What do you do when you can’t check out the office or meet your colleagues? Not to worry, there are plenty of other ways to figure out whether a role is right for you.
Sizing up a prospective employer’s company culture might seem impossible at first if you’re coming on board as a remote worker. But perhaps one of the few positive things to come out of the pandemic is the way we view remote workers.
It took nearly the entire world to ‘go remote’ for us to really understand just how challenging this can be. Many employees were onboarded remotely at their companies. And many employers had to consider, often for the first time, what their remote recruitment and onboarding policies were.
When the hiring process is entirely virtual, it can leave a lot of gaps in the impression you have of an employer. It’s hard to know what your average work day will be like without meeting some of your potential colleagues or getting to look around the office. And you might not want to ask the person interviewing you trivial questions such as, ‘What are the people in my department like?’
So how can you find out what you need to know about a company through a computer screen?
Plenty of things, as it turns out. Once you know what kind of information you’re looking for, learning about a company becomes a lot easier. Here’s a few tips on where to start.
Think about the hiring process
This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s as good a place to start as any. Think about what the hiring process was like for you from start to finish. How was the job advertised? Where did you find out about the role? If you found out about the job through social media, such as LinkedIn or Twitter, that means the employer has an established online presence and values digital communication.
What was the interview process like? Did you feel as if the person interviewing you felt comfortable speaking to you virtually? If it seemed like a daunting experience for them, perhaps they aren’t very comfortable with the idea of remote staff. On the other hand, if the person interviewing you was confident and at ease with the technology, you may be safe to assume they’ll have no issue with regular video calls with their remote staff.
Scope out the company’s social media
Don’t add your new boss on Facebook, but definitely look at the company’s LinkedIn page. What does it post there? How does it engage with other companies? Do other companies hold the organisation in high esteem?
Even if you’re not going to be working remotely, you should always check out your employer’s online presence as it can offer a lot of clues as to how it sees itself and how it wants others to see it.
A quick LinkedIn search or browse of the website can also tell you who’s who at your company. Familiarise yourself with people’s job titles as this can come in handy later on when you’re faced with 20 different names and titles to learn.
Look at the leadership
Depending on the size of your company, you might never interact with the executive team. But just because you don’t meet the CEO at your virtual interview, don’t think you can remain ignorant of who they are and what they stand for. After all, a company’s executive team is its culture because these leaders make the most important and impactful decisions.
See what you can find out about your company’s CEO as this may tell you a lot about what the entire workplace culture is like. If the company is well known, there might be material you can dig up in the media, such as interviews with a leading company member or interesting news stories.
See if other employees have been hired remotely
If your company has hired other people to work remotely before, that’s usually a sign that it knows what to expect from the process – and, more importantly, what to expect from you.
Remote employees should be respected the same, but treated slightly differently from those who work in-house. Does your boss seem like they realise you’ll require more advanced notice about certain things or that they will have to do a lot of video calls to train you in initially?
This last tip is very, very important. As a remote worker, if you don’t ask questions you simply won’t know what’s going on. And your employer won’t know what’s going on with you either.
Whether you’re struggling or have a question related to a task you have to complete, just ask. Make sure you have a good, efficient line of communication open between yourself and your co-workers so you can all bounce ideas off each other, just like you would in an office.
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