Remote interview techniques and tips

Remote interviews via Zoom, Teams or Skype really can be the best of both worlds — you still get the chance to be face-to-face with a potential employer  – but you don’t have the stress of travelling or finding a location as well.

A photo of a remote interview

Whilst many of the skills needed in a conventional interview are the same, the etiquette surrounding a remote interview is different from both in-person and phone interviews. Here are some key tips to help you rock that interview and get that job.

  1. Look at your camera or webcam and not the screen.
    Don’t be tempted to look at yourself or your interviewer during a remote interview. You should look directly at the camera – that way you will maintain direct eye contact with your interviewer.
  2. Dress for success.
    When preparing yourself, treat a remote interview like an in-person interview and dress professionally from head to toe. You will feel better and more professional – looking the part will probably be expected.
  3. Prepare your surroundings.
    Chose a quiet place for your interview where you have good internet access. Try not to have anything too distracting in the background – this will keep you as the focal point on the screen. Remove anything distracting behind you and try to keep it neutral.
  4. Practice makes perfect.
    Having a “mock” interview with an adviser or a friend beforehand is helpful because you may feel self conscious or awkward, especially if you have to retrain yourself to watch the camera and not the screen. Have a test run of everything beforehand – the volume and sound, practice what you’re going to say etc – so that when it’s interview time, you can be more confident and come across as well-prepared and polished.
  5. Close all the other programmes on your computer.
    Before your interview, make sure all other programmes or windows on your computer are closed (especially if they make a noise). Getting notifications during your interview is distracting and unprofessional. Also, like an in person interview, turn your phone off or on silent.
  6. Use notes – but with caution.
    Its OK to use some notes or have a copy of your CV to hand during the interview. This is a benefit of a remote interview – you can have a sheet in front of you so you don’t forget to mention certain important things.  However, don’t use the notes as a script to read out. An interviewer won’t be impressed if they can see you are reading.  Having notes is good – but use them sparingly.  You can also prepare a couple of questions to ask – usually at the end of your interview, just like in-person.
  7. Avoid interruptions.
    If your interview is at home with other people/ children/ animals around, make sure you let everyone in the house know ahead of time that you will be in an interview. Make sure pets can’t come into the room. It’s not professional to have to deal with or apologise for interruptions.
  8. Keep your profile professional.
    A bit like your email address, your username and even a picture may be the first things the interviewer will see, so double check that they are appropriate (or create a separate professional account!)
  9. Watch your body language.
    Body language is still really important in remote interviews. Try and sit with good posture and relax your shoulders to avoid stiffness. Practice.
  10. Avoid technical problems
    Nothing is more frustrating than only catching every other word a person is saying, so be sure to have a run through with the sound/ audio ahead of time to make sure you can both hear and be heard without difficulty.
  11. Make sure the interviewer is engaged.
    If you’re talking at length, pause every once in a while and make sure your interviewer is engaged in what you are saying. The interviewer may also be distracted by other things on their screen – this will take direct attention away from you.
  12. Follow up!
    A thank-you email is just as important after a remote interview as it is after an in-person interview. Avoid following up remotely though, unless the interviewer requests it.

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