How to Interview for a Remote Working Job

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interview for a remote working job

Even before COVID, many companies were moving towards a remote workforce. They regard home working as a way to reduce costs because less office space is required. At the same time technology, such as Zoom, enabled companies to communicate effectively with their employees and hold team meetings. 

The pandemic has accelerated this trend. As millions of people around the world were told to work from home companies were forced to confront the ramifications of their workforce being remote. 

This trend means millions of people need to prepare for remote work. This includes learning the skills and techniques required to work effectively from home. It also presents an opportunity because there are recruitment companies such as Remote.co actively seeking people with remote work skills. You should anticipate the questions you may get asked in an interview for a job with a large amount of working from home. 

To work remote requires a different set of skills to one where you may be closely supervised by an employer. While it has advantages, such a no commuting, it has its drawbacks too. These include the requirement to be self-disciplined, the ability to work with less supervision and remain focused when you may be tempted to watch TV.

To achieve a remote work job the first thing to do is understand how the requirements differ from one based in an office. Firstly, you need characteristics that may only be desirable when office based but become essential when you’re working from home. This is mostly centered around work styles and your discipline to self-start and be focused.

The most common questions when being interviewed for a remote job are:

Are you reliable? 

It’s important colleagues can rely on you without having to remind or ask you if you’ve done something. If a Zoom meeting starts at a set time then will you be on time? Can you update co-workers using an app like Slack or Dropbox? You should be prepared to provide examples to your interviewer.

Your communication skills.

Written communication will be far more important as apps like Slack, email, WhatsApp and Google Docs become the standard communication tools. You need to be able to write clearly and make your point. This can take practice and a tool like Grammarly may help.

Can you work independently?

It’s difficult to ask for help when you work remotely. Many people are used to leaning over to their colleagues when they require help with something. If this option isn’t available then you need to find answers to questions for yourself. If you constantly email people this could be distracting for them too. So if you don’t know how to do something on Excel, for instance, can you search for an answer on Google or YouTube? You must assure your potential employer you can work remotely, you’re resourceful and won’t be a burden on everyone else.

Do you have initiative?

When you work at home your employer must trust you are working and not idle. If you finish one task then you can’t wait until you’re given another. You must know where to look for your next action or project. You can demonstrate this after an interview for a remote job, for example, by sending them a summary of your discussion.

Can you collaborate

Collaboration is almost taken as a given when you’re working in an office. The expectation is you will work as part of a team. However, this is more difficult when you work remotely. This may include adding comments to a Google Doc, writing a summary of a meeting, sending a Slack message with some advice for your team or sharing a “How To’ video you found on YouTube. Be sure to have examples lined up to demonstrate your abilities.

How organized are you?

Many workers are used to team meetings. In these, you’re expected to provide a report on the work you’ve been doing and what you’re working on next. People need to know you’re on top of things and flag any obstacles that may be preventing you from doing your work. When you work from home things can fall through the cracks if you’re not organized. You should have examples, for instance, updating a timesheet, using To-Do software to keep track of tasks or familiarity with Project Management software for apps such as Trello or Basecamp.

Can you avoid conflict?

Due to the amount of written communication, it’s easy to misinterpret an email or text. I expect we’re all familiar with the feeling of reading something and not being sure if the sender is angry, being sarcastic, having a dig at you or may have misunderstood something. Firing off an angry reply does not help in a business environment. You should ask for clarification so you are sure you understand the meaning behind their words. If you have examples to show an interviewer this will assure them you are adept at handling large volumes of written communication found in remote work.

What are Hard and Soft Skills?

It’s worth knowing the difference between ‘Hard’ skills and ‘Soft’ skills. A Hard skill is simple to demonstrate. It may be a certificate, like a degree. Or the fact you can type a certain number of words per minute. A Soft skill is less tangible. How well you can communicate or your organization skills are difficult to quantify. This means an interviewer will want examples or will be listening closely to your answers. They may ask you questions such as, “Have you previously worked from home” or “What are your thoughts on how you’d communicate with a remote team?”.  

If you haven’t worked remotely before, think about times you have done things on your own from home. This could include writing articles for a blog, updating your own website, managing a social media page for a club you’re part of or run a fundraiser.

Conclusion

As companies move even more jobs remotely then you will find the skills you require are different. You will also find a lot of opportunities to find work from home jobs if you can demonstrate the right skills. These questions will become more common in interviews. You can use this to your advantage by being prepared and understanding how to interview for a remote working job.

Author Bio

Neil Cartwright runs a blog, Taking Back Monday. He is passionate about helping people enjoy their work. Life is too short to dread Monday mornings! He provides advice on how to find your dream job, remote working and wellbeing.