7 tips for remote interview success
There’s no getting away from it, remote interviews are currently a mainstay of the hiring process, but how do you know if you’re coming across well? Follow these 7 tips and put your best foot forward.
Make eye contact
There’s no doubt it’s harder to form an interpersonal connection via a screen, so pay attention to how you’re coming across. Speak calmly and clearly with a warm tone of voice, smiling and laughing as you would in person, to let your interviewer know you’re engaged in the conversation.
It’s advised to look directly into the camera, rather than at the image on your screen, as much as you can for the best sense of connection with the interviewer. Try to keep your focus on your interviewer, rather than looking away from the screen while you’re talking. It’s also a good idea to leave a few seconds at the end of your answers, to minimise talking over each other.
Even with these extra measures in place, it’s a good idea to manage your expectations about rapport with your interviewer. It’s much harder to read someone virtually, so you probably won’t get a very good feel for them over a video call. This is normal, and all the interviewees will be feeling this day, so don’t worry!
Test your technology
Download the software you'll need, which may be something like Zoom, Teams or Skype, and check your internet connection in advance by calling a friend on the platform you’re going to use for the interview. Double check you can log in with a secure password and your settings are optimised, and make sure you’ve found the room in your house with the best WiFi signal.
Organise a backup plan with your recruiter or interviewer, and don’t struggle on with a bad connection. There’s no shame in hanging up if you can’t hear anything they’re saying, and it makes it almost impossible for you to do well! Arrange to continue over the phone, or phone your recruiter to rearrange.
It might sound obvious, but dress smartly for your interview! While no-one expects you to be in a full suit, a shirt and trousers will go a long way to making you look, and feel, professional. Wear something that you’re comfortable and confident in - your appearance is an important part of your first impression, and it’s useful to show the interviewer you’re a serious professional worth considering.
On another even more obvious note, be sure to wear the lower half of your outfit too! Even though the plan is to stay seated throughout the interview, you can’t rule out having to get up and flash your pyjama bottoms to the panel. Being fully dressed from head to toe can also make you feel more purposeful and ready to take on the challenge of an interview, even wearing shoes can help!
Sit down at your desk (or kitchen table) 10 minutes in advance of the interview and make sure you have everything you need. Get yourself a glass of water, a notepad and pen, a copy of your CV and anything else you think you might need. Plug in your laptop, load up the app you’re using for the call and check your internet connection. Take a few moments to centre yourself and prepare for the task ahead, akin to sitting in the waiting room before an in-person interview. In other words, get your head in the game!
Rehearse your answers
As usual, it’s important to prepare answers to all the common interview questions you could be asked. You should also prepare answers to other relevant questions regarding your productivity should you need to work from home, how you maintain your concentration and work-life balance, and how well you communicate remotely. It’s a great idea to speak to your recruiter and ask their advice on this too.
One of the benefits of remote interviews is that you can keep notes to hand! To avoid having to look down too much (which may tip the panel off that you’re referring to your notes a lot), write key points on post it notes and stick them around the edge of your computer screen at eye level. This way, you won’t forget any key skills or examples of your work that might just secure you the job.
Prepare your space
In a remote interview, you’re not only showing off yourself and your skills, but your at-home workspace too. Make sure it’s clean, tidy and presentable. It’s great if you can show you’ve got a workable set up at home that will allow you to function well working remotely if needed. Choose a location that’s well lit with natural light if possible, and make sure you’re not going to be too hot or too cold. Privacy is important, so consider what the rest of your household has planned and how well sound proofed your office (or kitchen/dining/living room) is! If there’s likely to be background noise, you could consider wearing headphones to minimise this.
Home is usually full of distractions, from phone calls, children and pets to deliveries, texts and Netflix. Reschedule your Amazon and Waitrose deliveries for after the interview, put your phone on silent and set up your computer in a private space. Load up the app you’re going to use for the call and turn off all other notifications, silencing your emails, messages and Facebook notifications on your laptop. This will facilitate you giving the interview your full and undivided attention, giving you the best chance at concentration and ultimately success!
There you have it, you're ready to go!