June 6, 2022

7 Questions Job Seekers Ask About Remote Jobs

by Mary Newgard

For a long time, the burden to prove the concept of work-from-home fell on the job seeker with much of the interview process spent on questioning whether this individual could be successful. Today, remote jobs are so prevalent and necessary to talent acquisition that the tables have turned. Job seekers are in the power position. They need to know if you, the employer, can make this arrangement successful. Here are seven of the most common questions/concerns candidates raise. Are you prepared to answer these questions in an interview?

1) Is the company committed to the plan long-term? The operative word here is stability. When candidates ask, “Is working from home just a response to COVID?” or “Will you eventually ask me to work in an office?” they are fearful that remote is a short-term recruiting and retention strategy. You need to paint a convincing picture that into perpetuity you are committed to a dual or fully virtual work environment.

2) Will working remotely affect my compensation? If we’re being honest, many employers before the pandemic treated work-from-home like a perk. It was one of many soft benefits factored into total compensation. Today, candidates don’t see remote work as having anything to do with their income. They want to know, “Will I be paid less than someone in the same position who works in an office?” or “Will you adjust my salary based on cost-of-living factors?” Be prepared for pay equity discussions on remote jobs.

3) Can I negotiate paid time off? The inherent flexibility that accompanies remote jobs makes people worried that they will not be privy to comparable PTO. They will ask, “Do you offer less PTO to remote workers?,” “Will you closely monitor my computer for login/checkout times?” and “What is the time off approval process?” It’s critical to address work/life balance with remote job applicants.

4) Will coworkers be jealous of my situation? Being the new kid on the block is tough. The last thing people want to be is the new hire pariah. When job seekers ask, “How many people in your company work 100% remotely?” they want to know if coworkers and managers will have a bias against them. Your goal is to clearly outline how work-from-home capabilities have evolved for current staff and new hires.

5) Do hiring managers have experience managing a remote workforce? Too often I’m contacted by people who say their manager is the number one reason they want to find a new job. Examples they give lately are related to the remote work dynamic. If an applicant has had a bad experience working virtually, they will ask questions like, “How many hiring managers also work remotely?” or “How does the manager interact and communicate with employees?” Involve the hiring manager in interviews. Have them outline specific ways they engage with remote employees on issues ranging from performance reviews to career development.

6) Will I have the same career advancement opportunities? Here’s where you and the job seeker share the same goals. You both want satisfying, long-term opportunities for them to be successful. The catch is in the most common question applicants ask such as, “What does career development look like?” and “Will I have to relocate to advance in the company?” You need to put a spin on the big topics like training, mentoring, promotions, and career advancement if their location is fixed indefinitely.

7) How can you make me feel like part of the team? No one wants to feel alone and out on an island. Working from home can be isolating. The three C’s — Connection, Community, and Culture — are pivotal to successful work-from-home arrangements. Share how you’ve adapted everything from work meetings, client visits, team building, volunteerism and social outings to ensure inclusivity for all employees, office and remote.

“Ask the Insurance Recruiter” is a monthly column written by Mary Newgard, Partner and published in partnership with Insurance Journal Magazine. Visit Insurance Journal Magazine’s website for a complete list of previous articles. For questions and comments, email Mary at mnewgard@csgrecruiting.com


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