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5 Things Remote Companies Wish You Knew

Remote companies carry different standards and expectations that the majority of today's workforce may be unfamiliar with. Gain a better understanding of what your potential employer is looking for in order to prepare for your upcoming job or interview.

If you’ve ever been in the middle of applying for a job and wondered what it would take to get offered the position, wonder no more. In a Q&A held by, 52 of today’s top remote companies were asked a variety of questions about remote work, how they operate as virtual companies, and what they look for and expect from potential employees. Here are just 5 things that remote companies wish you knew.

What type of candidate they’re looking for.

Working from home doesn’t mean working in a bubble. In order to be an effective remote worker, you’ll need to know how to collaborate, says Joan Blades, co-founder of In addition to being a team player, “We do want people that are highly motivated,” adds Blades. Previous work-at-home experience is also preferred by many remote employers, as well as someone who has a keen interest in the organization, its mission, and purpose.

They do have a company culture.

Without any walls, you might think that it would be difficult for remote companies to maintain any semblance of a company culture. But many remote companies are able to go beyond the confines of brick and mortar and build a super strong company culture that rivals any organization. Carol Cochran, director of Human Resources at FlexJobs says that her company actively acknowledges birthdays and work anniversaries as a way of staying connected to employees. “We’ve done Happy Hour Trivia, Virtual Yoga, Coffee Breaks, and Lunch Hangouts,” says Cochran. “We’ve sent candy at Halloween, coupons for free ice cream in the summer, and gifts to commemorate milestones in the company.” Other organizations also have company retreats where clusters of virtual employees can get together for both business and pleasure.

There’s no micromanaging.

Let’s say that when you worked in a traditional office, you had a micromanaging boss who always stalked your desk to see what you were working on. Thankfully, there’s no breathing down your neck in most remote companies. In fact, the bulk of the remote companies stated that they simply measure an employee’s productivity by their output—no more, no less. “Everyone is quite honest about their [work]flow and usually it’s quite clear from the amount of product that is being built whether we’re working fast or slow,” says Tom Moor, co-founder of Speak. Simply stated: your productivity will speak volumes about how much you’re getting done, not when, where, or how.

You need to be a good communicator.

Since you can’t run down the hallway each time you have a question for your coworker, it’s up to you to be very proactive if you’re going to work remotely. While communication tools might vary from each remote company, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with some of the basic methods, like videoconferencing tools, emails, and instant messaging, for example. Slack, weekly team Skype calls, and biweekly one-on-ones are just part of how Alex Turnbull, founder and CEO of Groove, communicates with his team. Although it’s important to be amenable to communicating with your colleagues, you have to know how to say it, too. “You have to be very deliberate about how you communicate. You have to communicate more and clearer,” says Leif Singer, head of product for iDoneThis. “That takes some getting used to, but in the end I think is a benefit for everyone because we learn how to be better communicators—and that’s helpful in so many more settings than just remote work."

They want you to have work-life balance.

Chances are, you want to find a remote job because you want to better balance your work life with your family life. Interestingly enough, so do the bosses and managers at remote companies, too! “At our core, we want people to walk away and have amazing families and be whole people,” says Wes Ward, VP of strategic growth at Five Q. “There’s some fun things we do—but at a simplistic level, we just encourage depth of friendships and balance of life.” So while you shouldn’t go into a job interview with a remote company and state that you want flexibility so you can be Room Mom come fall, it’s understood that all employees can (and should) use their flexible schedules so they can have better work-life balance.

Knowing what a potential employer wants even before you submit your job application can make all the difference in getting a job offer or not. So utilize some of these tips when crafting your resume and cover letter, and you just might hear back from a potential remote employer sooner than you think!

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