Remote Interview Tips

Posted on January 19, 2021 by Doug Crawford, Job Applications.com

How to Set Up a Successful Remote Job Interview

More and more companies are using remote interviews as part of their hiring process. If you plan on working from home you may need to learn how to attend interviews over the phone or in a video chat. Check out the following post to explore remote interview tips. Discover helpful suggestions on selecting a platform and confirming details, gathering tools, testing tech, and choosing appropriate backgrounds and attire. Finally, learn additional video interview tips and phone interview tips with an easy-to-follow list of do’s and don’ts.

Step 1: Select a Platform for the Interview

Determine whether a phone call or a video chat would be best for you. For those who prefer a video interview, confirm whether your interviewer will contact you on Skype, Zoom or another platform. If you lack a functioning tech set-up or worry about shaky internet connections, a phone interview may be a better option.

Step 2: Clarify the Details

Once you know how interviewers will contact you, get as much information as you can about the meeting and the hiring manager. Figure out the date and time of the telephone or video call, remembering to make adjustments for different time zones if necessary. You should also learn the name, phone number and email address of your interviewer.

Step 3: Gather Your Tools

Make sure you have everything you need for your remote interview. Some of the proper equipment for telecommunication may include a laptop or desktop computer with a functioning webcam, speakers and a microphone. You will also need a strong internet connection to prevent your video interview call from dropping. Using a landline phone will give you the strongest connection during a phone interview. If you do not have access to a landline, be sure that the cell phone you use is fully charged and has strong reception. To remove background noise and help your interviewer hear you better, you may consider using a headset with a microphone.

Step 4: Select a Space and Set the Scene

Once you confirm the details of your remote interview and have all of your equipment, you need to set up a space to hold the interview. The space you choose should be quiet, comfortable and as distraction-free as possible. Try to coordinate schedules with family members or roommates so you can have the alone time you need for your remote interview. When choosing a spot for a video interview, make sure the room has adequate lighting. You can create a designated space for your video call by setting up in front of a blank wall or using a professional backdrop with neutral colors and designs. Arrange your equipment in front of the area, making sure that the microphones are close enough to pick up your voice and the camera is at eye level. Comfort and sound quality are essential when picking out a space for a phone interview. Choose a room with good acoustics to reduce echoing and make it easier to hear during your phone call. Set up a desk and office chair where you can be comfortable and alert while you talk on the phone, and surround yourself with upbeat and professional wall art and decor to put you in a confident mood.

Step 5: The Interview

At this point, you have confirmed the details of how and when your remote interview will take place, gathered all the equipment you need and created the perfect space for holding your video or phone meeting. You are now ready to meet with potential employers for a video interview or telephone interview calls.

How to Prepare For a Video or Telephone Interview

Even with the perfect remote interview set-up in place, there are a few things you can do before your meeting to increase your chances of moving on to the next part of the hiring process. Try some of the following remote interview preparation tips to help you get ready to make a good impression during your phone or video interview.

Video Interview Tips

Dress the Part

Though you may be interviewing from the comfort of your own home, dressing too casually can make you seem unprofessional. When deciding what to wear for a video interview, choose clothing that gives you a neat and polished appearance. Even if you think you can get away with a business-like top and loungewear bottoms, opt for a complete professional outfit to avoid the risk of accidentally showing your mismatched attire.

Do Some Research

Become more familiar with the company you are applying to by looking them up online. Find out as much as you can about their history, their products and their mission statement. From there, you can determine what personal traits you have that would make you an asset to the organization. You can also browse online to find some practice interview questions. Coming up with answers to some of the most common interview questions can give you an advantage if the interviewer happens to ask about similar topics. It also allows you to study potential responses to learn what types of answers hiring managers are looking for.

Test Your Tech

One way to minimize technical difficulties during your video interview is to check all your equipment beforehand. Check that your Wi-Fi connection is strong and that your video quality is not blurry or grainy. You should also check that your mics and speakers are picking up and transmitting sound properly.

Call a Friend for Video Interview Practice

Doing a dry run of your video interview can help you fix potential mistakes that may occur during your virtual interview. It also gives you the chance to practice the tone of voice and body language you plan to use during your real interview. Get dressed in your interview outfit and set up a virtual mock interview with a friend or relative.

Phone Interview Tips

Come up with Questions for the Interviewer

Thinking up three to five questions to ask at the end of your meeting is a great way to show that you are seriously considering the position and want to make sure that it is right for you. The answers to your questions for the interviewer should give you a sense of what it would be like to be their employee. For example, you can ask things like:
  • “How long have you worked with the company, and how has it changed since you started?”
  • What is your style of leadership?
  • “Can you tell me about a time you had to handle a disagreement between a customer and an employee?”
  • “What are some of the main reasons former employees have for quitting their jobs here?”

