As we head into what will definitely be a crowded job market, knowing how to set yourself apart in your job applications and interviews is going to be huge! Get yourself ready for a remote interview with these tips from our guest poster, Kate Barrington. Thank you, Kate!
Preparing for a remote interview? First of all, congratulations on moving onto the next stage of the job application process! Now, let’s get you prepared.
All interviews can be a bit intimidating, but remote interviews have some unique challenges. You’ll be interviewing from home, and home is a very busy place right now! You’ll need to prepare your answers, your space, and your technology. Not to mention managing the kids who may be looking for a snack while you’re in the middle of explaining your key accomplishments.
Managing a job search and managing family obligations isn’t easy, but having a little help can make all the difference. Here are 7 simple tips to help you ace your remote interview.
7 Tips to Help You Ace Your Remote Interview
1. Do Your Research
Take the time to research the company you’re interviewing with including their mission, what their major challenges are, and how the company is structured. Also, learn what you can about your interviewers by using LinkedIn. Jot down notes about important details on a cheat sheet you can refer to during your interview.
It’s also a good idea to take a closer look at your resume after you’ve done your research and think about ways to tailor your responses to highlight the experiences relevant to the position. Consider the three main points you want your interviewer to remember about you and think about how you’ll integrate that into the conversation.
2. Set Up Your Space
After prepping your resume and your notes, it’s time to set up your interview space.
If you don’t have a home office, choose a quiet location free from distractions. Be sure to check the background from all angles and ensure the space is clean and free from anything you don’t actually need for the interview. A room cluttered with toys or a desk piled with stacks of paper may give the impression that you’re unorganized.
To carve out the quiet time you need, ask your spouse or partner to take your kids on a LONG bike ride or a car ride to nowhere. Or you can set up the kids with some screen-based entertainment (that doesn’t require tech support) in another room. Find the help you need, electronic or otherwise, so you’ll feel confident that you have a quiet space for your interview.
3. Test Your Equipment Thoroughly
A bad connection or an old microphone can tank a remote interview, and negatively impact your chances of getting the job of your dreams. Minor technical difficulties are to be expected and most interviewers will be patient, but you can avoid most problems by setting up and testing your equipment ahead of time.
You’ve already checked your background but make sure your webcam is working properly and run a soundcheck. If you’re doing a phone interview, make sure your phone is fully charged. This may seem obvious but it’s worth the double-check!
4. Dress Appropriately
Choosing an outfit for a remote interview is no different from an in-person interview. You want to look professional, even if you’re applying for a work-from-home position. Make sure your top is clean and pressed and avoid the temptation to wear your comfy sweats underneath – if you have to get up during the interview, you’ll be glad you dressed from head to toe.
Trust us, this happens more often than you think!
5. Log In a Few Minutes Early
The benefit of a remote interview is that you don’t have to stress yourself out planning for traffic!
Still, sit down at your desk about 15 minutes early and read through your notes a few times to refresh your memory. Give your webcam and microphone another quick test and log in to the call a few minutes early so you’re ready when your interviewers arrive.
6. Make a Good First Impression
Most interviews start with a handshake but that’s not going to happen in a remote interview. Instead, start by clearly introducing yourself and greet your interviewers by name when they give them. Look directly into the webcam as to give the illusion of eye contact – you may even want to put a sticky note underneath it to remind you.
If the interview starts with the “tell me about yourself” question, use the opportunity to explain why you’re looking for a new position, what drew you to this job, and include highlights from your resume.
7. Stay Focused
The combination of nerves and taking an interview in your house can become a little distracting but you need to stay focused.
Don’t let your mind wander while your interviewers are speaking – it may help to jot down a few notes if it won’t distract you further. If you find yourself getting off track, don’t be afraid to acknowledge it. Apologize and take a moment to gather your thoughts then finish with a concise answer. If it helps, while you are practicing set a timer and limit your responses to about two minutes per question.
More Confidence-Boosting Interview Tips
Remote or in-person, preparing for an interview is bound to shake a few nerves loose. One of the best ways way to cope with anxiety is to overcome it with confidence. Physically preparing yourself for the interview is one thing, but it also pays to do a little mental preparation.
Here are a few simple tips to boost your confidence before a remote interview:
- Practice in front of your webcam so you feel less awkward during your interview – have a few test calls with friends so you get used to using the program.
- Combat negative thoughts with truths and positive affirmations – when your worries start to spiral out of control, remind yourself of your qualifications and why you deserve this job.
- Take time to do some yoga or meditation the day of your interview – clearing your mind and relieving stress will help you make a strong and authentic first impression.
- Picture yourself getting the job you want – envision yourself sitting at your desk, working with your team, and achieving success in your new position.
Your remote interview is your chance to prove you’re right for the position and a little preparation makes all the difference. Use these simple tips to guide you through the process from initial research to that first virtual handshake and you’ll be well on your way to success.
Again, big thanks to Kate for sharing her thoughts on preparing for a remote interview. For more interview prep, download ten common interview questions with expert tips on how to prepare for them. You’ve got this!