7 Skills Employers Look For When Hiring Remote Workers

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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.com.

Being able to work remotely is a skill in and of itself. If you’ve landed an interview for a remote job, congratulations!

You’re one step closer to enjoying the benefits of working remotely, like having greater control over your schedule and being able to balance your personal commitments better.

However, when preparing for your interview, there are a few essential skills you’ll need to show that you’re ready for remote work.

Highlighting these key skills will show a recruiter that you’re prepared for the challenges of working remotely.

Remote Work Skills Interviewers Are Looking For

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Independent of the job’s experience requirements are qualities virtual team members need to be successful, such as technical skills, the ability to work independently, and excellent communication skills.

While these skills may not be advertised in the job posting, many employers will be assessing them during your remote interview.

1. Communication Skills

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Employers realize many people tend to communicate better in person. One of the fundamental ways you can show a recruiter that you’re ready for a remote role is by showcasing your professional communication skills.

First, ensure you’re as clear and concise as possible. When you’re writing an email response to the recruiter, take the time to proofread and edit your message before you hit send.

Second, in a video or phone interview, speak slowly and clearly, and avoid multitasking so that your recruiter can understand you. Also, remember that there can be a lag in video speeds, so ensure that you slow down just a bit to verify your entire message is communicated.

Finally, consider recording a video of yourself or working with a virtual coach to practice interview answers beforehand. When you replay it, take note of whether you’re using appropriate pauses and communicating effectively.

Also, be prepared to discuss how you would handle various types of communication challenges.

For example, how would you approach communicating with a difficult remote coworker or someone with a different communication style?

2. Technical Skills

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Employers look for team members with technical skills and the ability to manage and troubleshoot equipment issues.

Remote workers rely on technology to interact and conduct operations, so being able to deal with technical challenges and navigate systems independently is important.

Be prepared to discuss your comfort level using different technologies and software programs common to the field you’re applying for. Some employers will give you a technical skills assessment as part of the interview process, so it’s important to brush up before the interview.

If you’re uncomfortable with a particular technology, be honest about it. However, explain what you’re doing to learn more about it or how you would find the answers to questions that arise.

Demonstrating that you’re resourceful and willing to learn new things is just as important as having the technical skills required for the job.

3. Prior Remote Experience

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Although not all employers require applicants to have previously worked in a remote job, it can help you stand out from the competition.

Even if this would be your first official remote role, there are other ways to highlight your experience meeting remote deadlines.

Perhaps you took on a leadership role in a club or organization where members were in different locations. Maybe you had an online class or an internship where you worked remotely some of the time.

These experiences can help demonstrate that you have what it takes to succeed in a remote role.

If it wasn’t an official remote role, be prepared to connect the dots on how your prior experiences have prepared you for working remotely and managing expectations virtually.

4. Self-Motivation

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While there are many advantages to working from home, recruiters are mindful that it’s not for everyone.

One of the biggest challenges of remote work is the need to be self-motivated and self-disciplined. Without someone looking over your shoulder, it’s easy to procrastinate on essential tasks.

During your interview, you’ll need to convey that you can stay focused and on task even when there are no external pressures.

One way to highlight your remote readiness is by mentioning your dedicated home office space and your ability to set and adhere to a schedule.

5. Initiative and Confidence

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A lot can be lost when you are geographically separated from coworkers and managers. Remote workers must be able to speak up and ask questions when they need help.

Additionally, to ensure long-term fulfillment in your role, you’ll need to seek out stretch assignments and be goal-oriented towards career growth.

Show the recruiter that you’ve mastered this aspect by discussing when you took the initiative on a project or went above and beyond your regular job duties. Whenever possible, back up your experience with data to demonstrate the tangible results of your efforts.

It’s also compelling to mention how remote work fits into your long-term career goals, highlighting that this is a strategic career move, rather than one of convenience.

6. Time management

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Recruiters are realistic about the distractions of a home office — staying on task and being productive when not in a traditional office setting can be a formidable challenge for some.

That’s why employers eagerly seek remote workers who can manage their time effectively and efficiently.

If you’re looking to make a case for why you’re the right candidate for a remote job, demonstrate that you can stay focused and get work done despite the lure of home life and others around your space.

Be prepared to discuss possible distractions and how you’ll mitigate them. Highlight your favorite time management tips that have helped you stay focused on important deadlines in the past.

7. Reasons for Wanting to Work Remotely

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There is not necessarily one right answer, but employers want to understand what drives a person to want to work from home.

This is not only for hiring purposes but also to discover new opportunities and growth for remote work options.

Stay away from purely self-focused or shallow reasons that won’t impress the interviewer. You might have visions of working in your pajamas every day (we highly discourage that), but that’s not what the hiring manager wants to hear.

Instead, focus on how working remotely will benefit both you and the employer. For instance, are you more productive when you have control over your work environment?

Getting Remote Interview-Ready

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When you’re applying for a job that will be done remotely, it’s important to be prepared to discuss the necessary skills for success in a remote working environment.

Remote work can be a great opportunity to learn new skills and grow professionally. But it’s important to be honest about your abilities and what you’re still working on.

If you’re not sure about something, ask questions! The goal is to make sure both you and the employer are clear about what’s expected in a remote working arrangement.

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