7 tips for preparing for your remote interview

Welcome to our new series where we explore the most important industries, trends, and topics related to your career from every angle. This month we are exploring remote onboarding in 2021.

I think we are all finally realizing that remote work is here to stay in one form or another.

Companies and CEOs understand the monetary impact remote work has on their organization and the cost savings that come with it. In addition to remote work, remote interviews are now a fundamental staple of the hiring process due to hiring people around the globe. 

Depending on the position, more businesses can hire the most skilled candidate without worrying about relocating the employee. Finding the most qualified candidate regardless of their current location is an extremely attractive perk to the online environment.

Since this new interviewing style is here to stay, we are offering some of the best tips to prepare for your remote interview.

Without further adieu, here are 7 tips for preparing for your remote interview:

Many remote interviews now incorporate audio and video via a Zoom call, Skype, or another virtual meeting. Because of the added element of video, there are a few key elements you need to be aware of.

1. Test your equipment before the interview

If you have a scheduled interview, you should know ahead of time what platform your interview is going to be on.

For instance, Google Meet and Zoom are two of the more popular video conferencing applications.

If you know which app your meeting will be on, be sure to practice with a friend or family member to ensure your equipment, such as audio and video, work properly.

2. Prepare your background and area

Pay special attention to what is in the background of your video.

If you have old posters from highschool, dirty clothes piled up in the corner, or anything else that would diminish your professionalism, be sure to clear it up or move your workspace somewhere more professional. 

Check your desk area for piles of paper that make you look messy, and do your best to present the most professional side of you possible.

3. Think about equipment preferences

When you participate in your remote interview, are you going to use headphones or the audio from your computer? If you’re going to use headphones, will you go with earbuds or headphones that cover your entire ear?

If you are going to use headphones, consider using the smallest earbuds you can find. Large headphones that cover your ear can be distracting and make you look like a disc jockey at a late night club. Small earbuds help avoid distractions. 

In addition to your headphones, your microphone is also essential. Often the microphone on your computer is low quality and can make you sound like a robot. Investing in an external microphone can help you sound more authentic and human.

4. Don’t forget the mute button

Nothing is more irritating than hearing feedback from the person who forgot to mute their microphone. If you are in a group interview or group setting, don’t be the person who fails to mute their microphone when they are not talking. 

Knowing remote interview etiquette is essential to making a great first impression.

5. Dress the part

If the position you are applying for requires business attire, do not interview wearing a t-shirt and shorts.

Wear a suit and tie if the job is professional in nature. If your interviewer is more dressed up than you are, you will have difficulty recovering from the poor first impression.

6. Sign in to the remote interview early

If your interview is at 3:00 p.m., you should be signed on and waiting for the host by at least 2:55 p.m., if not earlier. Your interviewer should not have to wait for you to sign in to the meeting. Even being one minute late and signing on at 3:01 p.m. can be insulting. 

Do yourself a favor and sign on early so when the interviewer opens the meeting, you are already there and ready to go. 

7. Use notes sparingly and make eye contact

It can be distracting if, after every question, you look off-camera to reference notes you have made for the interview.

Looking away will clearly show the interviewer you are not prepared and are reading off a script. If you need quick reference notes, put a sticky note directly below your camera, so it looks like you’re still focused on the interviewer. 

Maintaining eye contact shows you are engaged and confident. Looking away can indicate a lack of confidence or unpreparedness. Any notes should be placed as close to the camera as possible to make the best impression.