Wait! Before you sign that contract for your first (or second, or third, for that matter) remote job, you want to make sure that it’s the right opportunity for you.
We’ve got a list of simple questions that can help you qualify any remote job and ensure that you’re the ideal fit for it.
The 8 Questions You Must Ask Before Accepting A Remote Job
“Do you work standard office hours or is there another arrangement?”
You might as well get to the crunch. Working remotely doesn’t always mean “choose your own hours.”
Some places may expect you to work standard hours, others may want you to set your own schedule, still others may demand overtime for no compensation, work out what’s expected before negotiating your pay.
And if the hours are too long, read our guide on how to avoid burnout. A work-life balance is important.
“What is your onboarding process like?”
This question is really aimed at “how fast do I need to hit the ground running?”
If your orientation is a copy of the company handbook and a 30-minute welcome lecture, the answer is “super fast.”
If, on the other hand, there’s a month-long process to be followed, the odds are pretty good that your boss isn’t expecting results on day one.
“What do you consider to be the essential daily tasks of this role?”
There’s a term that strikes fear into the heart of every freelancer and it’s “scope creep”.
That’s where you agree to do a job for a fee, and somehow, the job keeps growing but your fee? That stays completely static.
Employment can work like this too. You read a job description. You apply for that job. You turn up on the first day and boom! Scope creep.
Instead of answering a few helpdesk calls, you’re now managing the entire engineering team but for no extra money, whatsoever.
Find out what the job entails and don’t be afraid to get that confirmed in writing.
“How does the team communicate effectively?”
You need to know that a team you’re joining does communicate effectively, because unless you’re an expert in conflict resolution – teams that don’t aren’t worth joining.
And you want to know what software packages and systems are in place so that you can study them and be ready to use them.
You may also want to clarify the need to be “available” and communicate.
As a freelance writer, I work mainly via Slack and my clients message me when they need to.
As an employee, you may not want to be available around the clock.
“How will my performance be measured?”
We are all judged by the work we do, right? Well, no. In fact, in many organizations there will be a set list of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) that they judge you by.
Find out what they are and if you can have any influence over them and when you will be reviewed against them.
“How will you provide feedback on my work?”
This can be critical for a lot of people. Formalized feedback is a great way to grow as an employee and be better at what you do.
However, in some situations, and particularly start ups, there may not be anyone capable of giving you constructive feedback.
You need to decide what’s most important to you before you take a job. Startups suit a very particular kind of person, you don’t have to join if you don’t think it will work for you.
“Are there opportunities for me to grow beyond this position?”
This is a much better question than “what will it take for me to get your job?” even though it’s kind of the same thing.
If you want a career path, then you should be certain that one exists with your new employer.
Some companies see almost no turnover and thus, rarely have any chance for you to move up, some are too small, some only promote graduates, and so on…
Of course, you don’t need to ask this if you don’t want a career path, many people choose remote work in a field they are competent in to reduce or avoid the stress of climbing that ladder.
“What percentage of the team is working remotely?”
This is your chance to gauge how well established remote working is within an organization.
While everyone’s gotta start somewhere, right? You don’t have to be the person they practice on unless you want to be.
The more people who already work remotely, the better prepared the business is likely to be to support your success.
This is also, possibly, a measure of stability for your role too. If a company is just trying out remote work, if they don’t like what they see, you could quickly be looking for a new role.
Final Thoughts On Questions Before Accepting A Remote Job
Asking questions before you sign on the dotted line is a smart thing to do, the more you qualify an opportunity, the more you know it’s the right one for you.
This not only increases your chances of success but also the employer’s chance of a great working relationship with you in the long-term.
If you’re not getting enough offers to ask these kinds of questions, then you might also appreciate our article on the interview questions you need to know for remote work and how to answer them.