So you’ve applied for work-at-home job. Does this mean you’re safe from the dreaded interview process? In most cases, no. Many companies will want to interview you, if not in person than through services like Skype or over the phone (although be suspicious of chat/messaging interviews). While in many cases the questions will be similar, employers will also be assessing your ability to work independently from home. These experts give you their hints and tips to getting through the process and landing your dream home-based job!
When preparing for a work at home interview, plan to discuss how you manage time and communications to be productive on the job. Describing how you have been successful interacting with managers and/or team members, and troubleshooting issues remotely will enable the interviewer to get a sense of comfort in your ability to be a good fit for a work at home position.
- It isn’t uncommon for employers to arrange for a live, virtual meeting using your webcam. Remove distractions and clutter that may be visible from your home office area, test your system to make sure it meets the requirements for meeting virtually using the software instructions provided by the interview scheduler, and dress professionally, just as you would for an in-person interview
- Arrange for your home office or work area to be quiet and free from distractions. I also place a small notice on the font door of my home office requesting that no one ring the bell or knock on the door. This way, my pets are less likely to go berserk when the UPS guy or Girl Scout shows up.
- Be prepared to answer questions specific to your work environment and approach. You may be asked things such as:
- Your availability
- How you minimize distractions when working from home
- How you schedule your day when working from home
- Why you prefer to work from home
- Dress for success. Just because you’re planning to work in your pjs, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dust of your interview suit for this meeting – even if it’s via skype, you want to look like a professional who will take this job seriously.
- Do your homework – research the company, the industry, and any competitors. Prepare at least two great questions you can ask that will showcase your knowledge and preparation.
- Prepare a list of your strengths and experiences that will show you’re a good fit for a work at home position. Have you worked without onsite supervision before? How do you self-motivate to accomplish a goal? Think about a time when a colleague or supervisor has talked about your ability to take initiative.
- Smile while you talk. Something so simple as smiling while talking on the phone has been scientifically proven to improve the effectiveness in communication—the other person can actually hear your grin. Even if the recruiter can’t see you, the positive vibes that you’ll be giving off will come through on the other end.
- Control your voice’s volume and cadence.Variation in speech is important for points of emphasis, and you should apply the same principle to your phone or video interview. Try adding inflection and emphasis when you’re making your most crucial points.
- Prepare something to say that’ll make you stand out.Whether it’s an insightful question or unique story, you need the hiring manager to remember you. Plan before the call what you want to be known for and make sure you prepare some concrete examples to leave that impression.
- Do your homework before the interview about what the company does, the position itself, and even more information about your interviewer and their role within the company.
- Be ready to answer questions that come up based on your résumé about your work history.
- Tailor your résumé so that it includes actionable tips that meet the needs of the job listing.
- During the interview, maintain comfortable eye contact with your interviewer.
- Avoid being flippant or talking poorly about previous employers during the interview.” -Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation.com, @MyCorporation
Whenever we are looking to put a candidate forward for a position we would give them the following advice.
- Avoid technical difficulties if it’s a Skype or phone interview. It is important to test your devices at least an hour in advance to make sure there are no technical difficulties when it is time for the interview.. Do you have cell service where you will be taking the call? Does your Skype login work? It is difficult to have a discussion if the interviewer is unable to hear you due to technological difficulties and interruptions.
- Make sure your phone or computer are fully charged. There is no excuse for a dying device during an interview. You must also think about your setting. If your interview is via phone, make sure you are in a quiet place with no distractions. If your interview is a Skype, then make sure you are set up in a room with a solid background to avoid any distractions.
- You also need to research the company. Questions about the company background are typically the first interview question we see whether it’s phone, Skype or in person. Knowledge is key! If you know something about the company, be sure to tell the interviewer. It shows them that you have gone above and beyond to prepare for the interview. It is also very important to know who you are speaking to. To help candidates prepare, we typically will send the interviewer’s LinkedIn profile to the candidate. By doing this, candidates are able to familiarize themselves with who they are speaking to. More often than not, we will see that clients and candidates have a common connection whether that is from previous positions, their current network or even their educational background. It is much easier to have a conversation when you have something in common.
- Lastly, we would make sure candidates had specific examples in mind when discussing their experience. There is a big difference in interview success rates with candidates who can give real-life examples to support their experience vs. reading from their resume and giving surface level answers. By going into detail about your specific work experience, you are creating a clearer picture for the client around how you can perform the role.
Note from Leslie:
I think the above advice is spot on. My recommendation would be to make sure that you tailor your answers to fit the job you’re applying for. The better you can match what the employer needs, the more likely he’ll view you as the ideal candidate.
Leslie Truex is an ideaphoric writer, speaker, entrepreneur, social worker and mom trying to do it all from the comfort of her home. Since 1998, she's been helping others create careers they love by providing work-at-home information and resources through Work-At-Home Success.
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