the Question

When answering this question, it's essential to provide concrete examples and quantify your achievements when possible. If you haven't had experience with remote work or virtual teams before, think about how you can draw upon your past work experiences and skills that can translate into remote work environments. A few tips on how to answer this question include:

  • Provide examples: Share examples of how you have worked remotely in the past, including any tools or software you used, and highlight any successes or challenges you encountered.
  • Show your adaptability: Emphasize your flexibility and ability to adapt to different working styles or environments.
  • Show your communication skills: Explain how you've been able to communicate effectively with team members or clients while working remotely, and explain your preferred communication channels.
  • Discuss your productivity strategies: Share any productivity hacks you've used to stay focused and get work done while working remotely.
  • Talk about your tech skills: Highlight any technical skills or relevant certifications that demonstrate your comfort level with digital tools and technologies that might be required in a remote work environment.

Sample answers

Good answer: I have been working remotely for the past three years and have experience working with virtual teams from all around the world. I have found that communication is key to success in remote work, and I make an effort to stay in touch with my team members through video conferencing, chat and email. In my last job, I served as a team leader, and I regularly organized team meetings to ensure everyone was on the same page and working together towards the same goal.

Why it's good: This answer demonstrates a good level of experience and a solid understanding of what it takes to work remotely. The candidate highlights the importance of communication and shows leadership experience, which is highly valued in remote work situations.

Bad answer: I have never worked remotely or with virtual teams before, but I think I could adapt to it just fine.

Why it's bad: This answer shows a lack of experience and understanding of what is involved in remote work. It also does not demonstrate any effort to prepare for a remote work situation, which can be a red flag for interviewers.

Good answer: While I have not worked remotely full-time, I have had some experience doing so on a part-time basis in my previous role. My employer would allow us to work from home one day per week, and during that time, I would communicate with my colleagues via video conferencing and chat tools. It was an adjustment at first, but I eventually got into a routine and found it to be a productive way to work.

Why it's good: This answer shows some level of experience with remote work and an ability to adapt to a new work environment. The candidate also highlights the use of communication tools, which is essential in remote work situations.

Bad answer: I worked remotely for a few months, but I found it hard to stay motivated without the structure of an office environment.

Why it's bad: While honesty is important in an interview, this answer raises red flags about the candidate's ability to work productively and independently in a remote work situation.

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