In a world where remote work is becoming more and more popular, job interviews are increasingly being held over video calls—a trend that’ll only continue to grow in the coming years. If you don’t live close to the interviewers or are applying for a remote role, this means you could be at risk of an interview via webcam.
As such, if you’re on the lookout for remote job opportunities, it’s important to build a professional resume and know how to prepare for a remote job interview as a candidate. This article will guide you through everything you need to know about remote interviews, from prep tips and advice on how to ace your video interview so that you can get hired faster!
Tip 1: Know your environment
The first step towards preparing for a remote interview is to know your environment. How will you set up your environment? What equipment and technology are you going to use? Are you in a noise-free room? Are you alone? Will you be able to unplug from distractions? Know what you’re working with and make the best use of it.
We don't suggest that you rearrange your whole room, though. What we advise is to find a clean spot that is free of distractions. If your background is too messy, it will catch your recruiter's attention. In case there is no other room available, you can use a virtual background instead just so you don't show your messy bookshelf. But don't use virtual backgrounds of beaches or mountains. Use virtual backgrounds of office spaces instead.
Tip 2: Practice and be confident
Practice and confidence go hand in hand. You want to be prepared for all possible scenarios but also want to be relaxed and unruffled if something goes wrong. When it comes to practicing, choose a quiet space where you won’t be disturbed. You want your first attempt at a video interview to go as smoothly as possible.
Also, make sure you’ve chosen a time when you can count on having a consistent internet connection. You don’t want to start your interview only to have your connection drop out after ten minutes because the kids in the house have gone online to play games.
Finally, make sure you’re not just confident with your interview skills but also confident with your visual appearance. It’s important to project a professional, effective image.
Tip 3: Have a separate microphone
If you’re using your laptop’s built-in microphone, you may not sound as clear and crisp as your interviewers would prefer. In fact, you may come across as quiet and mumbly to the person on the other end, which could make for an uncomfortable interview experience.
To avoid making a bad impression, consider investing in a separate microphone. A USB microphone, in particular, is the best option here since you can plug it into your laptop or PC. We recommend the ATR 2500-USB, which is a highly popular interview microphone.
Tip 4: Set up HD video (and lighting)
You’re not in the room with your interviewers—you’re at home. This means that your environment isn’t as controlled as if you were on-site. You’ll probably be seated in a well-lit room by the window with a ton of natural light streaming in. You won’t have full control of your lighting, however.
There’s a chance your interviewer will be blinded by the light, so make sure you turn it away from their direction. You’ll also want to make sure you’re using an HD webcam. These are typically higher-quality cameras, so you’ll look and sound even more professional.
Additionally, be mindful of your background. Whether you’re in a home or office space, keep your surroundings tidy and uncluttered for optimal viewing.
Tip 5: Know that a remote job interview is no different from an on-site one
The only difference between an on-site and remote job interview is the fact that you’re in two different locations. You want to keep in mind that the way you conduct yourself remains the same as if you were in the same room. You want to make a positive impression on your interviewers just as you would if you were in person.
Keep in mind that you’ll have no idea if your interviewers are smiling or frowning. So, make sure to be courteous and professional at all times.
Tip 6: Take care of logistics beforehand
Before you schedule your interview, make sure you know where you’re going to be during the interview—in the hour preceding the interview, too. If you’re in a coffee shop, for example, there’s a chance the other patrons might be too loud for you to have a successful interview.
To avoid any interruptions, choose a location that has minimal noise and distractions. If you’re at home, you may find it challenging to avoid distractions as you might have kids or pets running around. If this is the case, consider taking some time out before the interview to get rid of the distractions.
Tip 7: Present yourself well
Before your scheduled interview, consider putting thought into what you will be wearing. It might look strange to join a Zoom interview in a suit while in your living room, but what's important is that you convey a sense of professionalism.
A simple button-up shirt can already send a message that you are dead serious about the interview. A top with a colorful or creative print can send a message of dynamism and creativity. A clean pullover or shirt will also suggest that you have thought about how you will look during the interview.
If you are applying for a job in the law or finance industry, know that it will require more careful planning. If you are uncertain about what to wear, it doesn't hurt to ask. Check with the recruiter by sending an email prior to the call.
Tip 8: Have your notes ready, but don't check on them too often
During remote interviews, it's usual for recruiters to ask for samples of the candidate's past yet impactful work. However, don't let it lose your focus. Prepare a Word document or scribble notes on a paper highlighting the successful projects you were involved in. If possible, sort your projects accordingly. It helps to group them in terms of accomplishments, voluntary work, and research projects.
Now, do not get too excited and write everything on your notes. This will only overwhelm you, and it will make it obvious to recruiters that you are reading something. Recruiters will notice you scrolling through your computer or looking down at your desk, and this can negatively impact the result of your interview. Recruiters want to see you confident with what you have done, and your goal is to just refer to your notes as minimal as possible. Just look at your notes to remember some points you forget.
Tip 9: Use hand gestures
In a study, the majority of candidates who successfully landed a job used hand gestures to emphasize important points. They move their hands closer to their hearts when they share something personal or an honest opinion. So, you will want to use body language while responding to questions.
To connect to your interviewer, it helps to have an open posture. And do not ever cross your arms in front of them. Once you build the connection, the interviewer will likely trust the information you share.
Tip 10: Show the recruiter that you are truly interested in the role
Most successful candidates are said to be those who conversed with recruiters naturally. They showed a sincere interest in the role by asking questions.
Based on studies, some of the most engaging questions are as follows:
- How does the current team communicate?
- What tools are being used to collaborate?
- How do you track work done remotely?
- Do you hold special events and gatherings so we can meet and interact with colleagues?
- What perks do you give your employees?
Some least engaging questions are:
- Where is your office located?
- What is your dress code?
- What are your office hours?
- What awards did the company win?
The key to a successful remote job interview is to be prepared, and the only way to do that is to know what to expect. By knowing your environment, practicing, and having the right equipment, you’ll be able to relax and be confident at all times.
Make sure to take care of logistics beforehand, and you’ll be ready to take the next step in your job search. And who knows? A remote job interview may be better for you than an on-site interview!
About the Author: Dahlia Keen is passionate about helping people find meaningful work in a career they enjoy. A creative writer for resumekit.com, she is backed by years of experience writing resumes for diverse industries, and she has helped hundreds of professionals land their dream job.