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Remote Jobs: Can You Prove You’re a Fit?

Remote Jobs - Prove You’re a Fit

Remote jobs are hitting their stride. Pre-pandemic, only about 5% of jobs could be done from anywhere. It’s a different world now. Thankfully, looking only at partial or fully remote jobs exclusively is no longer a pipe dream. 

But just because you want a remote job doesn’t mean you’re a good match for one.

Many employers hesitate or have high standards when it comes to hiring remote workers. Why? They’ve been burned before. It takes trust, technology, and a certain temperament to succeed remotely. To show you’re the ideal remote candidate, you’ll need to drop the following clues during the hiring process.

You have experience working remote jobs. If you know the job is remote or hybrid and you have experience working in that type of environment, highlight it on your resume. Use the exact keywords the same way the employer does in the job description. If they list remote work as a skill, for example, then that’s where you should list it on your resume, too. Find other ways to work it into your experience as appropriate. The folks at BioSpace offer tips on how to do that here.

You fit the remote or hybrid work culture. Ask your recruiter about and check the company’s website for the employer’s view on hiring remote workers. Some, like Austin-based CareerPlug, have a remote-first policy displayed proudly that outlines what it means to fit as a remote employee. “We hire great people who live our values, bring their best to their work, care about their team, and then we do our best to get out of the way. No office required to look over your shoulder,” CareerPlug declares. Find shared values within their remote work policy and highlight those during the hiring process.

You can reassuringly answer the question, “Why do you want to work remotely?” When you interview for remote jobs, you’re likely going to be asked this question. And “because I’m lazy and I hate people” probably isn’t the answer they’re hoping to hear (even if it’s true). A better way to frame it is that your productivity and creativity soar at home, or you’re excited about working for such a great company without the need to move or endure a long commute to make it happen. You can browse other potential answers (and what not to say) here.

But you’re also serious about work-life balance. Great employers understand that your motivations are mixed, and that’s OK. Cisco Secure (formerly Duo Security with offices in Austin) recognizes this by offering and encouraging constant collaboration but then also providing things like monthly “focus days” to help remote employees take a break from meetings and structure their own uninterrupted time. “If that means getting your oil changed in the morning and staying heads-down the rest of the afternoon, so be it!” Whitney Tellache, Employer Brand Manager, Cisco Secure at Cisco, told Built in Austin. The key is to show that while you want to work from home to be more available to your family, for instance, it won’t disrupt your daily productivity and attention. (In other words: When you’re working, you’re working.)

You’re set up for success. Employers will often provide or reimburse their workers for computers and other equipment necessary to do their jobs. But ensuring reasonable connectivity for remote work requires at least some responsibility on the part of the employee. For one, your internet bandwidth needs to be fast enough to email, Zoom, and whatever else you’re required to do. This advice from TechAdvisory.org offers an idea of what type of bandwidth might be needed.

“You also need to have some level of understanding and proficiency not only in your job role but in the technology and processes required to stay connected as a remote worker. Refusing to use a webcam in video calls or not being reachable by phone during the day can be dealbreakers, depending on your role,” says The HT Group Director of Operations Anne Walker. Our HT Group recruiters tell us that employers will often use the remote interview process to gauge your connectivity, home office environment, level of proficiency in tools like Zoom, and even responsiveness on email or text.

Remote work makes you happy. “In the end, employers want to hire employees who are happy with how their work is set up,” Walker says. One month into the pandemic, more than 40% of workers reported being burned out, drained or exhausted from their work while 23% felt depressed, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Plenty of workers are happy and eager to return to in-person work. If you’re one of them, that’s great! Own it! Don’t try to convince yourself or a potential employer that remote jobs interest you if they really don’t. You’ll both regret it.

And what should you look for in return? Start with company culture and values, as we point out above. Look for areas that seem to align with your ideal job situation. But also note any values or clues that seem to contradict a healthy remote work environment.

For instance, if the values include tireless dedication, going above and beyond, etc., ask the recruiter or hiring manager how that translates to a remote position. You need to be able to establish boundaries when you work from home, after all. Remote workers tend to stay logged in 10% longer than their in-person counterparts. Be sure they measure dedication in ways other than aimlessly logging more hours online than you agreed to do.  

For more questions about how to prove you’re a match for remote jobs, ask our recruiters. It’s all about connecting the dots throughout the hiring process. If they can’t picture you easing into the role seamlessly, it’ll be a tough sell.