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Remote job interviews:

What to do

remote interview

The pandemic has significantly altered the process of interviewing, hiring, and onboarding new recruits. As many people had to adapt to remote work, not all are skilled in conducting remote job interviews.

No matter how comfortable you are with virtual communication today, you will still need to be prepared. In this post, we share how to plan for your remote interview.

In the build-up to your remote job interview…

1. Emails before the interview

Virtual interviews can mean having to contend with unavoidable interruptions, so if you have a contact email address, liaise with the employer about any unique circumstances (such as kids, pets, family members, etc). There is nothing wrong with a bit of email dialogue prior to your interview. Just remember, as well as during the hiring process and working remotely, it is necessary for every email to be clear in both content and tone.

2. Multiple ways to meet (virtually)

Being a tech wizard, the chances are you are all over the different types of video conferencing software such as Zoom, Teams, Skype, WebEx, or Google Meet. But do check your internet connectivity and confirm well in advance of your interview that your camera and microphone are working, test this with a friend if you can.

Use a headset and external microphone if you can for remote interviews. They improve the audio quality of calls as they eliminate feedback. It doesn’t need to be a fancy or expensive set, a simple in-ear headphone set with a mic on the cord will do.

On the day of your remote interview…

3. Prepare

Check your equipment and internet connection on the day of your interview. Check for updates, do a test run, and if you think the sharing of screens may be required during your interview, ensure your documents are open, prepped, and good to go.

While testing your technology, determine where to take the interview. Find a room with optimal lighting, preferably near a window, or a blank wall to guarantee you are the focal point of the conversation. Whether you sit on your living room couch or in your home office, tidy up your surroundings. It might be hard to convince your potential employer you are detail-orientated and organised if there is clutter in the background!

Do your research on the company well ahead of time and jot down any notes for easy reference. Learn everything you can about the company – from as many sources as you can. Talk to contacts, read current news releases, and, yes, spend some time on Google!

Have a copy of your resume/CV handy so you don’t forget key talking points. Spend time thinking carefully about what skills, accomplishments, and interview answers you can give that will resonate with your interviewers the most.

And make sure your phone is on silent, your virtual background (if needed) is professional, and show up in plenty of time!

4. Check your appearance

Sit down prepared and suitably dressed. No one expects a formal shirt and tie at home but a creased and faded t-shirt is probably not ideal either. The good news is you can keep your Ugg boots on if you like!

During the remote job interview…

5. Proving you are a good fit for remote work

In any job interview, candidates talk up their prior accomplishments. For a job where you’ll be working from home, at least for some of the time, you should highlight experiences you’ve had working remotely. Ideally, you want to show you’ve done it before and have a clear expectation about your ability to do it successfully.

Be prepared to discuss your resourceful, independent work style during the interview. Interviewers will want to know you can stay organised and can regularly loop in your team to help avoid any unnecessary holdups.

Be familiar with the STAR interview technique and likely questions. Plus have some of your own questions ready as well.

6. Body language

Don’t fidget, make eye contact, and position your eyes at the same horizontal level as the camera. Add a book below your laptop to raise it up if needed. Looking into the camera is the equivalent of making direct eye contact. Do not look down, away, or read other things on the screen, as eye motions can be easily misinterpreted.

Smile and nod – a lot. It’s much harder to express focused attention on-screen, so signal your presence and acknowledge you are listening by smiling and nodding along, more than you would in person. Communicating your energy levels and positive, action-orientated attitude is much harder when you are not face-to-face, again, practice this with a friend beforehand if you can.

If you are one of the many who uses hand gestures, make sure your top torso is positioned centre screen, and pay attention to whether your hands often stretch beyond the screen. If they do, move the camera further away.

If appropriate, mirror the other person’s body language. This can be a tricky one to master. Mirroring is a powerful tool that we use instinctively to bond and build understanding with one another. If you want to establish a connection with the other person on the call, mirror his or her talking pace, posture, gestures, or tone of voice.

7. People skills – virtual meeting room etiquette

Remote teams need to hold a lot of meetings by video. Showing you know the etiquette for virtual meetings is equivalent to having good manners. If you need to mute your mic due to some background noise, explain why you are intermittently muting. Otherwise, it can come across as odd.

Don’t interrupt other people when they’re speaking or attempt to speak over them. That being said, ensure you give clear and concise answers when asked and don’t ramble. Take a pause to think if you need to and repeat the question to ensure you heard and understood it correctly.

Always give your attention and stay focused, end the meeting with any prepared or relevant questions relating to the role you are interviewing for.

One final tip…

Your next big gig is waiting for you! Your nerves may make it hard to focus on the task at hand, but we’ve got your back. If you need to practice let us know and we’ll give you a trial run beforehand.

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