When you’re looking for your first remote role, you might think that any remote role will be a great remote role. But that’s not always the case.
In fact, you’ll have to resonate more with the role and the company and be 1000% more committed to your personal career goals and the company goals than usual, because you’ll have no one checking over your shoulder to make sure you show up for work and DO the work, and because you’ll be accountable to specific outputs and outcomes, not just ‘being seen’ — which in the past has allowed a lot of lazy and untalented people get ahead in the 9-5 work place.
Remote culture focuses on output over hours, so only those with strong work ethic and commitment to the company vision, mission and values need apply. To help you find the right culture and career fit, in this episode we go through the 10 things you need to check out before you apply to a remote company. We cover:
- What to look for on the company website, even if it’s missing!
- How to experience the company as a customer before you apply
- How and why you should research the founding team
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We’re still going through the 9 steps in detail, the ones we mentioned in ep 63: the 9 steps to get a remote job. And this episode we’re talking about how, after you feel excited by the job posting, doing a little more research about the company to make sure it’s a really good fit for you.
I think the reason companies get upwards of 3,000 applications is because many people looking for a remote role for the first time think that any remote role would be a good remote role, and that’s not true at all.
In previous remote roles I’ve had there are a couple of things I wish I had looked at before applying and accepting the offer – things that I could have seen very easily just by having a quick & easy look at their website and content.
So, in episode 63 I said:
“It’s good to do some research to make sure you really want to help them achieve their vision and mission. It will benefit you to really care about their cause, or motivated by the goals when there’s no one looking over your shoulder to make sure you’re showing up for work! Check their website, try out their product if possible, look at customer reviews, read their blog, check out their social media and what other people say about them.”
So let’s do this step by step, and bare in mind doing all this take LESS than 20 mins. (A tiny amount of time considering you may invest over an hour in preparing a quality application.)
Head over to the company website:
Look at their about page and look for their story
- Why was the company started?
- What problem are they solving, and for whom?
- Do their vision, mission and values resonate with you?Do they even talk about their vision, mission and values?
Navigate around their website
- Is their website friendly & unique? Is it dry, dull and very corporate? You can get a sense of their values and way of working just from navigating their website! Is it easy to navigate?
- Do their aesthetics, voice, tone and style appeal to you? Remember, their website is the way they present themselves to the world, and how they present themselves to the world – how they ‘package’ themselves and talk about themselves – is who they are.
- What do you find unique or interesting about them?
- Is this a company you can envision being a part of, making changes to, and helping them grow and reach their goals?
Look at their careers page
Here’s where you want to try to get a sense of their people values and what it’s like to work there.
- Do they talk about YOUR experience of working with them? Do they mention the qualities and attributes in their team members, and do you get a sense that you would thrive in their company culture?
- What are their benefits? Do they make sense to you, your life, your life stage, lifestyle and location?
- Do they talk about their philosophy of work, remote work, and way of working? Do they talk about their remote company culture, and can you get a sense of whether it’s remote or distributed, and whether
- Do they share how they communicate, make decisions, hire, and grow as a remote company?
- Do they talk about their onboarding process, how your progress & contribution is measured and assessed, and your career development?
Look at their blog
- Is their content fresh, fun and original?
- Is it written by the founder, the CEO, or different team members?
- Or is it obviously written by a cheap run of the mill content farm?
The quality of the content is a huge indicator of the care and attention they pay to every aspect of their business. Since content is customer facing it’s an area where great companies invest time, energy & love. So read the blog posts and see if they serve the audience ahead of time. This is the BEST marketing!
Check out their media page – if they have one
- What articles have been written about them? What is said about them?
- Have the founders been interviewed?
- How do they talk about their company, vision, mission, values, product or service?
Check out customer reviews
- Most companies have their most favourable testimonials spotlighted on the homepage or in a Review or Praise page, check them out!
- Find other sources of independent reviews by either googling [‘company name/product/service’ reviews] or heading over to an independent body like Trustpilot.
Most companies have a newsletter or a way to subscribe and stay updated with their message and offering. If you can, sign up!
- What is their welcome letter like? What are their subsequent emails like?
- Do you like how it’s written, and get a sense this is a company you’d like to work for? What’s their personality? Is it the CEO, founder or someone else writing the emails?
I love when the head of comms or marketing writes the newsletter content, because it shows a hand-off leader confident in delegating responsibility to others, in turn signalling the chance of career growth. Of course, sometimes it’s signed by the CEO or founder, but someone else in the marketing department has written it. You’ll have to decide.
Buy their product or service
If you can, if you want to, if it’s affordable for you, getting a sense of their product or service is really fun. If it’s relatively inexpensive for you, you can test drive it. In most companies you’ll be able to use the product or service when you become part of the team. But foresight is always a beautiful thing!
- Do you love it?
- Can you see the value in it?
- Is it something you want to spend your working hours building, promoting, selling? (whatever your role in the company, it always amounts to helping towards those 3 goals)
Head over to the company page on LinkedIn
- Research the founders – I love working for founders who have significant business experience behind them, as well as leadership roles, starting and founding companies. These are the people I learn the most from. If they have three product engineer roles over 3 years then suddenly they are CEO… well, a CEO is not just a title, it’s a role earned with experienced. You might find yourself working for a 26 year old CEO.
- Check out other team members, their backgrounds & experience. Is this a team you can imagine having fun working alongside?
Check out their social media
- You’ll find links to their social media pages, check them out, see what content they’re posting, what conversations & causes they get involved with, and observe how they ‘behave’ in response to their customers, their audience, and the social media audience at large.
- Also notice what comments they included in and how other people talk about them.
I think that’s about it. Remember, this is a 20-min scan.
I’ve prepared a checklist for you so you can whiz through the most salient points, and whatever is missing you can add to a list of questions you ask at your first interview! So you can keep the checklist & your notes handy, and be prepared to ask brilliant questions that position you as a smart, forward-thinking remote worker.
It’s worksheet 16 in the podcast study pack.
If you don’t have the worksheet yet don’t worry, head over here to get your copy there.
That’s it from me this week. See you next week on Thriving Empire Live!
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