Hey, Wait A Second! This Job Was Advertised As Remote, And Now It’s Not? — Insider Career Strategies Resume Writing & Career Coaching

Recruiting and hiring new employees is a serious undertaking. The process has built-in risks and uncertainties, so the current tug-of-war between employers and employees over remote vs. in-person work is an unwelcome new obstacle for recruiters and hiring managers to overcome.

 Enter the bait and switch. Employers know job seekers want remote or hybrid positions, so their job postings are composed in a way that makes candidates believe they are applying for roles that are 100% remote or 100% hybrid. There have been cases reported of employers misrepresenting the actual terms of the position to lure top talent into interviewing with the hope that, once in the room, candidates will make concessions to get the job.

Here’s a sample a scenario; say you live in eastern Pennsylvania and apply for a job for a company based in New York City that is advertised as a remote role. You make the two-and-a-half-hour trek into New York for an in-person interview. Then you enter a conference room and face a panel of four department directors – the interview goes perfectly until one of the directors implies the position is not as remote as advertised. Before you know what happened, 100% remote means 35% remote after a six-month trial period and supervisor approval, based on a host of performance metrics, none of which are your desire to work from home, or the beach, or the mountains, or wherever you can deliver the goods.

 What do you do? You are in the interview room or, in other scenarios, on a phone screen or Zoom call. Whatever the case, you are on the spot. 100% remote should mean 100% remote!

  • Be prepared for this situation to occur. If you know terms of employment, like remote vs. office, may change, determine your position in advance. If you give in-depth forethought to this specific issue, you can respond to relevant deal breakers with measured insight.

  • Before you blurt anything out, take a deep breath. Seriously, take a deep breath because you need to think things through. To resume our scenario, even if you are sitting in front of a panel of interviewers and you must think quickly, you need to think things through. Even if prepared, you need to think things through.

  • Think of it this way; you can’t blow the job offer because you don’t have one. Don’t panic. You’re in an interview, not reviewing a job offer. Whatever your response, the worst that can happen is the status quo. You did not work for this company when you woke up and you won’t work for it when you go to bed. Everybody moves on. Do not put extra pressure on yourself. You’re just talking.

  • Direct, polite, pointed questions are appropriate. Before you choose which path to take, be sure you understand the expectations. The promotion of the job as remote may have been a miscommunication (it happens), or something duplicitous, so ask for clarification. Ask them to explain the details of the remote aspect of the job. Make them give you an answer.


If the clarification is unsatisfactory, you have three options.

1.         Finish the interview and cut your losses. The path of least resistance is to finish the interview without pushing back on the “clarification” in employment terms, thank your interviewer(s), leave, and move on.

2.         Pull the plug and go home. To resume our scenario, you’ve driven from Pennsylvania to New York City for the interview with the expectation the next time you’d have to show your face is the holiday party. You have no intention of commuting or relocating. Like our hypothetical professional, if your circumstances are non-negotiable, in the interview, you can make it clear that you’re only interested in 100% remote work, thank your interviewer(s), leave, and move on.

3.         Pull the plug and go home, Part 2. Maybe your circumstances are flexible, and you’re not sure what you want to do. Now, you have to ask yourself, “How much do I want this job?” Do you want the job bad enough to remain in the interview and, if given, accept an offer that doesn’t include 100% remote work? Consider the pros and cons.

a.         Pros. Are there any pros? During the interview, did anything surface that changed your position on remote work? Is the compensation too high to pass up? Are there other benefits that tip the scale? As mentioned before, the strategy is to lure you in and dangle great shiny stuff in your face, so you make concessions. That doesn’t mean the great, shiny stuff isn’t, well… great shiny stuff! It is.

b.         Cons. Ethically, a company that isn’t honest with you before hiring you most likely won’t be honest with you after hiring you. You must decide, sometimes within moments, whether being trapped in an interview where you’re the least likely to protest a major change in work expectations is a glimpse into the overall corporate culture or just an aggressive recruiting method.

4.         Ask for more information. You decide you are seriously interested in the job and are open to sacrificing things like remote work to get it. Are you willing to give up all remote work? Or just 50%? Must it be part of the initial package, or can it be deferred to later in your employment? Decide your parameters. In the interview, reiterate your expectation was a remote position, but you want to hear more about the opportunity and decide based on the overall details.

Scott Singer

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