COVID-19 has forced us to work from home, and more and more jobs are turning to remote interviews as part of the hiring process. While most of us have likely participated in remote meetings, many candidates (and hiring managers) are unsure how a remote interview works.
You can compare a remote interview to an open-book exam. You can have the information you need to be successful right in front of you, but it is useless if you don’t know how to use and apply it. You must prepare for your interview as if you have no resources, and you must also be ready for anything that might come up.
We have put together a guide to help you prepare for and ace your remote interview!
Just like face-to-face interviews, it is crucial to prepare for a remote interview. You will want to find out what time the interview will begin, what meeting platform you will be using, and who will make the call.
If you aren’t sure who is conducting the interview or the platform you will be using, you might be more anxious and unprepared. The more information you know about your interview, the more you will feel prepared and ready to go. You also want to put your best step forward. Interviewers prefer someone who is over-prepared rather than docile or confused.
Prepare Your Technology
Whatever the meeting platform you might be using, you will want to do a trial run before the interview so you are prepared. Be sure that you can log in, that the platform is downloaded and updated, and work through any glitches that you might experience.
Work through the software features. Some platforms like Zoom have the option for filters or background images. If you’ve used these before, reconsider their use for this interview. They may be inappropriate. That being said, you might also want to employ a background blurring filter if you will be interviewing from a place that has a busy background or is untidy.
Check your computer’s camera, microphone, and even your internet connection from the area you will be sitting while interviewed. Are you using a tablet or laptop? Ensure it is fully charged and plugged in before you sit down for your interview. Also, check your settings. Make sure that an update is not scheduled to happen and that any notifications are silenced.
Prepare for Plan B
Even with preparations, things can sometimes go awry. It would help if you had a backup plan for dealing with poorly timed equipment failure. You should have the hiring manager’s phone number and email on hand, and you may even want to have your smartphone fully charged and ready to connect in a pinch. Write down crucial information in a notebook in the event that your tech isn’t working.
When your internet bandwidth is overloaded, it can cause your video to lag, leading to choppy audio and video. Ask that those in your home reschedule heavy downloads or video streaming if your internet is notoriously slow. You can’t afford to miss anything the interviewer says and you do not want them to miss any of your answers. A frozen screen will do nothing but distract the interviewer from how great you are!
If you are experiencing lags or glitchy videos based on something outside of your control, like issues with your internet service provider, introduce yourself and then explain that your internet is not the best during video calls. You can ask the interviewer if you can turn off the video function for the remainder of the interview. This way you can still conduct the interview without tech interruptions.
Even though your interview might feel less formal because you are at home, it is essential to look professional in both your clothing and backdrop. Dress for success. Wear something that you are comfortable in, but that also makes you look professional. A dress shirt and blazer would work nicely. You might want to wear something that stands out against whatever background you choose. That doesn’t mean you have to wear a loud polka-dotted shirt—a black background could call for a white shirt or vice versa.
Your background should not be cluttered or messy. Try to find a wall that is clean and clear. If you can’t make this happen, no problem! Try a blurred background feature or even a drop sheet!
If more than one person is going to be home during the scheduled interview, make sure that they are aware you are interviewing and work around noises and interruptions. Ask them to stay off their devices and away from your immediate area until your remote interview is completed.
Turn off your email notifications and any other distracting alerts or chats that might pop up on your computer during an interview. Tack a note to the door saying you are interviewing.
Another distraction that can take away from your interview is fidgeting or moving around. If you are a fidgeter, you can post a sticky note near your eye line as a reminder to be mindful of excess movement. You want the interviewer to focus on you and not on your movements.
As with any job interview, you want to be prepared for what the hiring manager is looking for. Research the position and the company for which you are being interviewed. Note any behaviours or skills that they list in the job posting that fits the behaviours and skills you possess and prepare to speak about them.
You might also want to create a list of four to five key points that you want the interviewer to remember about you. Try not to blurt them all in one fell swoop; use them organically throughout the interview as part of your responses.
You’ll want to include the experiences and skills that you have gained that differentiate you from other candidates. List these in a notebook beside your computer to help you remember to use them. Just be sure that you don’t need to read them to recall— a glance should be a sufficient reminder.
Watch for Reactions
You want to speak as clearly as possible and try to make eye contact even in the remote interview setting. Try to avoid looking at your image, as tempting as it is. Be sure to smile and laugh when appropriate. Just as with an in-person interview, read the interviewer’s reactions and respond fittingly.
The interviewer should know that you are engaged in the conversation. One way to do this is by having a pen notebook handy. Write down questions that come up during the interview so you can speak directly to the points that the interviewer mentioned. This way they know that you are listening and you have clarified additional points. The interviewer will be impressed by your conscientiousness and engagement.
Another thing to note in a remote interview is that you should leave a second or two after speaking to allow for any lags to catch up. It might feel awkward for a few moments, but it will allow for better rapport.
One of the things that can help you during your remote interview is to practice with a professional. A decent professional interview coach is well-versed in new interviewing tactics and questions and will give you sample questions to read over and formulate responses.
Of course, whenever we have to sit for an interview, we all wish to present our most eloquent and confident selves. It can be hard to do so when you fear public speaking or feel discomfort when lauding your accomplishments. A professional interview coach will listen to your mock interview responses and formulate a plan to help you sound as confident and professional as possible.
You can always try to comb through the information online to study for your interview. But, when you want to impress a hiring manager or recruiter with your interview skills, it pays to have a session with an interview coach who has a deep understanding of what employers are looking for in our responses.
What is even better? If you can find an award-winning interview coach who uses a proven methodology to help you structure your interview answers, you will surely impress any interviewer.
Career Marketing Centre
Hiring a professional interview coach is worth it. For a small investment in yourself, you will feel confident with remote interviews and connect with HR managers and recruiters alike.
Career Marketing Centre is an award-winning career preparation service that can help you land the job of your dreams. Career Marketing Centre has the industry knowledge and skills to get you noticed— from resume and cover letter writing to preparing you for a job interview.
Contact Career Marketing Centre today.