How to Ask If a Role Can Be Remote (Without Ruining Your Interview)

How to Ask If a Role Can Be Remote (Without Ruining Your Interview)

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Holly Strople16
Talent guru, women empowerer, boss mom
June 12, 2024 at 6:4PM UTC

“What questions do you have for me?” 

No matter the industry, company, position or recruiter, this is the one question you will be asked in every single interview. 

If you’re like any other prepared interviewee, you’ve got at least three thoughtful and data-driven questions you’re ready to ask. Each question is meant to subtly showcase your strategic mindset and focus on the future of the company.

Are there any questions that are off-limits? Is there something you want to ask, but you wonder if it’s an appropriate question? While I wouldn’t suggest asking how long you’ll have to wait before your first promotion, in our new workplace landscape, previously off-limits questions are no longer off-limits.

The pandemic has forced the taboo topic of remote working to the top of every job seeker’s “must-haves” list. Employers have been forced to weave remote work into their operating model, and candidates know it. 

While remote work was once considered a coveted perk offered by very few employers, now, candidates expect it as part of the job description.

But what happens if the job description is unclear? What if you must ask if the role can be done remotely? How do you ask without ruining the entire interview? How do you ask without giving the impression that you don’t want to work in an office, or that you are too lazy to leave your house?

Here’s how to ask about remote work in an interview—in a way that won’t give the impression that you want to wear sweatpants every day.

1. Frame your question with context.

Begin your question with a contextual statement like, “I understand that many companies have had to re-think the working environment to continue operating during this pandemic…” Then, follow up with your remote work question. Ask about the working environment (i.e. hybrid model remote work, etc.) and how the company has accommodated their employee’s needs over the last year and a half. 

2. Keep it focused on company culture.

Instead of appearing concerned about the specific role being remote, ask about company culture and how they put their employees first. This will give you an idea of whether the company embraces flexibility and balance.

 Now, to be fair, there is a chance that the company is not flexible at all in their work environment. If that’s the case, there’s a good chance the recruiters are well-versed in dancing around the topic. 

If this generic approach doesn’t provide much insight, it is completely acceptable to ask, “Can you tell me if this role is considered a remote role, hybrid role, or in-office role?”. 

The questions I answer in interviews are no longer about long-term visions for the role and what development opportunities the company offers. They are about how the company is managing the ever-changing world of COVID-19 and how it impacts the lives of the employees. I’m fortunate enough to be able to have to do very little dancing in my answers. My company cares, adjusts and performs—a message and culture I am proud to pass along.

Do not be afraid to ask the questions that matter to you. If working remotely matters to you, find an employer that feels the same. If being able to pick up your children, tend to your garden in the afternoons or…let’s be real…sitting in yoga pants while working like a boss matters to you, ask for it.  

What's one piece of advice you have for job seekers who want to work remotely? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

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This article was written by a Fairygodboss Contributor.

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