We get it — remote job interviews are hard!
And although the COVID-19 pandemic is beginning to wind down (we hope), many companies around the world are continuing to build a digital workforce like never before.
At Uvaro, we work to provide you with the job interview skills you need to excel in this fast-paced, innovative digital economy, so you can work in-office or work remotely if you choose.
Still, we know that not all of our graduates will be natural conversationalists, so we refined our strategy down to the top 9 tips for remote job interviews.
We weren’t all born with the gift of gab, but the general idea is similar to an in-person interview. The trick is to understand how speaking online is a bit different from face-to-face social interactions.
But if you keep these 9 tips in mind, you’ll be able to nail your next remote job interviews with ease!
Scheduling the interview
1 – Use clear, concise language
First, in order to ace a remote job interview, you will need to focus on communication. A safe bet, is to mirror the interviewers communication standards. But remember to never sound too laid back and unprofessional, even if they veer that way at times.
You might interview with a company in a group setting where the employees speak casually amongst each other, in this situation it’s best to keep in mind that you’re not on the team quite yet. Part of interviewing for a sales position is that the team leader has to measure you up and determine if you’ll mesh well with other employees, mesh naturally. Always mind how you communicate even in these settings.
When communicating via email. Short concise sentences are best compared to long winded paragraphs. Short sentences get to the point. They are easy to read. And they convey a professional tone in nature. Perfect for email communication with future co-workers!
2 – Present a variety of times (Pay special attention to time zones)
The beauty of working remotely is its flexibility. Show that you can operate just like the employer does, and you’ll do well. Being prompt and aware of time zone differences are part of the job.
In fact, that’s what’s so intriguing about a sales career. There could come a time when you’ll to stay up late or wake up early to accommodate an international client. So attention to detail in this area matters.
It’s best practice to defer to the interviewers calendar needs and let them set a time of their convenience. If your potential employer is flexible time-wise, it’s a great idea to schedule the interview when you’re most content and confident, usually in the early afternoon hours for most of us.
3 – Suggest a variety of ways to connect.
Scheduling a phone call is an easy win, but proactively proposing a face-to-face conversation via Zoom or Google Meet goes a long way with building a rapport. Some software companies have a totally digital workplace with employees in constant communication in one way or another.
But it’s a good idea to stay away from communicating via social media platforms. Some may consider it too informal and casual. Security is another issue that might come up if you recommend a video call through a social media platform.
Zoom and Google Meet are the top two video conferencing software at the time of this writing, so learn those two inside and out, ensuring that a technical glitch will never catch you off guard.
Day of the interview
4 – Prepare your space
If the conversation is on Zoom, make sure your surrounding is clear with no junk in sight behind you or on your desk.
The idea is to try and make sure you have your laptop just below or at eye height and try not to actually set the computer on your lap. The viewing angle is all wrong for a good webcam chat, and it’s easier for the camera to go out of focus and jostle about with every move you make.
Setting up your workspace can also create a calming presence as you’re in control of your environment. Part of that control is being ready and willing to use software applications on-the-fly. There might come a time when you’ll need to screen share, so make sure you have the relevant materials and software already pulled-up.
5 – Check audio and lighting
Make sure that your audio is clear and that your desk is in a well-lit room. It’s not the wisest choice to do the interview in low lighting, or by contrast, shoot the discussion while you’re directly in front of a window.
Even on a relatively cloudy day, the change in lighting can be noticeably distracting. If the natural light is going to be unpredictable, then going artificial is the best route. Small and inexpensive tools like ring-lights and common room lighting can lead to a shot like this on a higher quality webcam.
Another quick tip is to avoid filming in front of brightly painted, colorful walls. Video streaming software may magnify the brightness of your background and make you look awkward by comparison. Not many people know that light can reflect off walls and cause a lens flare in some cases.
6 – Check (and re-check) your appearance
While it’s fun to work in your pajamas all day, it’s not the best plan for a remote interview. Pick out your clothing as you would for an in-person interview – although you should still be yourself.
Also, be careful not to overdress as if you’re going out to a gala dinner. Think business-casual: well-groomed, energetic, and happy.
Ideally, you wouldn’t show up to an interview with your hair unkempt and dress in a T-shirt and blue jeans. The truth is that online we make judgments about people based on appearance, the “look” they present to the camera.
So to get in the interviewing mindset, dress the part, and you’ll ace it.
7 – Do a dry run first
Try performing a test run with a free version of the software to ensure that there are no updates or plug-ins that you’ll need for the call. This step will also allow you to see what you look and sound like on camera.
You can try to use different software platforms and note the differences. You might find that Google Meet is too elementary for your taste, and Zoom would be better. Still, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also test your video stream with applications you don’t think you’ll use. Zoom has an amazing free resource for you to test your calls.
Try doing a mock interview with a friend, and see how the video stream comes out in various software. Your mobile device might provide a more stable stream than the stream through a web browser. After a few dry runs, you might start to appreciate Google Meet more and change your mind.
During the interview
8 – Be calm, cool, collected, and present your best self
This tip is the most challenging for those of us without a silver tongue. Sales are all about building relationships and communicating messages to grow the business.
Speak naturally and slower than you usually would. Make a conscious effort to do it because it really does take practice to get it right.
When we’re nervous on camera, we tend to rush our words before we lose the thought. Slowing down the cadence of your speech is a time-tested trick that modern actors use to this day.
9 – Expect WiFi issues but don’t panic when they happen
Stay calm, stay ready, and know that this happens all the time. But if the issue is consistent, offer to drop from the video stream to conserve bandwidth.
Even if you have the strongest WiFi on the market and the fastest laptop, the cloud may not cooperate – and it usually waits for the worst possible time, like a lucrative job interview.
The bottom line is that we’re all still getting used to so much video chatting, especially the meeting software apps themselves. If they provide it, having the call in number as a fallback is a good safety net if the connection makes the call impossible to proceed.
Overall, those are the top nine ways to get ready for a remote job interview, but we’d like to add an exclusive bonus tip for our graduates.
** Bonus Tip **
10 – Ask questions that are specific to remote work to stand out from other applicants.
At Uvaro, we remain committed to your success after you graduate from our program.
We’ve seen the following questions steer the interview to where you want it to go: your strengths, education, and skills!
- Does this job role require a fixed number of hours?
- Will specific tasks require me to stay late or be online during off-hours?
- How does the team communicate with each other?
- Are there regularly scheduled meetings?
- How do you deal with different time zones?
- What communication and collaboration software does the team mainly use?
- Are there formal and informal methods of communication to know?
- Is there a home office equipment budget?
- What’s your remote onboarding process like?
- Will there be travel required after the pandemic ends, such as training or team get-togethers?
In the end, the fun part of remote job interviews is learning about the employer while presenting your best self online. So enjoy!