In 2019, more and more companies are hiring remote workers in addition to an in-house team or making the shift to exclusively employing remote workers. With this shift in the hiring process comes a shift in the interviewing process as well. Regardless of how comfortable you are with face-to-face interviews, a remote job interview is a completely different experience. While being at home can be a comfort, it can also cause you to let your guard down. This can translate to lack of motivation or lack of preparedness in a remote interview environment. There are other factors that should be considered when interviewing remotely that aren’t present at an in-house interview. Some factors include background noise, technical difficulties, and outside distractions. Because the differences between an in-house interview and remote job interview are so vast, we thought you may like some tips to help you nail your next remote job interview.
6 Tips to Help You Nail a Remote Job Interview
1. Prepare Your Interview Area
It is important to look professional during a remote job interview just as you would for an in-house interview. While your clothing would reflect your level of professionalism face-to-face, the area in which you conduct a remote interview reflects that. Be sure your interview area is clean, organized, and does not reflect poorly on you as a potential hire.It is also important to ensure that you will not have any distractions during your interview. If you have children, try to set up a play date so they are out of the house. If you have neighbors close by, ensure that your home’s windows are closed to prevent a nearby lawn mower from causing a distraction.
2. Dress Appropriately
Despite the fact that you are interviewing from home and may only be visible from the waist up, it is important to dress appropriately for a remote job interview. Getting ready for a remote job interview in the same way you would for an in-house interview will help you get into a professional mindset. More often that not, a confidence boost also comes with getting ready. By dressing appropriately, you also prevent any embarrassment from occurring should you have to get up during your interview.
3. Research Your Potential Employer
An interview, despite the location, works two ways. It’s a chance for your potential employer to learn more about you and it’s also an opportunity for you to learn more about the company you may one day work for. Research the company’s beginnings, recent news surrounding the company, and the person who is going to be interviewing you. By having some knowledge of the company on hand, you will look well prepared and interested in your potential employer. This knowledge will also make conversation around the company flow more naturally.
4. Take Care to Prepare Your Computer
There is nothing worse than being late to a remote interview or having your computer crash mid-interview. Prior to your interview be sure that you’ve downloaded and done a trial run of the interviewing software. Set the window that you will be viewing your potential employers through at the top of your screen, centered under your webcam. This positioning helps to give the impression that you are making eye contact with your potential employer instead of looking down throughout the interview. Ensure there are no programs running in the background that could cause your computer to lag and that all your chat features are turned off, so no pop-ups appear during your interview.
5. Prepare Your Own Questions
As we stated in our third tip, a job interview is every bit a chance for you to learn more about your potential employer as it is for them to learn more about you. Come into your interview with a prepared list of questions. These questions may revolve around why the company is looking for remote work, what benefits they offer to their remote employees, and how they will work with you to ensure you’re trained correctly for the job while working out of office. You can also ask questions surrounding how many employees currently work remotely for your potential employer, what sort of tools they use to promote collaboration between in-house and remote team members, and if there are potential group meetings or team building experiences that you should expect to be a part of.
6. Explain Your Motivation for Wanting to Work Remotely
For a lot of people, working from home seems like an easy way to get work done without having to do much work; however, remote work is quite the opposite. Not being in a designated work environment can make it harder to stay focused and on-task. It is important to make it clear to your potential employer that you are a motivated individual who is prepared to successfully work remotely. Perhaps you want to work remotely because you need a more flexible schedule. Perhaps you’re the type of person who works better in an area away from office distractions. Whatever the reason, it is important to explain your motivation from wanting to work remotely. Do not treat it as the elephant in the room. Instead, tackle it early on and own it fully. Confidence and honesty will help potential employer see that you’re serious and would be an asset to the company.Remote interviews can be intimidating, like in-house interviews, which is why it is so important to prepare for them. By following our six tips above, you should be off to a strong start during your next remote job interview. In the end, confidence and preparedness are the two most important factors to nailing a job interview. With these six tips, we hope you’ll be more prepared and more confident about interviewing from a remote location. At Number8, we know quite a bit about hiring remotely with our nearshore location in San Jose, Costa Rica. With over 18 years of experience in the field of software development, our experience spans across many sectors. We commit to recruiting and hiring IT professionals who show immense talent and developers with vast experience. Learn more about who we are and see what job opportunities we currently have available.
