It's time to talk about your work-from-home situation.

A home is a special thing — it's where you live, rest, and spend time with people you love. Now, thanks to the chaos of 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic home is also where people work. 

And those are the lucky ones. Others have been laid off or were already unemployed, struggling to find work in a struggling economy. If you land the interview, you need to be prepared to answer questions you didn't think you would have to answer before, but are of crucial importance to today's interviewing process. Many of them are centered around working from home and staying connected to the office while working remotely

Here are nine questions about working from home and motivation that you should be prepared to answer — and some ideas of what you should consider before you answer. 

Has your performance and efficiency increased working remotely?

Many companies are finding that, despite fears that it would reduce employee efficiency, work from home has been equal to or even better than working in an in-office setting. 

That means they want to know what makes you work best from home and why. Is it a decrease in distractions? Are meetings fewer and more succinct? Explain why you think you are more productive in a remote setting than you are in the office.

How do you collaborate with a team in a different location?

Collaboration is a big part of many positions. Is it harder to do while people are miles apart? It can be, but it doesn't have to be; the key here is communication. 

How would you communicate with your team? Explain to the interviewer how you would decide when to set up video conferencing versus when you'd shoot out an email or a message. You can also rely on your experiences so far — especially if you've been working from home for a while now.

How do you organize your day and manage your time when working from home?

With much of the world still adjusting to the remote work model, employers want to know how you manage (or plan to manage) it all. 

Put the emphasis on your ability to structure your time for work and keeping home distractions, like the kids, pets, and laundry, out of office hours. You can also explain how you will make use of lunchtime and the time you save by not having to commute. 

What is your work-from-home situation like? 

Time to get real; an employer wants to know if working remotely is even an option for you. Do you have an established workspace? Is it closed off from the rest of the house and background noise? Do you have kids at home right now that are going to need attention? Be honest, but be optimistic. 

If you don't have an office set up just yet, imagine what you could do and how it would work. If you do have kids at home, do you have help? Don't try to pretend that your kids will leave you alone for eight hours each day; most employers are logical enough to be very open-minded about kids and work right now. 

How has working remotely changed your work routine?

This is your chance to talk about how working remotely makes you a better employee, which can include anything from making use of that commute time to get ahead on work or to eating healthier lunches and simply feeling better. 

Think about your day and how you are able to make the most out of every hour in ways that you simply couldn't do from the office.

What are the positive lessons you can take from everything that has happened in 2020?

No need to get hung up on work thoughts here. An interviewer asking this question may be as interested, or even more interested, in your personal attitude towards the challenges that this year has presented. Focus on the positive and show that you can make lemonade out of those lemons. 

Maybe you've been able to spend more time with your family and now understand each other better. Perhaps staying in has helped you gain insight into your budget. Of course, maybe your health is a higher priority now. Essentially, how has 2020 positively impacted your life, if it has?

This is your chance to show that you can stay upbeat, productive, and keep moving forward even when life gets difficult. What employer doesn't love that?

How do you self-motivate?

When you work remotely, you won't have a manager looking over your shoulder. That means that you need to take responsibility for your own work and schedules. 

What works for you and how do you keep yourself motivated without supervision? Think about why you do what you do and what makes you say, “That was a great day!” Then talk about how you plan to get there each and every day.

How would you recreate the important team building aspects of a job at home?

Even remote teams want a little fun and camaraderie. In fact, it may be even more important to focus on it when working remotely than when in-office, where it can happen organically. 

Think of fun things you could do with your team over video conferences, like trivia contests, virtual happy hours, or simply taking a little time during meetings to chit chat about life. 

How have you changed your approach to business development and client relations amidst tough economic times?

Sales is a relationship game and some people are made for it. But, without the ability to see your clients in person and shake those hands, it can be easy for those relationships to slip away — something your employers are sure to worry about.

Develop a plan for communicating with your clients and prospective clients that will set you apart from the competition. Emails get lost and pushed aside; find more personal ways to communicate such as picking up the phone or setting up video meetings. When thinking of out-of-the-box ways to prospect, you can meet and stay in touch with clients on social media and through virtual networking events. Show the interviewer how you will be personable and effective even without that face-to-face contact.

Preparing for Your Remote Interview 

As employers are focusing more on the work-from-home model while interviewing candidates, you need to be ready to show them just how prepared you are to take on that challenge. Here are a few ways you can demonstrate that you are remote-work ready:

  • Make sure your computer is ready for a video call. Test out the camera and microphone ahead of time. 

  • Establish your work area and be ready to show it off. 

  • Let your family know that you need quiet time. 

  • Dress the part just as you would for an in-person interview. 

  • Quiet distractions — don't have the washing machine, dishwasher, or tv running in the background. 

Unsurprisingly, today's employers are concerned about remote work. While some embrace it and others are still trying to adapt to the new normal, they're all making sure that any new hires can be productive and happy doing their job from home. Be ready for those questions and set yourself apart from the pack. 

Want to make sure you stand out in your next virtual interview? Our interview coaches can help you. Learn more today! 

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