Courtney Seiter is the Director of People at Buffer, a fully remote company hiring through PowerToFly. In addition to working as Buffer's Director of People, Courtney has a knack for writing - she's appeared in TIME, Fast Company, Lifehacker, Inc., and more. With four years of professional remote work experience, Courtney has a wealth of knowledge about the characteristics of successful remote employees and workplaces.
On May 18th, Courtney sat down with a small group of PowerToFly VIPs and provided tips for landing a top remote job as well as advice for being successful remote team members. Would you like access to informative, valuable, and exclusive chats with successful women like Courtney? If yes, then click here to become a PowerToFly VIP and join our community of women committed to empowering one another.
Q: What do remote companies look for in a candidate? (outside of the job description)
Courtney Seiter: In my experience, the main thing we're looking for in a candidate is communication skills. The ability to communicate is important in any job, but it becomes even more important when you're working remotely. People tend to miss elements like body language, that make communication a little bit easier when you're working face-to-face. We really have to over-communicate as a remote team, and that means we overzealously look at every word in a remote job application and how that person is expressing themself.
Q: Can a bad interview be rescued? How?
CS: I've had this happen before with candidates who didn't know the answer to a question and they let it impact the entire interview. The best way to recover is to just scooch right past it and don't dwell on it. Do it with confidence, and then, at the end of the interview, it's totally fine to correct or clarify points and reflect on a question.
Q: What's it really like working on a remote team?
CS: This is kind of a hard question to answer in a succinct way, but the highs are high and the lows can be low depending on your personality type. The main takeaways are that folks love it, and once you've had a remote job, you tend to want to work remotely forever. That's probably a sign that it's going pretty well for folks. The number one drawback to the experience tends to be loneliness. So, if you're a real extrovert—you thrive on experiences with others, being in the same physical space, and having that energy—it might be tough for you. You might be able to supplement that with joining a coworking space or finding a community in some other way. It's not impossible, but that can be a challenge when working remotely.
Q: How can I increase diversity in my "bro" team?
CS: I have so much empathy for these situations because these are hard topics and issues. It's going to take a lot of patience to get there. It's also really great if you can see the groundswell happen within your own team. Change can happen, and it's going to feel slow and hard, but you have to take a minute and enjoy those little victories on the way to getting to the big mountaintop.
Q: How can I prepare for a remote career transition?
CS: If you're trying to transition to remote work, it might be great to talk with your company about working remotely once a month or however often it makes sense for you. Then, you can say that through your experience working remotely you were able to accomplish X,Y,Z, and show them what you've achieved in your "trial period". Just a little bit of remote experience can help if you're looking to transition, but more importantly it's the traits, like being self-motivated and communicative that warrant the most success.