Make a Cheat Sheet

Having a phone interview gives you the ability to refer to any notes and documents without your interviewer knowing. Decide what you should bring to your interview to help you stay on track and market yourself well. For example, if you practice any interview questions, jot down your answers, and keep them nearby during your phone interview. Print out a copy of your resume and highlight all the traits you want to display during your phone interview. You can also write down a few talking points and short stories you can tell the interviewer to express your skills. Use bullet points when writing down these thoughts so you can avoid reading them word-for-word.

Arm Yourself against Phone Interruptions

If you use a cell phone for your phone interview, the beeping and buzzing from text messages, emails and app notifications can be distracting. Avoid these interruptions by using the Do Not Disturb feature on your phone for the duration of your call. Also, turn off Call Waiting to prevent outside phone calls from interfering with your conversation.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Remote Interviews

Communicating with a hiring manager over a phone or a webcam often comes with challenges that candidates don’t usually encounter during face-to-face meetings. However, there are a few things job seekers can keep in mind to overcome these difficulties and make a great impression on their interviewer. Here are a few Remote Interview Do’s and Don’ts to help you have a successful telephone interview or video call.

Video Interview Do’s

DO Log in Early

Just like with a face-to-face interview, arriving ahead of schedule shows your commitment to being on time. Being early can also let your interviewer know that you are enthusiastic and passionate about the job opportunity. Sign in to your meeting about 10 minutes before your scheduled interview time so that you will be ready to answer the video call as soon as it comes in.

DO Look at the Camera

Eye contact shows that you are bold, determined and ready to engage in conversation. Many people tend to look at the screen during video calls, making it seem like they are looking at something other than the interviewer. Instead, do your best to look at your webcam throughout your meeting. That way, you can maintain eye contact with the hiring manager as you answer their question.

DO Speak Up

Depending on the quality of your microphone and speakers, it can be difficult for you and your interviewer to hear each other. Talk a little louder than you would during an in-person interview to make sure that the hiring manager can hear you.

DO Slightly Exaggerate Your Tone and Body Language

Conveying your friendly demeanor and upbeat attitude through a computer can be harder than doing so in-person. To help your positive personality come across, give subtle emphasis to your tone and movements. Pitch your voice a little higher to add a cheerful note to your speech, and use a few expressive hand gestures to make yourself seem energetic and personable.

Video Interview Don’ts

DON’T Choose a Flashy Background

Some people think that a fun video background can be an ice-breaker for virtual chats. However, colorful graphics can distract your interviewer from your conversation. Instead, use a plain solid backdrop or blank wall for your background. You can also use a feature on your webcam to blur your surroundings.

DON’T Ignore Technical Difficulties

Clear audiovisual quality is essential during video interviews, and waiting for technical difficulties to fix themselves can make you seem distracted or unprepared. Immediately mentioning frozen screens and garbled sound allows you and your interviewer to make adjustments and get the interview back on track as quickly as possible.

Phone Interview Do’s

DO Use a Formal Greeting

When answering a phone call from a hiring manager, respond with your name and a polite greeting to let them know they have reached the right person. It is also a great way to show your professional attitude before the actual interview begins. Try saying, “This is [your name]!” or “[your name] speaking!” when you answer the phone, and refer to the hiring manager as Mr. or Ms., followed by their last name throughout the interview.

DO Follow the Interviewer’s Lead

Some interviewers may start with a quick casual chat to help you relax, while others may want to get right to the questions as soon as you answer. Let them steer the conversation, but be ready to engage in small talk or dive right into a work-related discussion.

DO Smile as You Speak

Since your interviewer can not see you, you will need to display your energy and positivity through your voice. When your interview call comes through, answer the phone with a smile, and try to keep it throughout your meeting. Smiling can put you in an upbeat mood and give your voice a warm and cheerful tone to make you sound friendly and approachable.

DO Wait a Few Seconds to Respond after Each Question

Instead of giving a rapid-fire answer to a question, wait for a few seconds before you respond. Taking a brief pause lets the interviewer know that you are analyzing each question and putting thought into your answers. If the silence makes you feel uncomfortable, try repeating the question out loud to show you are thinking it over.

Phone Interview Don’ts

DON’T Multitask

Though your interviewer will not see you folding laundry, cooking dinner or scrolling on social media during your phone interview, these activities draw your focus away from the conversation. You may zone out and miss hearing part of a question, which lets the hiring manager know that you are focusing on something else. Give your complete attention to your interview and save all other activities for later.

DON’T Interrupt

Talking over the interviewer shows a lack of patience and professionalism. It can also throw off the conversation, forcing the hiring manager to backtrack and re-ask questions. Try to practice active listening by shutting off your internal dialogue and pausing to reflect on what the interviewer said before responding. If you have a question or forgot to mention something, write it down, and bring it back up at the end of the interview.  

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