Hard Hard is it to Get a Remote Job? (And How to Do It Anyway)

Many folks are familiar with the process of hunting for a traditional office job: submitting a job application to multiple companies, going through multiple interviews, and eventually landing a gig after a good match is found.

But is it any harder when applying for remote jobs? It might not come as a surprise that yes, it’s quite challenging to land a remote job compared to a normal job.

The interview process tends to be more challenging. The competition level is higher. And remote jobs usually require more years of prior job experience– ideally in a remote context.

Let’s go in depth about why it can be quite tough to land a remote job.

Interview Process

You can expect that a remote job interview will be longer and more thorough than a normal interview.

Hiring managers want to reduce risk. But bringing on new employees to a company is a risk. A bad hire can result in lost time and money. Which is why you’ll often find that the interview process for a remote job is harder.

Imagine that you were a hiring manager that needed to hire a new employee, but you could never meet the candidate in person.

It would feel riskier.

You’d want to do your due diligence to make sure that the candidate has the skills and experience that their resume claims.

Additionally– since remote employees would be working outside the office– there is a security concern as well. While working from home, you will potentially have access to sensitive data. Therefore, your moral character and background record might also become more important for a remote job.

Expect a rigorous interview process. As a candidate, if you apply for a remote programming job, then you should expect that you’ll be asked deeper technical interview questions. You’ll likely be required to take a coding test, too.

Similarly, if you were to apply for a remote data entry clerk job, then you should expect to take a typing speed test along with a few data entry assessments.

The interview process for a remote job isn’t necessarily much different than a non-remote job (aside from the experience being entirely digital). But the process will almost certainly be longer and more thorough. This will help the employer to feel that they have accurately gauged your skill and experience level.

As you move forward through the interview process, don’t be surprised if you must partake in 3 to 5 separate interviews. It’s not uncommon to have multiple different types of interviews with variously ranked individuals, all the way up to the CEO. Organizations want to make sure that you are not only competent at the job, but also a good fit for the team.

If you’ve never had a remote interview before, then it’ll be helpful to take a look at our tips for passing a remote job interview. Everything about the interview process is covered, including preparation, talking points, and mindset.

Competition

When applying for a remote job, you should expect that there will be a higher level of competition.

Non-remote companies have a limited pool of candidates and must limit themselves to the candidates in the local area. In a small town with a small pool of suitable talent, you might be the big fish in a small pond, with leverage to snag a local job easily.

On the other hand, if you’re in in a dense metropolis city, the pool of candidates is larger, resulting in a more competitive playing field.

Remote companies can reach across geographical boundaries and can accept applications from an even larger pool of candidates.

People from different states, and even countries, can apply for a remote job. Although companies tend to prefer candidates within overlapping timezones, it nonetheless results in a remote job post receiving responses from hundreds, or possibly thousands of applicants.

All of this adds up to one simple fact: you will need to differentiate yourself and prove yourself to be the most suitable candidate when applying for a remote job. Being average is not an option.

The key to overcoming high competition is by effectively marketing yourself online. A good LinkedIn profile with a tidy resume will go a long way towards putting you on the short list of candidates.

Experience Requirements

With a larger pool of candidates comes varying levels of competition. There will be more low-experienced candidates, but also more high-experienced candidates to compete with.

Most remote jobs are reserved for mid to high experienced candidates. Your resume will be seen side-by-side with veterans of the industry. Therefore, people with 5 to 15 years of experience have enormous leverage, and tend to have the first pick at remote jobs.

You will tend to find that remote jobs rarely offer entry-level roles. Most remote job requirements state that you must have, at minimum, a few years of prior experience to qualify. Entry-level candidates must go against the odds.

But most ambitious folks understand that you can sometimes land a job even if you have insufficient experience. By showing that you are clever and highly motivated, you can sometimes bypass the written job requirements.

However, if you’ve never had previous professional work experience in a particular industry, it’s still quite difficult to land a remote job. The standards for a remote job are generally higher.

So what can you do about it? You will need to build up some work experience first before you will qualify for a remote job. You will also need to embody the characteristics of a good remote worker, and choose a strategy for building your own work experience.

You can follow our guide to help you get started on the journey to landing a remote job without experience. We’ve explained the traits of the ideal remote worker as well as various paths you can take towards building work experience.

Remote Culture

Working and collaborating with others in a remote environment can be starkly different than working in an office.

Remote companies want employees with prior remote experience. Not just work experience. If you already have previous remote work experience, then joining a remote team will be a smooth and seamless process. You’ll already know what to expect on the first day.

On the other hand, if you have years of experience working in an office but never remotely, you will be perceived as being a risky hire.

It’s not just about the obvious differences, such as communicating through text and video rather than in-person. But there are behavioral differences too.

Will you be able to adapt to the remote work lifestyle? Some people who work from home for long periods of time suffer from depression due to the isolation. Others experience burnout because they overwork themselves due to the lack of social queues to stop working.

As a remote worker, you must be a self-starter. You must have a higher level of discipline to separate work from persona life. Since you aren’t in an office space, you won’t be able to see body language and non-verbal queues that trigger you to pay attention or focus.

Communication is entirely digital. Can you handle that? Most communication in a remote organization is done through email and chat messages.

You must be able to effectively communicate with peers to share context. And if you don’t understand something, you’ll need to proactively reach out to gain additional context.

Additionally, you’ll need a good computer at home, fast internet, and familiarity with common productivity software like Slack, Zoom and Google Docs. You’ll need to understand how to use task-tracking software like Jira, Trello, and Asana.

To increase your odds of landing a remote job, you can start by getting familiar with the common productivity tools used by remote teams. This will give you an idea of what to expect on the job.

Do You Have What it Takes to Land a Remote Job?

As you can see, landing a remote job isn’t a walk in the park. Since you must competing against candidates from around the world, the bar is high. And even if you have enough years of professional experience, you’ll need to have some remote work experience in order to have a fair shot at landing a fully remote role.

However, millions of people around the world are working remotely at this moment. They had to jump through the hoops, but they did it. They successfully landed a remote job, and so can you.

Anything worth having is not easy to get. But it’s still worth having, right? Once you start working remotely, you might never want to work in an office ever again.

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