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How to handle this job-Interview question: Do you rather work from home or office?

What’s the best way to answer this annoying question during a job interview: What do you think about working from home?

This question will almost certainly come up if the work you applied for can probably be done remotely. Be as prepared as possible before the interview so that you can understand what the company’s current policy is. Then approach the question honestly and with the expectation that you may find a solution that works for both you and you, even if your preferences do not match your employer’s policies.

“Employers know that this is in people’s minds,” says Alexandra Carter, director of the Columbia Law School mediation clinic and bargaining expert. “We basically experienced a pandemic of renegotiating standard employment contracts.”

Details

Due to the pandemic expansion in the spring of 2020, about 35% of US employed workers soon moved to work from home. Today, businesses are beginning to clarify their telecommuting policies for a future where vaccination is widespread and virus concerns recede. Many individuals have developed strong preferences, which may be at odds with those of future employers.

Please do due diligence before you start the interview. Debra Wheatman, president of Careers DoneWrite, a personal marketing and branding company, says that the more you know before you are asked, the better the results. “Talk to the people who work there, look up news about the company, and understand what their culture is and how they run,” she says. “For most people, that’s why they make mistakes because they don’t.”

If what you learn matches what you need, such as a fully remote work experience, all staff in the office five days a week, a hybrid model or a flexible model, this is a simple conversation and more. Provide proof. This employer may be perfect for you.

But if you don’t have a clear idea of ​​where this employer is, or if you know your vision doesn’t match your vision, be honest when you ask a question. I remember your lie. And if you lie, you will be caught. “

In the conversation, you may need to make a strong assertion about why your tastes can work for the benefit of the company, Carter says. Think together, she says. “When the hiring manager says,’I’m still not sure about working from home,’ I’ve responded,’I’ve heard it completely. I think many companies are trying to understand this. Your concern. Tell me about. ”When understanding their concerns, I am in a better position to understand what works for both of us. “

For example, if you’re worried about lost productivity in the absence of a manager, she says, “I’ll answer by talking about my achievements.” “This is the schedule I’ve been working on for the past year, and I’ve found that it gives me tremendous productivity. Let’s talk about the goals I’ve achieved or exceeded. And that’s what I’m doing. Allows you to enjoy your family life, which helps support me for work.

Share your thoughts

Did you have to negotiate working from home lately? Share your story with us. Join the conversation below.

But keep in mind that job interviews, like the job itself, require people to be flexible and adaptable, Wheatman says. “In essence, companies don’t really care what the interviewees and employees want.” They say how the deal benefits them and what it does to your job. She says she wants to know how it affects her.

Carter had a client who was offered a remote job. The client suggested to her new boss to put her near the company’s headquarters for a month to build relationships and get used to the culture before she left completely. She says the idea worked for everyone.

“In every negotiation, you want to think about writing a winning speech for your opponent. How can you market what you need in a way that wins for them too?” I will.

Write to Lauren Weber lauren.weber + 1@wsj.com

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How to handle this job-Interview question: Do you rather work from home or office?

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