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Employee Monitoring Software, how to ask about it during interview?

In searching for a remote engineering job, I'm wary of working for a company that uses Employee Monitoring Software for many reasons. I don't want to waste my or a company's time by finding out on the first day of work that they are tracking me during work in a way I'm not comfortable with.

What is the more graceful way of asking if they use any employee monitioring software during the interview process and when is the most appropriate time to ask?

MorganLucas's profile thumbnail
I asked a company during a live coding session (or w/e) and they had no problem answering - They didn't use it and trusted us to work when we wanted to. I'd say, if they have trouble answering or get angry at your question, they probably use it.* "What EMS do you use to track our time?"* "What EM software does [company] use, if any?"Remember: "I'm not at liberty to say" is also an answer of "We use it, but we keep it hidden."
@MorganLucas That last part so true! Thanks for the advice
MichelleFuentes's profile thumbnail
This is a super interesting question! I hadn't really thought about it but now am curious to hear how others approach this 🤔
Two potential ideas:1. Make clear trust is a key value for you and frame it that way, e.g."Trust is a key value for me in any role I'm in, and any company that I work for. How do you demonstrate trust with your employees? Are there strict rules around being online at certain times, not using company property for private emails out of hours etc for example?"You can ask politely while making clear that you're not up for this kind of policy.2. Play the "someone I know had this experience" card to bring it up. E.g."I have a close friend / colleague etc who is currently going through the hiring process and they told me about an issue they'd come across with regards to employee monitoring. Is that something that is done here?"Timing wise, anything that's a deal breaker I'd suggest bringing up as early as you can - no point wasting everyone's time if the wrong answer comes up too late in the process. That said, something like this should be outlined explicitly in any contract/employee handbook etc, so you can always make sure to read those at the contracting stage if you're not comfortable bringing it up before then.I negotiated 2 clauses I disliked out of my contract, and requested a copy of every policy mentioned with no problems at all. I'm regularly amazed/concerned by how few people read their contracts before agreeing to them! I also have turned down a role after verbally accepting on the basis of the contract not being acceptable to me (while they were happy to negotiate, there were numerous highly problematic, in some cases illegal clauses, and it spoke volumes to me about the company that they were asking people to sign something so punitive).Good luck!
@Barbra182 Thank you for such a thoughtful response. You make a good point about the timing and other dealbreakers. I was thinking to ask later in the interview process but you're right that's so much wasted time if I don't receive a satisfying answer. Reading thoroughly and negotiating my contract is a good idea. I don't hear much about negotiating, beyond just salary.