I've given advice in the past about being a good detective when you're interviewing for a job. This means that you do a little sleuthing on the employer, such as doing online research to check out the financial health of the employer and checking out the employer's location to see if the workplace looks a little shoddy and the employees are downtrodden and stressed.
Those can all be signs you don't want to work at such a place and require some hard thinking about whether it would be a smart move to work for such an employer.
But with more employers hiring remotely -- and offering remote jobs during the pandemic -- how can you perform your due diligence when you can't go into a physical workspace?
There are several ways you can still check out an employer:
1. Do a drive by. While you may not be able to go into the employer's business because of restrictions, you can still drive by the place of business and check out the area. Go during the day and at night -- you never know when you might work late and have to walk to your car or the subway stop by yourself. Would you feel safe? Does the area provide safe parking, nearby parks or affordable eateries? These might seem trivial now, but they can make a difference in work satisfaction when the employer does fully reopen and bring back employees.
2. Talk to employees. An employer who has nothing to hide should be willing to let you talk to other employees via Zoom or other means. Ask the same questions you would in person, such as what the typical work day looks like, the positives and negatives of the company, management style, opportunities for advancement, etc.
3. The work structure. If the company is now working remotely, how does the work flow? Who managers what teams? How is communication done? How will you be trained? What will be the hours of operation? If the company plans to make the position permanently remote, will be you be required to spend some time in the office? How will your productivity/performance be measured? How will opportunities for promotions be given? How will feedback be given?
Don't think that just because the world is turned sideways at the moment that you can't do your homework when considering a job. In fact, it's more important than ever that you go into any interview prepared to ask questions since you may not get a chance to observe and learn from what's happening around you during an interview.