How to Ask About Remote Work in an Interview?
Discover key strategies to inquire about remote work during interviews. Nail the conversation with confidence!
5 min read
2 Nov, 2023
According to a recent survey by FlexJobs, 65% of respondents are interested in the idea of 'working remotely. That's because this approach has numerous benefits over the traditional 9-to-5 office environment.
For instance, remote work offers an alluring blend of flexibility, personal space, and, often, a better work-life balance. But here's a tiny hiccup - how could you ask for this job opportunity from the hiring manager during an interview process?
That said, let's explore how to ask for remote work in an interview and other information you must know as a remote job-seeker.
Is It Appropriate to Ask About Remote Work in an Interview?
Many professionals believe that mentioning remote work during a job interview might reflect a lack of dedication.
But that’s not true at all! It's completely okay to discuss remote work possibilities with the prospective employer, and here's why:
- Changing Work Cultures: The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped work norms, with around 16% of global companies now operating remotely. This cultural shift makes it entirely acceptable for discuss remote work preferences upfront.
- Legitimate Request: Wanting a remote work setup doesn’t make you less dedicated. Instead, it simply reflects your desire for a remote environment that maximizes productivity and overall job satisfaction.
- Standard in Some Industries: In many tech and creative industries, remote work has become a norm, especially post-pandemic. If you’re interviewing in one of these sectors, asking about remote work is appropriate.
What to Consider Before Asking About Remote Work in an Interview?
Before asking about remote work in an interview, it’s essential to consider several key aspects to ensure your inquiry is well-received by the employer.
Here’s what you’ll need to consider before bringing up the topic of remote work:
Job Role and Responsibilities
Assess how the position's duties might be impacted by remote work. Some roles may require physical presence for hands-on tasks or collaborative projects that are best done in person.
Understanding the nature of the job will help you gauge how feasible remote work might be and how to frame your question.
Research the company’s values to determine if it values a remote work environment. If the organization emphasizes teamwork and in-person interactions, they may prefer on-site work arrangements.
However, if the company highlights flexibility and work-life balance, it may be more open to remote work. Understanding the company culture can guide you in requesting remote work without conflicting with their values.
Be aware of the norms within the industry regarding remote work. Some industries are more inclined towards remote arrangements, while others may still prefer traditional office settings. This knowledge, in turn, will help you ask informed questions.
Would you like a 4 day work week?
When to Start a Conversation About Remote Work?
Discussing remote work during a job interview requires a delicate approach, and the timing can significantly impact your impression on potential employers.
Leading with this topic immediately may not be advisable unless the job has been explicitly advertised as a fully remote or hybrid role.
A good rule of thumb is first to understand the job role and the company's expectations before diving into this topic.
Once there's a mutual interest established between you and the interviewer, you can smoothly transition into discussing remote or hybrid work possibilities.
Framing the Question About Remote Work in an Interview
Navigating the discussion of remote work during an interview requires a diplomatic and informed approach. Here are three strategies on how to frame your question effectively:
1. Initial Soft Inquiry
When gently broaching the topic of a remote work arrangement, consider an indirect method that focuses on understanding the company’s overall work culture.
"For instance, you might start by saying, “Could you share with me how your team manages flexibility in work arrangements?”
This non-confrontational approach opens the discussion without directly requesting remote work, allowing you to assess the company’s openness to such policies.
2. Direct Inquiry
If you need a clearer picture of the company's stance on remote work, a more direct approach might be necessary. In this case, you could phrase your inquiry as follows:
"I am very interested in understanding the work-life balance at your company. Are there options for remote work or flexible scheduling available within this role?"
This phrasing gets straight to the point but is polite and shows that your interest in the company extends beyond just the remote work aspect.
3. Industry-Specific Inquiry
When framing an inquiry specific to an industry, it’s essential to demonstrate awareness of the industry's standards and practices regarding remote work.
In industries where working from home is getting more common, like the tech industry, you can be more upfront.
You might say, "Remote work has become pretty normal in tech. How does your company handle remote employees?"
For industries where being on-site is more usual, like in a lab or a factory, you could ask something a bit different:
"I know this industry usually requires being on-site, but has your company looked into remote work for any roles where possible?"
How to Navigate Different Responses of Interviewer?
If the employer responds positively to the remote work query, it's a green light to discuss details and expectations. Here are the steps you should take to acquire a new job:
- Clarify Details: Inquire about how the remote work policy is structured. Ask about the number of days allowed, communication tools used, and any accountability measures in place.
- Express Enthusiasm: Show gratitude and enthusiasm about the company's flexibility. This can reinforce your employer's decision to accommodate remote work.
- Discuss Equipment and Setup: Ensure you know what equipment the company provides and what you are expected to have. This might include computers, software, or a stipend for office setup.
- Set Expectations: Talk about work hours, availability, and how your performance will be evaluated when working remotely. Do salary and benefits negotiation.
If the employer is non-committal or neutral about remote work options, here’s how to explore further:
- Seek Clarification: Politely ask for specifics if the policy seems vague or undefined. This can be framed as wanting to understand all aspects of the job to perform at your best.
- Share Benefits: Mention the potential benefits of remote work that align with the company’s goals, like increased productivity or expanded talent pools.
- Discuss Hybrid Options: If full-time remote work isn't available, propose a hybrid model as a compromise to see if that's more agreeable.
When an employer indicates that remote work isn’t an option, consider the following steps:
- Understand the Reasons: Politely ask for the reasons behind this policy. This can sometimes open up a dialogue about potential barriers and how they might be overcome.
- Negotiate Other Flexibilities: If you’re still interested in the role, see if there are other flexibilities that the company might offer, like flexible work hours or a compressed workweek.
- Make a Decision: Ultimately, if remote work arrangements are a deal-breaker for you, it may be time to decline the opportunity and continue your job search elsewhere politely.
Inquiring about remote work during an interview can significantly influence your job satisfaction and work-life balance. It's crucial to approach this conversation with confidence, clarity, and the knowledge of what you need from a remote role.
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