How to find the right remote job
Remote work is trending, and recent high-profile communications from executives (Elon Musk’s letter is one example) are likely to fuel increased interest in remote work. The good news for those who prefer hybrid or remote work: Most companies offer employees the option to work where they want – at least part of the time.
But how can you be sure you’re having a good work experience when so many companies are adding hybrid work to the options they offer their employees? It will be important to think about how companies maintain constructive cultures, how they communicate and lead, and how they foster career growth when working remotely. You won’t want to take these at face value. You need to ask tough questions to ensure your remote experience has a positive impact on your career and life.
Additionally, chances are you face a lot of competition for remote jobs. While the number of positions is increasing, there is also a lot of interest from candidates considering how many people are researching this field. A recent study by Lemon.io found the following trends in Google searches:
- Searches for “work if you want remote jobs” are up 556%
- Searches for “What remote jobs are in demand” are up 357%
- Searches for “remote positions” and “remote part-time jobs” are up 85% and 105%, respectively, hitting all-time highs.
7 considerations for the right fit
With all the hype surrounding remote work, finding your best remote opportunity requires two trains of thought – you want to differentiate yourself – but you should also interview the company to make sure the remote job they’re offering really is everything what they promise.
In general, companies struggle to find workers, but they tend to have more applicants for remote jobs. Given this dynamic, you need to differentiate yourself from everyone else who is also following the position. You know how to do this in general, but you need to focus on a few unique issues as you break away from the pack for remote work.
#1 – Demonstrate your commitment to results
Remote work requires significant levels of empowerment, personal integrity and work ethic, and these will be high on the list of what employers want in an ideal candidate. When you’re home, you might hear the siren song of an afternoon nap or the show you want to put on — but you need to focus on getting things done.
Make it clear to the interviewer that you work hard and demonstrate this by providing examples of how you have achieved results in the past. Include examples from your volunteering or community life and work history, as these show areas where you put effort and achieved results without supervision.
#2 – Show your commitment to the job and the company
Hiring managers also want to know that you are interested in the open position and not just trying to get your foot in the company’s door. Additionally, they want to hear your commitment to them and not just your interest in working remotely for any company.
You are challenged to preserve their cultures and ensure people have a sense of shared purpose, allowing you to set yourself apart by researching the job and company and relating to specific aspects that interest and motivate you and that engage and inspire you will do great work.
#3 – Demonstrate your commitment to communication, connection, and community
Many companies are new to remote and hybrid work, so they’re also learning how to keep people connected. Maintaining community in a distant work environment can be a struggle that requires a high level of intentionality and investment of time.
Organizations will be most excited to hire those who are committed to being a part of their community. Discuss how you communicate and your strengths in nurturing relationships, building social capital, contributing to a collegial environment, and nurturing connections. This emphasis on community and connections will be music to an employer’s ears.
Choosing the Right Opportunity
Not only must you differentiate yourself in this process, but you must also have a thorough understanding of the organization you are considering. Because so many companies didn’t offer remote work before the pandemic, they may not be very good at it yet. So it’s important to consider a few key factors in your own reviews.
#4 – Ask about company culture
This consideration is a big deal because it sets the context for everything else. Ask the company about their culture and whether remote work (except during the pandemic response) is new to them. If it’s new and they’re not intentionally planning how they’re going to manage it over the long term or how their policies, practices, and processes will support new ways of working, stay away. But if it’s new to them and they’re actively taking steps to make remote work a part of their culture, you’re in better shape.
Also, ask how decisions are made and whether others work primarily in the office or remotely as well. If you’re in the minority of remote workers and unlikely to keep up, the opportunity can limit your career.
Also look for information about how the organization keeps people connected. Do they organize events to bring people together? Do teams have budgets for activities, retreats, or regular face-to-face exchanges that strengthen bonding and belonging? If the organization is actively working to make all employees, whether remote or on-site, a part of the community, then you can look forward to this opportunity. On the other hand, if the commitment to remote work isn’t noticeable, you might want to keep looking.
#5 – Ask about the organization’s leadership and teams
In the same way that many organizations are new to the remote strategy for the future of work, so too are many leaders needing to build their skills in remote management and engaging their teams. Find out if the company is developing leaders and learn more about what is expected of leaders. Find out if leadership development is part of the organization’s approach and if there are opportunities for plenty of feedback to leaders, between and between team members.
Remote work can complicate the flow of information and you should know that the opportunities for input and participation are sufficient to ensure that the organization, leaders, teams and individuals can continually learn and improve.
#6 – Ask about the organization’s approach to career advancement
You should also ask if you have opportunities to grow and develop in your career. Many companies reward and encourage those who are the most accessible and have greater visibility, and in these cases remote work may not be an optimal path for career advancement.
Ask how the company is creating presence justice where people have access to pay, promotion, learning and growth no matter where they work. Find out if career progression is more structured or organic – so you know what it takes to advance and develop when working remotely.
#7 – Ask about the convenience of the organization
Also, consider how the company is setting you up for success if you’re working remotely or hybrid. Does their technology support you in your home office and does the technology in the office support participants who are both remote and in the office (think: easy access, large displays, good acoustics, etc.).
Find out if there are offices you can come to if you need to – either at headquarters or at a work club. And find out if the office is a place you’d like to be – one that supports all types of work in a stimulating, interesting and connected environment. There may be times when you want to be in the office with your people, so find out if that’s an option.
Although some companies are requiring employees to return to the office full-time, remote work is also here to stay with a critical mass of employers offering it, and many employees are working from home at least part of the time.
However, new ways of working will not be automatic. There will be a learning curve for both employees and employers, so you should be aware that you are the right candidate and confident that you are choosing the right job. By considering all of these factors, you will find a suitable solution that offers you the greatest opportunity to contribute and provides the highest level of personal and professional fulfillment.