Are you applying for work-from-home jobs day after day and never receiving a response? Have you ever wondered what the hiring manager of that perfect gig was looking for when you never got a callback? Here are several real-life examples of what those clients are – and aren’t – looking for when considering applicants.
No Work-at-Home Experience
So many of those I spoke with brought this to the table. Wanting to work at home isn’t the same as being qualified to work at home. Eric Wall, Co-Founder and CEO of EquivityVA.com, said, “While we understand that the ability to work from home is a major draw, this a signal that the candidate may not really be interested in the job itself, just the convenience factor. If they aren’t interested in the work itself (bookkeeping, marketing, etc.) then they are not likely to excel at it, or to stay for any length of time.”
Mike Liverton, the founder of Leavetown Vacations, employs an all-remote staff. While so many want to work from home, Mike knows it isn’t an easy transition for some. “When hiring remote workers, I always first ask if they’ve they been used to home working, have they been successful at it? If they have no experience working from home, I always ask myself if the candidate appears disciplined enough to successfully work from home.”
Julie T. Ewald, the founder of Impressa Solutions, looks for the same, “I also look for others who have a desire to work remotely (or have been doing so) for lifestyle reasons. Those who just think it would be neat to work from home, just don’t like leaving the house, or some other random reason may not be self-starters, are probably just looking for a paycheck, and won’t be as committed to me and the rest of the team. Those who are looking to travel more, want to spend more time with their families, or have turned to freelancing to access opportunities they don’t have at home are more likely to be dedicated.”
Unprofessional Online Appearance
You have to clean up your online act before applying for freelance gigs. This is especially true if you are applying for a customer service position or will serve as the “voice” of a company on social media.
Brian Massie, Communication Consultant at Taylor Business Solutions, performs a social media analysis on every candidate. “If s/he is on a platform, how is it used? Are there posts that are hateful or lack good judgement about privacy? Are there major values conflicts?”
Sarah, Founder and CEO of Vandenberg Digital Communications, also opts for a social media background check of candidates. “I definitely look up applicants’ social profiles if they make it to the interview phase. While I don’t mind if there are party photos or posts about politics, I do look for a certain level of maturity and kindness across their accounts. If they have a strong opinion about something, do they cuss others out or are they more level headed? This is especially important for our virtual assistants, who I usually never meet in person and need to be absolutely certain will be classy with our clients and leads.”
Not Following Directions
Those who have been around the work-from-home block for a while know many companies bury small instructions in their job listing to see if applicants are paying attention and can follow directions. Ed Beancheau from Goozleology says, “I, and a lot of other employers, ask applicants to include a “code word” as the first word to paste into any application email. And 90% of applicants fail to include the keyword. 90%!”
That is a shocking statistic. But if you can follow instructions, 90% of your competition has already been eliminated.
Not Charging What You’re Worth
While many freelancers feel that every potential client is looking for a free ride, that isn’t always the case. Sarah of Vandenberg Digital Communications had this to say, “So many VA and freelance applicants undervalue their work, or don’t even assign a dollar amount to their services. It’s a lack of confidence that I’ve found crosses over into their assignments later. If I ask an applicant how much her hourly rate is for social media management, for example, I want to hear a number that she arrived at confidently, and I want to know how she arrived at it. If she asks me what I think she’s worth, or throws out a string of decreasing numbers because she’s afraid of getting a “no,” she’s off the list.”