Navigating the Interview Process When It’s 100 Percent Remote
Remote interviews allow companies to interview candidates from anywhere and cut down on hassles—no more parking validation! No wonder they’ve become so popular.
Yet, remote interviews come with their own unwritten rules and digital mores you must observe to land the job. So, how do you navigate the interview process when it’s 100 percent remote?
It’s all in the preparation
Start your interview prep with a pen, a notepad, and a water bottle. Notes will help you recall important facts and details after the interview, while a drink can save you from a dry throat.
Then lay out professional attire. True, you can wear just about anything in a remote interview. No one would be any wiser. But professional attire puts you in a professional mindset. This will bolster your confidence, and studies suggest it may even improve your thought process.
You next need to prepare your technology, which, in some ways, puts even more responsibility on you.
Preparing for a phone interview
Add a charger to your prep-kit. Yes, even if you charge your phone every night. Better to be safe than run out of power mid-call.
Consider earbuds, too. Earbuds can block distracting noises for improved focus. Before banking on them though, do a test run to check sound quality and see if the built-in microphone is up to snuff.
When choosing a location, pick one that’s quiet and distraction-free. Preferably, it will have a clean desk for note taking and a door you can close to remind others that you aren’t to be disturbed.
Troubleshooting a video conference
Gather your equipment and download all necessary programs. Check their settings for the best performance. Check your microphone and speakers. Check your internet connection. Check your webcam for the best picture. In short, check all the tech!
Like a phone interview, you’ll want a location that is quiet and distraction-free. But you must also give the background a critical eye. Remove any mess or clutter to make the background clean and professional. You want the interviewer’s focus to stay on you.
Your final consideration is light. Try to test the lighting at the same time of day as the interview. Aim for a well-lit room that avoids gloomy shadows but isn’t so bright that it washes out the image. Soft, diffused light will be best.
Not technically cheating
Create a cheat sheet with any information you need. Think keywords from the job posting, questions to ask, skills to highlight, and answers to challenging interview questions.
Don’t get lost in the details. You want your cheat sheet to prime your memory, not be a script. We recommend keeping it down to a Post-It note or two.
Putting your cheat sheet on a Post-It has another advantage. During a video interview, you can stick it to the screen and scan it quickly without breaking the flow of conversation.
Practice your presentation
Unfortunately, remote interviews can strip away nonverbal communication tools we rely on (e.g., body language).
To compensate, you need to practice your delivery until it’s natural. Try to set up a mock interview with a friend or family member and use the same tech you’ll have for the actual interview.
Here are some tips:
Phone interview: Practice incorporating signs of active listening—such as asking thoughtful questions and using phrases that acknowledge you’re listening. This way, the recruiter knows you are present in the conversation, even if they can’t see you.
Video interview: Make eye contact with the camera, not the face on the screen. Because laptop cameras are set in the bezel, looking at the screen can appear as though you are avoiding eye contact. People subconsciously read this as a sign someone is hiding something.
Navigating to success
Beyond preparation, remote interview best practices look like any other interview. Research the company beforehand. Connect your skills and personality with the job requirements and company culture. Avoid common interview mistakes, negotiate for the best offer, and follow-up wisely.
Follow these steps and whether it’s remote or in-person, you’ll ace your next interview.