Address it Immediately
If it’s an important aspect of your job search, make sure the hiring manager knows this early in the interview process and definitely within the first in-person conversation. This way, you can be upfront about your needs, allow them the opportunity to be transparent about their current policies and use both of your time efficiently.
If it’s a “need to have”, be upfront about that. If it’s a “want to have”, explain your ideal circumstances (ex.: working three days in office, and two offsite) and why this matters to you. Whatever you do, be honest. It’s important that both of you have the pertinent information to move forward.
Propose a Thought-Out Agreement
If the hiring manager seems open to the idea of remote working, give them an example of what that might look like. Taking the reins will help them to understand what you envision as your ideal setup and can help them outline the details of how to make it work. This can include:
- Business hours (beginning and end of day as well as lunch time)
- Communication channels so you can keep up-to-date, informed, and available with your team.
- Any other alternatives you foresee (ex. How to handle virtual meetings)
In addition to the outline of your day-to-day, give them reasons why this will benefit the company and your quality of work. This might include:
- No commute means you can start earlier.
- Childcare won’t need to be arranged.
Finally, since companies traditionally think of remote work as lacking in quality, provide the hiring manager with plans you’ve already put in place to ensure your output:
- Dedicated daily video chats with supervisors for status reports.
- Shared office to-do lists.
- Explicit deadlines for work.
- Productivity tools you use already.
It’s never a good idea to go into a job interview with a fixed idea of the working situation you’re looking for. Interviews are open-minded conversations, so take some time to figure out what’s important for you, and what is more of a “want to have”. Prepare a list including your ideal setup, and a few less-than-ideal alternatives for both you and the hiring manager to consider. You can always ask that this conversation be revisited in the future. Here are a few examples to consider:
- If remote work is not an option: Perhaps a setup that allows you to work 4 days per week with longer hours.
- Are there specific benefits you would like to give up in exchange for working remotely?