The pandemic upended where, when, and how we work. Over the past two years, employers have experimented with new, flexible ways of working, and many have made the move to permanent remote workplaces.

When carried out correctly, remote work can bring many benefits to a company and its employees, like reduced turnover, better work-life balance, and increased performance.

In fact, a FlexJobs survey found 51 percent of respondents were more productive working from home, and 95 percent said their productivity has been the same or higher. 

At the same time, remote work has cemented itself as a must-have career option among today's job seekers. In an already competitive labor market, FlexJobs found that 58 percent of people now want to work remotely full time.

Eight Interview Questions to Identify Top Remote Talent

But even with the right skills and experiences, not every candidate is cut out to work from home. In an increasingly remote world of work, it's essential for hiring managers to know which interview questions to ask and how to identify whether an applicant is a right fit for a remote role.

Here are eight of the best interview questions to spot great remote workers, drawn from a longer list of questions from a recent FlexJobs blog

1. Have you ever worked remotely? If so, what were some of the challenges you faced?

It's important to understand a person's motivation for seeking remote work, as some candidates don't understand the reality of working from home. If the answer is "Never," follow up with "Why do you want to work remotely?" They should know what the challenges of remote work are and have strategies in place for tackling them.

2. Where do you prefer to work? 

Not having a "home office" should not disqualify someone from the job, but understanding how and where an applicant works best can help you understand them as a potential employee. If they already work from home, ask about their home office setup. Do they have everything a remote worker needs to be productive? Is it someplace that is relatively free of distractions? Ask what the home office setup is like and, if possible, conduct a video interview and encourage the candidate to participate from that home office. 

3. How do you plan on communicating with a remote team?

Remote employees should be comfortable using a wide range of platforms. Ask how the candidate will communicate with the team and how comfortable they are using different communication platforms. This will help you better understand how they communicate and collaborate with their team.

4. How do you stay focused on your tasks?

By starting with the broad question, you'll be able to home in on more remote-specific follow-ups. For example, if the candidate says, "I use noise-canceling headphones to block out noisy co-workers," you can ask, "Will you face that same distraction when you work remotely? Do you think the same strategy will work, or will you need to do something different?"

5. What do you like and what do you dislike about working in an office?

If a candidate says that they love the company's team-building opportunities, or their favorite activity is the 10 a.m. coffee cart, see why they're interested in remote work. It could mean they've never thought about the lack of face-to-face socialization and may discover that remote work isn't right for them.

6. What's the most challenging project you've designed and executed?

Working remotely requires employees to be highly self-motivated. Without a manager nearby, it's easy for people to get distracted or lose their drive. The answer will speak to the candidate's motivation and ability to get the job done when there's no one motivating them--except themself.

7. Tell me about a risk you took and failed. What did you learn?

Asking for an example will give some insight into how the candidate operates. Do they only have one way of doing things? Do they learn and grow from their mistakes? Are they willing to admit they made a mistake? These answers will help you determine whether they are truly flexible and can mesh well with the existing team.

8. How do you switch off from work?

Ask how applicants plan to manage their days, take appropriate breaks, and stop working when it's quitting time. Understanding how they switch out of work mode will help you better understand how they will do it when they're on the job.

Remember that looking for a candidate who can do the job is not enough. To build a strong and successful remote team, you need to identify candidates who can do the job and do it well remotely.