When interviewing for employment to work from a home-based office, you will be asked a few questions about why you want to work from home and what you like best about working remotely (also known as telecommuting).
Here's what you need to know so you can craft a strong response.
What the Interviewer Wants to Know
Employers need to ask these questions to make sure you can be productive in an unstructured work environment void of any direct supervision.
This question is less about learning if you have the skills necessary for the job, and more about learning if you will do well in this particular work setting.
Strong answers will emphasize why you do your best work at home.
Some people thrive when telecommuting (or working remotely, as it's also called), while others don't. If you thrive in this kind of work environment then you need to get that message across.
How to Answer Interview Questions About Working from Home
Be sure to prepare an answer to this question in advance. Your answer should explain why you want to work from home, and at the same time demonstrate why you are a strong candidate for the job.
Think about how working from home improves your job performance. For example, working from home might help you be more efficient because there are fewer distractions from colleagues or long, drawn-out meetings to attend. Or, working from home might allow you to have a better work-life balance, which helps you be more productive because you're happier and look forward to completing assignments.
Whatever your answer, be sure it reminds the interviewer you are a great job candidate.
Examples of the Best Answers
Example Answer #1
I really like the flexibility in hours that a stay-at-home position offers. I tend to do my best work very early in the morning. Being able to set my own hours allows me to work when I am most alert. Ultimately, I am more productive when working from home than when commuting to an office and wasting time stuck in traffic.
Why It Works: This practical answer shows that working from home allows more productivity. Plus, it introduces a villain that everyone agrees on: the agony of time spent in traffic.
Example Answer #2
I love the quiet atmosphere of working from home. Without the constant distractions of an office, I am able to stay focused on my work and complete tasks quickly and effectively.
Why It Works: This answer is honest about a big benefit of working at home. Plus, it highlights that working from home allows the candidate to work fast, which is something any manager would appreciate.
Example Answer #3
I achieve a much better work-life balance when I work from home. The flexible hours allow me to be there for my kids in the mornings and get them off to school, and also be there for them when they come home. Knowing I have that time with my family allows me to be much more productive because I am not worrying whether or not they forgot their lunch or arrived home safely.
Why It Works: In this response, the applicant connects a benefit of working from home to what the company will get out of the employee as a result.
Example Answer #4
I am very efficient when I work in my home office because everything is set up exactly how I need it to be. My printer and scanner are set up right next to my computer and I don't waste time heading off to another room.
Why It Works: This answer reveals how the candidate is experienced at working from home. And, again, it shows how working from home makes the candidate a more efficient and effective employee.
Tips for Giving the Best Answer
- Be honest but positive. It's important not to oversell yourself. That means being honest. For example, don't say you will work evenings and weekends if you know that is not true. Instead, be positive about your ability to get the job done and emphasize your enthusiasm for stay-at-home work.
- Discuss how it benefits your work (and the company).It's helpful to make your "best" in the response something that will benefit the company. That is, you want to talk about what you like about working from home — and how it helps the company, too. For example, you might mention that you're able to get more done in the early morning hours, which would be eaten up by a commute in an in-person role.
- Highlight your ability to work independently.People who are working remotely have plenty of access to colleagues and supervisors through email, chat tools, video meetings, and so on. Still, managers can sometimes be concerned when they can't observe a person working at a desk. It can be helpful to mention that you are comfortable working independently, and can complete tasks on time without supervision.
What Not to Say
- Don't disqualify yourself from in-office work.While you want to show that you work well at home, don't go negative on working in the office. Many companies have a hybrid approach, with employees sometimes working at home and sometimes in the office. So disparaging working in the office could harm your candidacy.
- Don't fib.As mentioned, nothing good results from being dishonest in your response. If you claim to work well independently but then need in-person hand-holding once you're hired, your employer will feel frustrated. And for that matter, you're unlikely to be happy and successful in the role.
- Don't focus too much on "you."You want to focus more on how working from home helps you thrive as an employee, and not just the personal benefits. Make sure to connect personal wins to the workplace. So while it may be rewarding to avoid uncomfortable work clothes, you'd only want to share that as your response if you could make a connection to how you're able to do work better in yoga pants than office pants.
Possible Follow-Up Questions
- Have you ever worked from home before?
- What is the best thing about working from home?
- What's the worst thing about working from home?
- Would you describe your home office set up?
- How would you stay connected to co-workers if you were working remotely?
- Talk about your performance. Lean into answers that are about how working from home makes you a stronger employee.
- Don't be negative about the office. Stay positive about working from home, but avoid panning in-person work.
- Be honest. Don't promise unrealistic benefits from working at home, or claim the ability to work independently if you need a lot of support.