Matt Davies

July 20, 2023

Hybrid Working: What to ask during your next interview

In this post we'll take a look at the interview must-ask questions regarding WFH

Looking for a new job is always a challenge and prepping for an interview is only slightly easier than actually sitting in that interview.

Since the turn of the century around 9% of people per year in the UK changed their jobs, pre-covid. This number is thought to have skyrocketed recently however, with LinkedIn suggesting that almost 20m Brits are considering a change of role in 2023, and around 50% of them saying that they are confident in securing a new job.

So, with us looking for better terms, better conditions and a better work/life balance, how does WFH fit into this and what sort of questions should we be asking of potential employers. Let’s take a look:

1) Is remote work a permanent or temporary option at your company?

Ok, so presumably you’ve already checked that the company offer remote working (if not, make that question one, or perhaps delay the interview and do some more research before committing). As companies further bring colleagues back to office it is worth checking with the interviewer whether WFH is a permanent thing at their company. You can tie this in when talking about the company’s philosophies and stances and the interviewers’ answers should give you a good idea as to how the company treats its employees.

2) What tech and tools are provided by a company for remote working?

This one could save you a chunk of money, or cost you a pretty penny. Most companies will supply laptops, work phones etc although not all will so it is well worth understanding what you’ll be given at the start of your new role.
You may also want to account for personal expenses as it’s likely the laptop bag you’re supplied may be *ahem* rubbish, and your phone case may not support Magsafe or fit into your cars’ phone holder. 

3) What are the company's policies regarding remote work?

What can you use your work phone for? Must it be always on, or can you turn it off at 5pm? Does the company offer to pay for any expenses such as internet usage, home office setup, insurance. Are there any specific apps you’ll need to download onto your remote equipment, and onto your own personal tech? This leads us nicely into:

4) What training can I expect to receive before working from home?

Some companies offer 1to1’s or online courses that help keep employees up to date on security. Others have complex systems and encryption to keep things safe. Most companies will have policies in place to identify and protect sensitive data. Whilst it is the company’s job to protect itself, and you, it’s worth using the interview process to understand what may be expected of you from a security standpoint..

5) Are there specific requirements for remote workers, in terms of availability, working hours and communication?

We touched on this earlier when talking about phone up-time. But it’s useful to know how you can fit remote working into your lifestyle. Are you able to go out for that lunchtime run or are you expected to be sat at your desk for 8 hours.

6) How will I be measured?

This is usually a common question during the interview process anyway, but it’s good to establish how KPI’s will be monitored when remote working too.

7) Comms, Comms, Comms

How do we communicate when remote working? There may be daily conference calls, generic apps like Whatsapp or perhaps more specific software to enable collaboration and systems to allow you to submit work and ‘sign off’ projects. Communication is key, don’t forget to discuss it during the interview process. You could also talk about in-person meetings and team building here.

8) Flexibility

Finally, try to gauge the company’s flexibility on remote working. Are they happy for you to work a Saturday and take the following Friday-Sunday off? Can you swap out that 40yo Lenovo laptop for something more Fruity and pay the difference? Are you an early bird that would love to work 5am-1pm or is morning comparable to hell and maybe a 12-8 would better suit you? One of the best things about WFH is flexibility, but this can be easily eroded by a company’s tough stances on how we work.

Conclusion

These questions should give you a good understanding of a company’s remote working policies and help you determine if they fit with your preferences and lifestyle. As always, remember an interview is a two-way process, you’re figuring out whether you want the job as much as they’re figuring out if they want you.

- Do your research (I know, I know, it’s a horrible phrase)
- Make sure you prep and practice
- Go in with full confidence.
- Bring a bottle of water, it always helped me anyway.

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