How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Remotely?”



Interviewer answering the question Why do you want to work remotely.

You’re going through an interview for a remote position, and you feel like you’re knocking things out of the park.

Then, the interviewer asks you a question that stops you in your tracks: “Why do you want to work remotely?”

You know that mentioning your desire to stay in your pajamas all day isn’t the right way to go. But, beyond that, you aren’t sure exactly what you should say to impress the interviewer(s) and get yourself one step closer to landing that work-from-home job.

Remote work presents many advantages to both the employer and employee. Here’s how to prepare.

How to Answer “Why Do You Want to Work Remotely?”

Plan ahead.

There’s nothing worse than having to think on your feet in an interview. When you’re already nervous, you don’t want to have to scramble to find a suitable answer to a tough interview question.

This is why it’s important for you to start thinking about what you could say in response to this question now—even if you don’t have an interview scheduled. What are some reasons that you’re interested in working remotely that the employer would also see as valuable?

For example, potential answers to this question could include:

  • Your productivity skyrockets when working in an environment that has decreased distractions.
  • Working from home gives you the space you need to think critically and perform better.
  • You’re thrilled with the prospect of working for a company you admire, without being limited by your geographical location.
  • You enjoy the challenge of needing to find efficient and effective ways to communicate with your colleagues when they aren’t in the next cubicle over.

But, you should avoid mentioning:

  • You’re eager not to have to shower or change out of your pajamas.
  • You think working from home means that the job is easier or you don’t have to work as hard.
  • You want to be able to watch your kids while you work.
  • You don’t like being closely watched or managed. (Being a self-starter is one thing, but you don’t want to appear as if you’re trying to shirk responsibility and fly under the radar.)

Emphasize other aspects of the position.

Chances are, you don’t want this job only because it’s a remote position (and, if that is your only reason, you should probably re-evaluate!). So, it’s important that you touch on the other aspects of this role—other than the fact that it’s remote—that appeal to you and fit with your strengths and experience.

“The remote nature of the job should be a secondary reason for wanting the job. Employers want to hear that your primary interest is the job itself,” said Brie Reynolds, FlexJobs’ career development manager and career coach.

“One way to approach this is to discuss how working remotely will make it easier for you to focus and be productive doing the actual tasks of the job, compared to being in a busy, distracting office. While you’re acknowledging that working remotely is a great part of this job, it’s still the actual job itself that you’re most concerned with.”

Overall, make sure you touch on a few other things about the job that excite you. Even though you’re being asked about why you want to work remotely, you can still branch out to mention some pieces that don’t directly deal with working from home.

Demonstrate an understanding of the company culture.

You might think company culture is unimportant—or perhaps even nonexistent—when you and your colleagues work across the country (or even world!) from each other.

But, rest assured, company culture is a very high priority for companies that are trying to build some cohesiveness and camaraderie within their remote workforce. For that reason, you should be prepared to demonstrate that you not only understand the company culture, but that you’d be a great fit with it.

Perhaps you want to mention that you know you could dominate their weekly GIF contest. Or maybe their emphasis on community mindedness really resonates with you—since you already regularly volunteer at your local animal shelter.

Pull out some pieces of the company culture to show that you understand what that organization is about (beyond letting employees work from home!).

Stress the importance of the company’s mission.

Similar to appreciating a company’s culture, it’s a good idea to mention how much you believe in the company’s mission when asked why you want to work from home. Maybe one of its goals is to always donate a percentage of its profits to a humanitarian cause.

Whatever it might be, knowing (and liking) the company’s mission means that you could not only ace the interview, but you’re also more likely to grow with the company and create a career that you’ll love.

Talk about the advantages of remote work—for the employer.

Remote work has many benefits for both employees and employers alike. If you become flustered upon being asked why you want to work remotely, you can answer the question as it relates to the benefits that remote employers receive when building a remote team.

“Whether it’s your ability to be more productive or effective when working remotely, your decreased carbon footprint, or your ability to be more involved in your local community, these benefits are also great for the employer,” shared Reynolds.

“It shows that they’re a results-focused culture, or a good steward of the environment, or interested in supporting local communities. Think of how remote work benefits both you and the company and discuss those larger points.”

Acing a Remote Job Interview

If you have a remote job interview, you should expect to be asked why you want to be a remote worker. Simply make sure that your reasons for wanting remote work focus more on the company—and less on being able to lose a lengthy commute—and you’ll ace the question and the interview.

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Photo Credit: bigstockphoto.com

A version of this article was originally published on July 17, 2017.