Being a remote worker certainly has its perks. You can work from anywhere if you want to, have flexible hours, and don't have to worry about fighting traffic or the monotony of being in an office environment from 9 to 5. However, it can also be hard to focus on the task at hand when you know your boss isn’t around the corner to keep you in check. Therefore, in order to succeed as a remote worker specifically in the IT community, developing healthy boundaries and good habits is key.
Here are 5 tips to staying focused when working from home:
Set up the right work space.
Sharing your home with your work can be harder than it looks. On any given day, there might be dishes piled high in the sink, clothes tousled about, and a couch that is calling your name. Setting aside a separate space in your home that is designed just for work can be crucial to maintaining your focus. Doing so will allow your work to stay at work and not bleed into your personal life. Additionally, being in the same room of your house everyday will help keep you on task more than if you're always hopping from one room to the next. While your "office" doesn't necessarily have to be traditional, it should be clean and free of clutter as well as other distractions. Set yourself up for success by creating a space you want to work in; one with natural lighting, minimal noise, and fun decor.
Dress for the part.
Your appearance can have just as much of an effect on your work ethic as your environment does. While lounging around in your pajamas or sweat pants may seem tempting, putting effort into how you look can help motivate you and get you in the right frame of mind to work all day. If you look and feel your best, you won’t be tempted to put off that video call or meet with clients. Good intentions make for success, and you’ll find a boost in your productivity, confidence, and overall mood if you put just a little bit of effort into how you look.
Working from home mean's you get to pretend you're the boss. The only downside? Figuring out how to manage your own time. Don't get overwhelmed by trying to do everything at once. If you know your objectives, you can break up the day in an organized and productive way. Commit yourself to one task at a time, set a timer, and when it goes off move on to the next one. Blocking out your schedule within specific time frames can help keep you accountable as well as teach you how to estimate how long any given project will take to complete.
Regulate technology use.
While no one can see you checking social media, emails, or your phone from home, doing so too often can be a slippery slope and lead you to fall behind in meeting your goals. When you’re ready to sit down and work for a period of time, make sure your electronic devices are working for you instead of getting in the way. Block social media on your computer and try placing your handheld devices face down or in a drawer so you don't get distracted with never ending notifications. If you must check your messages or Facebook feed, do so consciously by giving yourself an allotment of breaks throughout the day. This way you have something to look forward to and don't merely let the day get away.
As a parent, pet owner, or roommate, setting clear boundaries with those around you is essential in being able to focus on your work when at home. Avoid the constant interruptions, or requests for attention by planning ahead for pet and child care. As for friends and family members, let them know your office hours so they can be as respectful with your time as they would if you worked in an office building.
At Number8, we believe one of the keys to achieving your business’s goals is great IT that supports your company. We help businesses access great IT by connecting them with remote workers that utilize best-practice tools and processes. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page! [/av_textblock]
There's a lot to love about remote IT work. It takes out the office politics completely and allows you to create your own schedule. It’s quicker to get stuff done without co-workers coming by to say hello whenever they please. If you want to stop by a cafe and work for the afternoon, you can! With remote IT work, you have more freedom to do the things you need during the week while also saving money on commuting, food, and coffee. Basically, working remotely is the solution to our busy modern lifestyles… or is it? The truth is, working from home isn’t for everybody. For a lot of people, they need a separation between work and home in order to be effective at either. However, for those that do choose to work remotely, there are ways to organize your life for a good balance and efficacy.
1. You have to love remote IT work.
If you don’t have a passion for the work, doing it remotely isn’t going to help anything. To be a successful remote worker, you have to be completely committed to what you are doing. Motivation is key when it comes to working from home.
2. Start on time, every day.
One of the easiest lies to tell yourself when you’re working remotely is that it’s okay for you to sleep in because you’ll just work that much later. Of course, the kids come home or your friends go out for happy hour and “later” becomes “not at all” and the next thing you know, you’re behind schedule. Pick a time to begin working and commit to being in front of your computer at that exact time, every day, no excuses.
