Since March 2020, we all got used to this new virtual reality. Some did graduate online; others are finishing college from a distance; others are still working in distributed teams. And for you, finally, it’s time for a virtual interview. After rewriting your CV and adapting your job search to remote work, your dream company got back to you. But, which are the dos and don’ts for a remote job interview?
What Are Employers Looking For In A Remote Interview?
In some ways, a remote interview is very different from an onsite interview. You don’t step into a room trying to impress who is in front of you. You sit in front of your laptop, open your webcam, and connect for a video call.
How you answer interview questions and your expertise are the cards to play. But there are other things to consider when doing a remote examination. Who conducts a virtual interview won’t form an opinion only based on your answers. During a video call, body language and facial expression are still essential elements to consider when evaluating a candidate.
A golden rule to all remote interviews is making sure to have a good internet connection. As obvious as it sounds, your future employer doesn’t want to struggle to hear what you are saying. Most remote jobs require regular team meetings and video conferencing, and you must have a good connection. Secondly, show engagement. Even in a remote scenario, employers want people interested in their companies, not only in virtual teams. Finally, put attention to the way you communicate. As we mentioned, most of the work happens via messages and video calls. A remote interview is a great chance to show that you can express yourself clearly.
What To Prepare Before a Virtual Job Interview
On-site and virtual interviews have one thing in common. Those conducting the discussion want to see you care about the job position. How to make sure that you give the right impression?
Test Your Technology
As we said, you must have a good connection during the interview. In addition, make sure to have the right platform ready wherever is Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Meetings. Once you know where the discussion will happen, make a trial call with a friend to test the platform. Make sure you have a plain and professional background, your real name on the screen, and, more importantly, that you don’t have issues when login.
Interview Dress Code
When working from home you don’t need a dress code, but you still need a professional outfit. Showing up to an interview in PJs is never a good idea. Before you meet your future manager, wash your face, fix your hair and wear professional clothes. The point isn’t finding the best dress code. Instead, choose an outfit that shows you care about the impression you give.
Build Your ‘Home’ Office
Finally, when the conversation happens, make sure to create a distraction-free spot and show up on time. As a last piece of advice, set up a home office for your online colloquium. Create a separate location in your house where you have everything you need for that moment. A clean and tidy environment helps keep the focus during the interview and avoid distractions in answering the questions.
Dos And Don’ts In Remote Job Interview
Once you have your tech and home office ready, you need to prepare for the virtual interview. Answering questions, the challenge is to keep the right attitude during the whole conversation. Even through a video, people get a sense of how you feel. More importantly, interviewers understand if you say something to impress or get distracted by external elements.
Here a the basic dos and don’ts to keep in mind during a remote interview:
- Be ready for unplanned events: Even when you arrange the interview in the perfect timing and spot, something unexpected can still happen. For example, your postman will ring the doorbell. Or your neighbors urgently need your help with something. Wherever happen, keep calm and keep your smile on. A casual accident is different from being unprepared. If you have your equipment ready and something happens, your interviewer will understand and keep the conversation going.
- Prepare for possible interview questions: It‘s impossible to predict what your interviewer will ask. However, you can research the last trend for your role and news related to your field. In addition, think about why you want that remote position in that specific company. As we mentioned, managers wish for motivated people for their company, not only people looking forward to work on PJs.
- Research the company: Preparing your motivations leads us to the next point. Research what the company is about, what are their values and missions. During the interview, be specific on your background and why you think your experience can fit the company.
- Ask questions in the end: Asking final questions isn’t mandatory and often depends on the conversation. However, it’s good to ask questions at the end of the interview rather than during a follow-up. For example, if you have doubts about working hours or salary, you can ask clarification at the end showing your interest in the position.
- Pretend you know what you are talking about: One thing is to ‘sell’ yourself promoting your potential. Another thing is selling skills you actually never gained. You should have learned this at school. Pretend you know what you are talking about is never a good strategy. For example, if you are new to remote work, don’t pretend you know how it works. Being honest about your previous experience and push on your transferable skills.
- Interrupt or mention things to keep the conversation going: Sometimes, during an interview, people tend to do more than they should because they want to give the right impression. It’s important to look passionate, but remember to listen carefully without interrupting and avoiding useless comments to fill up silence during the call.
- Ignore what can’t hear or see: The Internet connection can fail for everyone, even for your interviewers. If the sound breaks or you can’t hear the question properly, just say it with a smile. It doesn’t mean you aren’t proficient with language or you don’t have enough knowledge to answer. It’s better to admit you couldn’t hear properly than assuming the question and answer randomly.
- Rely on notes: While doing research about your field and the company, you probably wrote some notes down. It’s great, but you shouldn’t rely on them. Notes are helpful to remember things, but during an interview, they aren’t the answer. You can have them around, but you will give the wrong impression if you often interrupt to read the notes. It’s better to improvise than looking unprepared trying to find back that key line in your notes.
Get Ready For Your First Remote Job
To recap, the most important thing during a remote interview is showing that you have all that it takes for that position.
On the practical side, make sure to have a good connection and test your technology. Download the platform for the video call and log in 5 minutes earlier than the interview time. On the other hand, dress up and research the company to show you care about the position.
Think carefully about why you are applying for the position and why you want to work remotely for that company. Illustrate your background thinking of what could be helpful for your future team and, more importantly, don’t lie on your experience to impress your interviewer.
Be honest and professional. That’s the winning card for virtual interviews!