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How to Ace a Work-At-Home Job Interview

It's easy to get flustered and lose your cool during a job interview, but being prepared is more than half the battle. Unlike an interview at a 9-to-5 job in an office, a work-at-home job interview may be over the phone, via Skype or even via email. The keys are to be ready at the agreed-upon time, know the company, know the job, know your abilities, and know how to work at home.

You’ve made it through one of the biggest hurdles to finding a work-at-home job: getting an employer to take notice and interview you. But getting an interview doesn’t mean they're ready to hire you. When it comes to a work-at-home job, not only do you need the skills and experience to do the work, but you need to prove you have what it takes to work independently. Most work-at-home job interviews are conducted by phone or Skype, with a few done by email. Here are some tips to help you wow the employer during a telecommuting job interview.

1) Be ready. Just like an in-person interview, you’re judged on things like promptness and readiness. That means you need to be on time to answer the phone or respond to a video call. Dress professionally and take care of any potential distractions, such as having someone watch your children during the interview. While you can wear whatever you want on a phone interview, dressing nice can help you feel professional and portray a similar demeanor.

2) Know the company. What does it do? What is its target market? The more you can tailor your answers to the needs of the company, using industry language, the better your chances of impressing the employer. It not only helps the employer see that you understand his needs, but it shows you’re serious and have done your home work.

3) Know the job. Many job titles have varying duties. A virtual assistant for a realtor will have different duties than a virtual assistant for a speaker. Re-read the job advertisement to make sure you’re clear on what's required and can speak to the duties the employer wants help with.

4) Know yourself. Interviews are nerve-racking and can result in failing to mention skills and experience that can make the difference in whether or not you get hired. Take the pressure off by having a copy of your resume in front of you, matching your skills and experience to the job description. Create a list of the most common interview questions with your answers listed as bullet points. Common topics include: your strengths, your weaknesses, why you want the job, how you can contribute to the company, and why you left your past job. Just be discreet in reviewing your answers if you’re on a video interview. In that case, maintain eye contact as much as possible.

5) Know how to work at home. While you don’t necessarily need to have experience in working at home, you need to show the employer you understand what working from home involves. They'll likely ask about your home office, including equipment you have. They’ll want to know about distractions, such as children or pets, and how you plan to deal with them. Finally, they may give you hypothetical situations in which you need to explain what you’d do, such as if your Internet goes out or if they needs something done ASAP.

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