Coming out of 2020, remote work is all the rage. Companies in nearly every industry are letting employees work remotely some or all of the time, and the benefits are massive -- no sitting in traffic, no suit and tie, no awkward watercooler conversations.
But interviewing for a remote job is a little different than a typical office position -- and not just because the interview is done online. You will need to demonstrate an ability to be efficient on the internet and a proper manager of your time, and convey these things with clarity in a digital setting.
In this article, we analyze the finer points of how to interview for a remote job in order to put you in the best possible position for success.
Here’s to your new role, remotely!
When confidence is key, it’s time to channel your inner badass. Take a few deep breaths and focus on composure.
No one expects you to be the godsent to save the business, but they do want to know that you are confident in your ability to do the job well, in a remote setting.
If you can convey your competence and fluency in the job roles, and demonstrate that doing this from your couch will not be an issue, you’re off to a good start. Also pay attention to anything that is highlighted or emphasized in the job posting, because the interviewer is likely to ask about that stuff specifically.
It helps to have notes going into the interview, an easy thing to do in a remote setting since you aren’t sitting in front of the boss’s desk. Have a bulleted outline of your qualifications and responses to likely questions, and be able to recite it.
On that note, it’s in your best interest to know the position you are applying for. For example, Live Lingua is an online language school that hires teachers remotely across the world. An interview with them tests your ability to teach a foreign language to an English-speaking student, as well as the cultural notes that go along with it.
This is critical for any online job -- as competition for the jobs increases, it is critical to have a thorough understanding on the position, the company, and the culture they uphold in their remote workplace.
The good news is that it isn’t actually that hard to learn about a company’s culture. Check out their website and social channels, to start, and follow that by digging into the history of their leadership. Are they involved in any philanthropy or community projects? How about a stated mission statement?
By knowing these things and conveying them in the interview, you’re showing that you care and would be a good fit.
Your resume is, in general, a boilerplate of everything you’ve done in your career. But you can also use it to demonstrate your understanding of what the company wants, using exact keywords that it highlighted in the job posting.
If you built out a new sales arm in your current position, and the job posting seeks a leader in sales development, use the exact words: I led my team in developing new sales protocol to increase lead cultivation (or whatever is relevant).
You also want to show that you have experience in a similar role, and that you used that time to master the skills that will be needed in your new position.
You’ve probably had a job interview before. Think about the questions you were asked -- about your experience, your goals, your pet peeves, what you need to “improve upon” -- and be ready to answer them.
But also, you want to think about specific questions the company will ask you in this situation. They will likely ask about your experience with remote work, and what you find to be beneficial and challenging. They may ask about how you to prefer to communicate with your colleagues, and about your preferred work schedule (since it likely isn’t nine to five!).
Be familiar with common tools like Slack, Google Drive, and project management tools like Asana and Notion -- all of which are frequently used by remote teams to stay connected and make communication easier.
One of the most overlooked aspects of interviewing is that the employer doesn’t expect you to be perfect. While you must demonstrate that you are a good fit for the comapny, it’s ok to have some flaws or to not be 100% confident in every aspect of what you will be doing at the job.
Be honest when asked about what you need to work on. Maybe that’s communication through Slack, or maybe it’s being fully present at early morning meetings. It’s good to show that you are human, and that you feel that this job will help you grow to be a better person, as well as a fit for the role.
And if you have questions about anything with the job, don’t be afraid to ask. It shows that you are interested and that you have thought about it a lot ahead of time.
Preparing and executing a job interview is not a fun task. But it is necessary, and the rewards of a remote career far outweigh the stress of the interview. Hopefully this article has helped you to create an action list to get ready for the interview, and you are feeling more confident than ever about your prospects. Here are a few final things to keep in mind to present your best self:
Remember to breathe. You are human. They are human. It’s more important to be relatable than it is to be flawless.
Speak slowly and clearly. Even if you are freaking out inside, try to speak as you would normally during a casual conversation -- with confidence, even a bit of humor if appropriate.
Be honest and yourself! Don’t try to come off as overqualified, or as someone greater than yourself. If it fits, it fits, and if not, there are other opportunities out there (the world is going remote!) You got this!
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