3. Make a schedule.
Working from home requires structure. Log all your tasks on a calendar with a week-by-week schedule that keeps you on task. As something comes up, find an open spot in that calendar and let your boss or client know exactly when you are getting to it. When you can, schedule any meetings or out-of-home-office close together so you can get them all done in one big chunk of time. Each task you have per week should be prioritized. A good rule of thumb is to get anything you don’t particularly like doing done first-- that way you don’t have to think about it for the rest of the day.
4. Create the right environment.
If you choose to work remotely, you need to create a separate space in your home from which to work. Design your office space in a way that inspires your creativity. Eliminate outside distractions like TV; it’s too easy to get sucked into whatever’s happening on the tube. It’s also important to get dressed in the morning. Working in your PJs may sound fun, but our perceptions of ourselves change with what we are wearing. If you are in your lounge clothes, your brain is going to be in lounge mode. Take the time in the morning to shower, put on clothes, apply makeup… whatever it is you need to do to feel “dressed.”
5. Take breaks.
When you work from home, it’s easy to get caught up in what you’re doing. Without co-worker wandering around and stopping to chat, you can zone in on a task and get things done. However, it’s important to take breaks. We aren’t designed to work eight hours nonstop. Taking breaks helps problem solving and creativity. It also prevents burnout so you don’t lose your passion for the work (see #1 up there).
6. Find your “spot” nearby.
There are going to be days when working from home just isn’t, well, working. Maybe the in laws are in town and there’s a bunch of commotion. Maybe a room needs to be fumigated. Whatever the reason, it’s a good idea to have a spot where you can set up shop and get some work done. For many people, their favorite neighborhood coffee shop fills that role. Others rent out desk space at coworking communities. You may even have a neighbor or friend happy to lend out their office while they’re out. Just be sure it’s a place with good internet and an atmosphere conducive to working, and you’ll be fine.
7. Ask questions... and then ask some more.
When it comes to remote IT work, things get lost in translation. You may think it’s easier to have things laid out in writing, but the truth is when you aren’t verbally communicating you can’t as easily go into the depths of what your boss or client wants. Asking as many questions you can think of up front, then asking, even more, follow up questions will ensure you truly grasp your instructions so you can get your work right the first time.
8. Keep lines of communication open.
Whether your company uses Skype or you’re a Slack devotee, don’t disappear from your company’s chat channels just because your face isn’t around. Your company is a team and a team needs to communicate to work effectively. Use the tools given to you to ask questions and work together, even if you’re not in the same building.
9. Come up with your quick, go-to lunches.
With remote IT work, one of the perks is the money you can save if you skip Starbucks and take-out for making it yourself. However, just because you can save a few bucks making your own lunch doesn’t mean you’ll have time to get your Gordon Ramsay on. You still need to stick to a schedule, so you probably only have 30 minutes to maybe an hour for your lunch break, depending on how you break up your day. You’ll want to enjoy that time actually enjoying your food, not wondering what to make, then taking 45 minutes making it. Come up with 2-3 go-to lunches you can throw together in minutes so you can eat and get back to work. Buy ingredients for these lunches on Sunday and revel in the convenience.
10. Trust your gut.
All of these tips work for someone, but nothing works for everyone. You may find that remote IT work in the comfort of your sleep clothes is best for you. Some people think the noise of the television is like a sound machine that keeps them focused. Listen to your instincts and create an environment that is right for you.At Number8, we embrace the freedom and flexibility when our employees work remotely. With effective communication and the above practices, we are able to keep up with our ever-changing market whether we are in office or out. If you’re interested in learning more about Number8 and what we do, give us a call at (502) 890-7665, or check out our information page here!
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number8’s onshore office is located in Louisville, Kentucky where our Account and Relationship Managers work hard to provide all of our clients with exceptional customer service. We also have consultant offices located in Escazú, Costa Rica and San Pedro Sula, Honduras that give us a strong local presence allowing for top-level recruitment, technical training and low employee turnover.