Cast your mind back to 2019 and think how you would react if someone invited you for an in-person interview. Excited, nervous, yet quietly confident. But, what if you were told that in 2019, your job interview was actually remote and via Zoom? Chances are you’d be confused and thinking – why? Two years later and it’s now the go-to way of interviewing.
Since our world was turned upside down, many things for companies have changed, with one being the way they interview job candidates.
So how can you present yourself in the best way possible to ensure you nail that virtual interview you’re gunning for? Here are 10 tips on how to ace a remote interview so you can land your dream role.
Have a remote interview lined up? Here’s how you can get prepared and give a positive first impression.
Research, research, research
You’ve come across the perfect job ad and they’ve invited you for a virtual interview. Like with in-person job interviews, you want to know what you’re getting yourself into, as well as letting the interviewer know that you’re interested.
Doing your research can help you gauge what it would be like to work for the company. Whether it’s the history of the company, the company culture or workplace values, you can find out a lot about a business when you put the time and effort into researching your potential employer.
There’s nothing worse than sitting screen to screen with a recruiter or hiring manager and not knowing anything about what the company actually does.
Have a test run through of the technology the company is using
We’re living in a world where technology is king – and the last two years have most likely encouraged you to get up to speed with the latest tech.
When you see the meeting link come through, you’ll be able to see what platform they’re using. It might be Microsoft Teams, Google Hangouts or Zoom. But, if it’s software you’ve never used before, be sure to make an account prior to the interview day and have a test run through. Showing that you can manage technology efficiently will make the entire interview process a lot smoother and give you peace of mind before it’s go-time. The last thing you want is technical difficulties at the start of the video interview!
And don’t forget to test your microphone…
Know where you’re going to sit and be aware of your background
Sometimes, it’s the small things that make all of the difference – like where you’re going to position yourself when it’s video interview time.
Make sure you’re set up in a quiet area with good lighting and internet connection. Move away from other people, close the door, and avoid having people walk behind you. Doing a test run-through will also help you see how your background is looking and give you an idea if a quick clean-up is on the cards.
If you can’t find a suitable spot, search for a virtual background that lets your personality shine. The interviewer will also appreciate you giving a glimpse into your world and what you enjoy.
Plan your virtual interview attire
Many of us love working remotely. Whether it’s being close to the fridge, spending time with family members, or opting for pyjama pants every day, the benefits far outweigh those pesky long commutes.
But, let’s go back to those pyjama pants… Are they really acceptable for your virtual interview? Heck yes (provided you remain seated)! Things to consider for your virtual interview include your shirt and your overall appearance. You don’t want to give off the vibe that you’ve just rolled out of bed and slumped in front of the computer for your remote interview. And remember, dress professionally and iron that shirt before you turn your camera on.
Organise a backup hotspot in the case that your wi-fi is slow
An unstable internet connection is one of the most inconvenient things – both for you and your interviewer. If your internet has a tendency to be unsteady and unreliable, have your hotspot on your phone ready as a backup.
We know that it’s always the most inconvenient times that your internet decides to drop out, so having a backup connection will help put your mind at ease if you’re faced with the worst-case scenario. Hint: do a quick speed test before you jump on the call!
You do not want to feel like this before your interview. Trust us…
Listen carefully during the remote interview
This one goes without saying, but listening during a remote interview is an essential part of learning about the role and what it would be like to work there. You want to know what your manager is like, what the team is like, and what your day-to-day will look like.
Being curious and listening to what they have to say is one of the most important parts – and you’ll show the interviewer that you’re actively engaged in the conversation. Which leads us to our next point…
Take notes and ask questions
Taking notes and asking questions about the role and company can help you gain further insight into the business. Asking about company goals, motivations, values and culture can give you clarity on the role and whether or not it would be a good career move. Before you join the remote interview, have a list of questions written down, ready to go. 9 times out of 10, they’ll ask you if you have any questions at the end of the interview. This is your time to keep those notes handy and shine.
Need some question inspo? Consider these interview questions.
- Can you explain to me what a typical day looks like for this role?
- What are the biggest challenges the successful job candidate will face in this role?
- Thinking about career growth, what might be the next step for the successful candidate?
- What is the team structure like?
- What teams would the successful candidate be working with primarily?
- What would you like the successful candidate to achieve in the first 30, 60 and 90 days?
- What is your favourite thing about working here?
- What has your career looked like here?
- What is the company culture like?
Look at the screen where the camera is
If you’re currently in remote work, chances are you have an additional monitor in your home office setup. While it’s easy to look directly at the monitor, we suggest using just your laptop for the call.
You want to look at the camera and maintain eye contact throughout the remote interview. You’ll show that you have a genuine interest and give a positive first impression by looking into the camera – body language is key!
Be aware of muting yourself if there are multiple people on the call
Getting the hang of when and when you shouldn’t mute yourself can be a challenge in itself – but, after two years of working from home, we hope you’ve got this one downpat! If you find yourself with multiple managers on the call, remember to mute yourself after you speak so you can hear everyone else clearly.
Remember, if you’re successful in the role, chances are you’ll be communicating with teams online every day, and it’s those soft skills that hiring managers are looking for!
Don’t interrupt the interviewer
Like we said above, you want to hear everyone clearly – which leads us to this point. You want to avoid interrupting so you can give others a chance to speak. While it can be hard to read social cues virtually, avoid talking over people and encourage everyone to speak up.
Good luck! You’ve got this.
Whether this is your first virtual job interview or your 50th, each video call is good practice. Stay calm, arrive early and keep your resume handy. Keep a list of questions in your back pocket and a backup plan if any technical issues arise. You’ve got this.