How things have changed: a few years ago, an interview for a job usually involved you traveling (often at your own expense) to the employer’s location, usually its offices, where you’d be interviewed in a meeting space or board room, before heading off again.
If you got the job, that routine would then be your 9-5, five days a week, and that was all very normal. Now though, we do job interviews from home, testing our WiFi connections in advance, setting up adequate lighting and making sure our angles are on point, before hitting “join meeting” and answering the dreaded, “tell me about yourself” question.
But doing a remote interview and interviewing for a remote role are two different things. Getting a job that offers hybrid or full remote work is a wishlist item for many now, and while 58% of Americans now have the opportunity to work from home some of the time on a hybrid basis, only 35% of them have the option to work from home five days a week.
That’s according to McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey, which shows that the option to work remotely isn’t equal across the board. The survey also found that 61% of men say they were offered a remote work opportunity, but only 52% of women and 32% of transgender/nonbinary say they were offered flexible work options.
Age plays a factor too, with 64% of the 25 to 34 age bracket offered a hybrid position, compared to 58% of those aged 35 to 54, and only 48% aged 55 to 64. Those with an advanced education degree are favored by hybrid employers too, with 76% saying they were offered hybrid work, compared to only 50% for an associate degree and 48% for workers with some college education.
The waters are further muddied by recent research from Microsoft, which discovered that “in the shift to hybrid work, 85% of leaders say they have a hard time knowing for sure that their people are being productive. Yet whether they were working remotely, in person, or a mix of both, 87% of employees say they are productive at work.”
This has led to what Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is calling “productivity paranoia”. He says, “Leaders think their employees are not productive, whereas employees think they are being productive, and in many cases even feel burnt out.”
With tech layoffs abounding across the spring and summer of this year and fears of a recession on the way, alarms are starting to sound for those whose preferences are firmly set on WFH.
In a survey of 3,000 managers polled by beautiful.ai, 60% said that remote workers were “likely” and/or “extremely likely” to be laid off first. Another 20% were undecided, and the remaining 20% said it wasn’t likely.
The headwinds are making things seem pretty clear. If you want to get out ahead of the competition in order to both ace an interview for a remote role and make sure you keep that job once you have it, here are the tactics you should use.
If you’re trying to display that you won’t be a cause of productivity paranoia, then showing that you’re a reliable worker is one of the best ways to do that. Give examples of how you’ve met deadlines on projects, or consistently delivered/over-delivered on what was expected of you.
No one enjoys having to organize someone else’s day. If you can talk through examples of how you have streamlined processes and work schedules or have improved existing ways of working within your team, these will all be great indicators that you’re a good bet for remote work.
Remote work relies on a little more back and forth than in-office — after all, you can’t just walk over to someone’s desk and double-check a detail. How do you get confirmation on tasks and projects? Do you send your current manager end of day or end of week briefing notes and how do you keep your team up-to-speed on projects? Giving full information on how you effectively communicate and keep people in the loop is crucial.
Everyone needs support at work, that’s a given. But when we work remotely most of the time, we need to be great at managing our own time too. How can you show this to a prospective employer? If there are particular tools or scheduling software you use to manage your time, make sure to explain how you make these work for you. Explain how you efficiently make use of team meetings too, and showcase how you avoid too much “noise” by using dedicated Slack or messaging channels for any queries that may arise during the working day.
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