As more and more employers transition their teams to work-from-home arrangements during the pandemic, both hiring managers and workers gain an understanding of how efficient remote work calls for skills that tend to be different from the ones required for in-office work. Employers hiring during a pandemic tend to look for people who are able to demonstrate that they have what it takes to work well remotely, right from day one.
If you’re looking for a job, showing the hiring manager that you possess the qualities that they look for can help put you at the head of the line. What follows are tips.
1. An ability to stay organized and be professional
Working from home, you need the ability to stay disciplined in the way you schedule and organize yourself. You may encounter distractions, but your ability to set a schedule and stay on track need to carry you through. It can help to set up goals at the beginning of each week, and see how they go. You’re likely to notice that sometimes, tasks that take a long time to complete at the office take less time at home. You may find some tasks are the other way around, as well.
In an interview for a remote position, it can help to bring up any experience you may have that involved self-management and self-organization, even if it wasn’t specifically at a remote position. The better you’re able to recall examples of an ability to organize and manage without external aid, the more attractive a candidate you will be.
In the online job interview, the interviewer is also judging how professional you are and how you dress plays a big role. What to wear to an online job interview really depends on the particular role you are applying for. Make sure you do your research and understand how casual the company is. That said, only the most formal work environments would expect you to be wearing a suit for your online job interview.
2. Comfort with technology
Being successful working remotely requires an ability to quickly and effortlessly get up to speed with remote communication and collaboration apps. Job applicants who are comfortable enough with tech to try new tools and begin learning them on their own tend to be attractive to employers. Working remotely isn’t just about being willing to learn to use video conferencing and document sharing tools. You’ll need to navigate workarounds for tasks such as signing documents and receiving mail, as well, both of which you’ll need to perform with digital tools.
An ability to conduct a smooth and productive interview over the internet via Zoom or Skype, by itself, can be a good way to demonstrate comfort with technology. If you allow glitches to creep into your remote interview, it could cause the hiring manager to believe that you don’t have the kind of tech-savvy that they look for. It’s important to take extra care to ensure your video conferencing is flawless.
3. An ability to collaborate
Collaborating with your fellow workers tends to be easier when you’re physically close to them in an office setting. When you work remotely, it can be a challenging skill to master. In general, workers tend to collaborate well at work when they establish and maintain rapport. An ability to maintain such a personal connection in a remote environment requires a willingness to frequently check in with colleagues and share information unsolicited, and an ability to make yourself available when others wish to touch base with you.
You could bring up your abilities in this area during an interview by sharing information about past experience with remote projects that you were a part of, and explaining how you tend to be proactive about engaging with remote coworkers, and collaborating with them.
4. Communication skills
Successful remote workers constantly communicate with their coworkers. Awareness of how your teammates are doing with a project that you are part of can be critical to smooth remote teamwork.
A remote worker needs to be willing to message, call and email coworkers on a regular basis, clearly explain problems that turn up, talk about issues, bring up questions, and offer up ideas proactively. Such workers tend to be more productive in remote positions, and to encourage productivity in the team.
You can begin demonstrating these skills to a hiring manager the moment you begin communicating with them about a new position. Show them how effective your communication skills are by creating a clear and expressive resume and cover letter, by being careful and collected with your interview responses, and by being courteous and to-the-point with your follow-ups. If you have examples to show of how well you write, words of praise from teammates to share, or descriptions of projects with remote teammates in the past to talk about, it can help to bring up all of them with a hiring manager as evidence of your superior communication skills.
5. An ability to self-motivate
To be effective, remote workers need to be able to bring self-motivation to the job. They need to be able to get things done without being constantly monitored, and called upon for progress updates. While such supervision may be possible in an office setting, it can be hard with remote work. Workers need the ability to be self-starting.
Employers, before they will hire someone, need to see that they tend to take deadlines seriously, to set goals and achieve them, and to work with minimal external direction. Hiring managers tend to structure interviews with plenty of hypothetical behavioral questions to determine how well candidates are likely to work on their own.
To demonstrate motivation, you can talk about situations in your work experience that show how you are able to keep your eye on a deadline, motivate yourself, and get the job done. If you have specific personal work methods and systems that you tend to use to stay on track with your work, you could bring them up, as well.
While hiring managers and interviewers trying to hire remote workers do attempt to ask questions designed to find out how suitable candidates may be working on their own, it can help to offer up relevant information by yourself. When you gently direct the conversation toward areas that demonstrate how you tend to be comfortable with technology, to organize your time well, to collaborate well, and to self-motivate, you’ll find that your interviews become far more effective.