Why Do You Want to Work Remotely?


So, why do you want to work remotely?  If you are interviewing for a remote job, you might hear this question.  Don’t let the interviewer catch you off guard!  Prepare for the question and ace the interview!

First, you should think through your answer and prepare in advance.  Also, tailor your answer to the company you are interviewing with.  In addition, talk about how working remotely benefits the company, not just you!  Finally, speak to your ability to handle the responsibility of working remotely.

Before you ask to work remotely, or go to interview for a remote job, make sure that it will work for you!  If you are not sure, check out my post on the pros and cons of telecommuting.

Prepare in Advance

You should think through your answer to this question in advance.  You don’t want your answer to sound scripted.  However, you will not win any points if you sit in stunned silence after hearing this question.  So, make sure you prepare!  Below are a few key points to think about in preparing your response to this question.

By the way, this exercise can apply to any and all interview questions.  It is a good idea to anticipate possible questions beforehand, and think about how to answer.  If the questions come up, then you are all set.  If not, then you spent a little time using your brain, which is never a bad thing!

Outline

The best way to keep your head together while preparing an answer is to create an outline.  This should include all of the key aspects of your answer.  This should include an “intro”, or the first sentence or two that you will use.  You should also have a “body”, made up of the key points, or reasons that you want to work remotely.  Finally, you should have one crisp, clean “conclusion” sentence that sums it up and ends on a high note.

Research

Now you have finished your outline, which is the skeleton of your response.  At this point, you should do some research to help you fill in the details.  For instance, let’s say that one of your main points is “remote work increases worker productivity”.  In that case, you should do some research to find statistics that support this claim.  If your research leads you to statistics specific to your job or industry, all the better.

Other potential items to research are:

  • cost savings for companies in your industry (cost of office space per employee)
  • ability to attract and retain workers

Make it Familiar

Finally, you have finished your outline, and done research to fill in your outline with statistics!  You are all done, right?  Well, not quite.  Before you jump into the interview seat, make sure that you are familiar with your answer.  Again, you don’t want to sound too rehearsed.  However, you should not stumble over your words when talking to the interviewer.

Memorize your intro, main points, and conclusion.  Then, practice giving the answer to someone else after they ask it.  This could be a family member or friend.  You can also record yourself on a webcam (or just the audio).  That way, you can review and find the parts that are weak or incoherent.  Then, you can edit your response and be ready to speak confidently and intelligently.

Content

As you edit the content of your prepared response, be sure to keep a few things in mind.

First, tailor your response to the company you are applying to.  They will see a generic answer from mile away.  This is especially true if you are dealing with an experienced HR professional or recruiter.

Also, edit your response so that you do not appear selfish to the interviewer.  Don’t make it all about you.  Instead, talk about the benefits of remote work for the company.

They may have a sincere interest in what you have to say about remote work and its benefits.  More likely, they are asking to see if you understand the “question behind the question”.  In this case, they are trying to see whether you are about the company and the job, or yourself.

Finally, include some material to show that you are responsible enough to handle the job remotely.  This could mean mentioning previous remote work experience.

If you don’t have that experience, don’t worry.  You can mention the skills that help remote workers to succeed.  Then, showcase how you have demonstrated those skills in the past.

This serves two benefits.  First, you show that you understand what skills you need to succeed. Second, you prove that you have those skills.

Tailor Your Response

This step also involves doing some research on your part.  Look on the company website for press releases, blog posts, and information.  Then, use it to your advantage in crafting your response.

For instance, let’s say that the company has a press release that mentions the benefits of remote working.  As you read through the press release, you find exactly what you are looking for!  You see a quote from a manager at the company, citing increased productivity of remote workers.

Bingo!  You should include a line about how working remotely allows you specifically, and workers in general, to be more productive.  Alternatively, you could mention how remote work has increased worker productivity at this company.  Then, cite the article on the press release page.  This shows that you have done your homework on the company, and thought carefully about the benefits of remote work.

As another example, let’s say that you read a blog post by a company executive.  He discusses how the company is trying to move towards remote work arrangements.  He then talks about their goal to reduce operating costs, such as office expenses.

Again, bingo!  You should include a line about remote work reducing costs, such as office expenses.  You might receive bonus points if you cite the blog post as your source.  This shows that you have an interest in the company.  It also shows that you have an interest in how you can help to improve the bottom line.

Don’t Be Selfish

This means exactly what you think it does.  Don’t go on endlessly about the benefits of remote work for you.  It is true that there are many benefits of remote work for employees.  However, you want to emphasize how remote work arrangements will benefit the company.

As mentioned earlier, there are several possible areas that you can touch upon.  These include:

  • increased productivity of remote workers
  • reduction of office distractions
  • decreased expenses for a physical office (rent, utilities, etc.)
  • location independence of workers (and the company, if everyone works remotely!)
  • larger talent pool for open positions (anyone with an internet connection and the skills!)

As mentioned before, there are numerous benefits to the employee who has a remote work arrangement.  However, if you can mention these and show a benefit to the employer, you will win their good graces!

For instance, when you work remotely, there is no need for a twice-daily, white-knuckle commute.  This will benefit you, the employee, by giving you more time each day.  However, it will also benefit your employer, since you will work more efficiently without the stress of commuting.  Instead of spending your first 30 minutes of your day commuting, you can spend them doing work!

Show You Are Responsible

This means showing that you have everything you need to work remotely.  This includes the technical setup, work-specific skills, and self-management ability.

First, you might want to mention that you already have the perfect home office setup.  This means that you have either worked remotely in the past, or you have prepared to do so now.  Either way, this will inspire confidence in the interviewer.

The reason is that you are taking initiative and preparing to work remotely before you even have the job.  You will not be asking them for help in setting up or dealing with technical requirements.

Speaking of which, you should make sure that you mention technologies that the company uses to work remotely.  You can mention a dedicated cell phone line for business calls only.  Also, you might mention that you have high-speed internet at home.  You will win bonus points by having a backup plan, such as a cafe or library that provides wireless internet.

Finally, you should talk about software like Skype or Slack for communication, and antivirus software for security.  The company might have their own specific plans for cybersecurity.  However, it helps your cause to show that you have considered these issues.

You should also mention that your workspace is distraction-free.  The kids will be at daycare, and the televisions in the house will be off.  In addition, disable sites like Facebook on your work computer.  This shows that you are serious in your commitment to work without distractions.

One more thing: you want to prove to the interviewer that you have self-discipline and can motivate yourself.  This could mean asking a question about more work when you have completed your daily or weekly assignments.

Conclusion

If you want to work remotely, you will almost certainly need to pass through an interview process. It might be more rigorous than a normal interview, since the company will not have direct, in-person supervision.  That means they need to know that they can trust you.  Prove this to them in your answer to the question “Why do you want to work remotely?”

You should also use your answers to other questions to prove your worth.  Show that you have the ability to think critically and anticipate questions and objections.  Then, answer those questions and address those objections.  Show that you are ready to work remotely, and you will have the job!

Once you get that remote gig, you will want to make sure you are set up with the right equipment.  To get some ideas and inspiration, check out my post on the best telecommuting tools.

If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below!

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