Not ‘any’ remote role is the right role for you. There’s a certain culture and career fit that — if you find it — will enable you to thrive personally and professionally. This is the holy grail for life and lifestyle, and health & wellness too.
So on top of all the information we’ve covered in Season 3 of Thriving empire podcast, in today’s episode I’m also sharing with you a few red flags I’ve collected across 5 remote roles; the kind of things which tell you so much about a company if you read between the lines and look a little closer.
They reveal how a company operates day to day, and — more so — behaves towards people. How a company acts and how the hiring managers behave during the application and hiring process can help you assess whether a company is the right culture and career fit for you.
In this episode of Thriving Empire we talk:
- The red flags during the application process that reveal whether a company will move through the hiring process fast
- The faux pas during the interview process that signals ‘run for the hills’
- The last minute contract changes that leave you wondering what job you’re really interviewing for
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Today we’re talking about red flags – things to be wary or during the application and interview process that give you a lot of intelligence about what a company is like (and might make you think twice about working with them).
Most concern organisation and respect – 2 essential factors & qualities essential to both the candidate and the hiring team, and very much a two-way street. You’ll have your own reg flags to add as you go commence your remote career. These are mine and I’m happy to share them with you so you have more criteria against which to assess whether a company is the right culture and career fit for you.
During application process
Is your application acknowledged immediately?
If a company has a system in place that sends you an automated response, or a real person reaches out to say “Hi, we got your application,” that’s a really good sign. When companies have systems in place, whether manual or automated, it shows they’re dedicated to the hiring process and will likely move through the stages efficiently and effectively.
One caveat for the automated response is this: the hiring process might feel very impersonal & be slightly more corporate. They might screen people old-school Unliver-style looking for specific keywords to add you to a yes or no pile, which I’m none too fond of, because that means their look for skills, not people. I’m talking specifically about companies that use a system like Close.io where every single stage of the hiring process and all communications are automated. This might mean the company you’re applying to is bigger and more organised, but you’ll be seen more as a cog in a wheel. Or it might just mean the company is very very serious about systems and processes and their hiring process, regardless of their size.
Is your application acknowledged at all?
On some job specs they clearly state: “We will only respond to successful candidates.” I choose to steer clear of these jobs and don’t put together an application in the first place. It takes time and energy to put together an application and I want to work within a company that acknowledges each and every application. If they don’t acknowledge time and energy invested here, where else across the business do they (not!) do this?
After they make initial contact, do they follow through?
If someone reaches out with either an invitation to interview or a request for more information — like more interview questions, a video or a personality assessment — and you get crickets after your subsequent response…NO! This is at best terribly disorganised and at worst downright unprofessional & disrespectful.
Companies that are committed to the hiring process MOVE through the hiring process with stealth. Feel free to follow up with them, but if you still hear crickets, this is a red flag. Like with people, how we do one thing is how we do everything and I have found this to be the same with companies. If they are disorganised within their hiring process, they are disorganised within other areas too.
During the interview process
Does the hiring manager or hiring team show up on time for your interviews?
Showing up early or on time is the most important first impression a company can make on me. If they show up late — or God forbid, not at all — they don’t respect you or your time and this reflects their ‘people policy’ and company culture. If they message you ahead of time — within plenty of time — to request a change or date or time that’s fine. Sometimes there are mitigating circumstances. But last minute? That’s no bueno!
Do they ask relevant role-related and remote work-related questions during the interview?
I’ve never been asked an inappropriate question during interview. I’m lucky that every interview has been filled with role and remote work related questions. Part of the reason I love interviews so much is that I’m good at guiding them – I do a ton of research about the company and come armed with knowledge and questions which help steer the conversation, which helps to avoid the boring, unimaginative questions like: “Tell me about a time when you demonstrated x,y,z…” UGG. Seriously.
Expect to be asked questions that help them understand your professional skill set and work history, about your remote work set up, how you plan to stay motivated & positive as a remote worker, the schedule you’ll keep, your health & wellness routine etc. Any questions about anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or that you feel is inappropriate is a red flag. Full stop.
During contract negotiations
Do they change the terms of the agreement or contract prior to signing?
This happened to be recently just after agreeing to join a team. I was so excited because it was a small team looking for their first marketing hire in a new market that I’d love to work in. However. They wanted to change the deliverables and the time frame which completely violated everything we had agreed to over two interviews.
If companies are not clear or transparent about the work that needs to be done and the time frame within which they’re like it to be done, this signifies chaos. If the goal posts are constantly changing you won’t know whether you’re coming or going, you won’t be clear on your deliverables, you won’t be clear whether you’ve done a good job and you’ll have no way of meeting yet alone exceeding expectations. I withdrew from the contract negotiation as this was a huge red flag for me.
Do they change the salary when it comes to signing the contract?
Again, this happened recently. They indicated a salary bracket on the job spec. The higher end which I was satisfied with. When it came to the offer, they offered 8K less claiming that it was as high as they could go, and justifying it as the largest salary in their tiny team so far. Massive red flag. Why lie about the salary bracket on the job spec? I accept the offer because they loved their mission, but communication in general proved to be their achilles heel. This will now be a MASSIVE red flag for me in the future.
I’m sure as you go through the process of applying and accepting remote roles you’ll build your own list or red flags. I’d love you to share them with me so I can add them to this blog post.
But I hope this gives you a few ideas of some of the things to be aware of when interviewing and negotiating contracts. People are the most important asset of a business, but to be an incredible resource & asset you have to LOVE what you do, and so making sure that a role has the potential to be a great culture and career fit for you is so important.
Crack open the checklist — Worksheet 24 — in the podcast study pack so you can have these in black and white in front of you when you start getting responses & a keep a growing list of your own red flags to refer to during the hiring process!
If you don’t have the podcast pack 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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