Top tips for a successful remote interview
With ‘the new normal’ in full swing, lots of people are having to venture into the uncharted territory of conducting an interview over video call.
But there’s no need to worry, with just a few preparations you can make sure your interview runs smoothly and gives you the opportunity to showcase your skills and enthusiasm.
Here’s our top tips on how to perfect the most important elements of a remote interview.
It’s important to ensure that you have a location with a good internet connection and a computer or lap top with a webcam.
Specifically however you will need:
- An internet connection with bandwidth speed of at least 1 megabits per second.
- A laptop or desktop computer with a webcam. In some cases, a tablet or smartphone may also be an option.
- Headphones with a built-in microphone or headphones and a separate microphone.
- A quiet, private and well-lit place where you won’t be interrupted by other people, pets or noises. Position your webcam so that you have a neutral background that’s free from distractions. Avoid coffee shops and other communal spaces.
What to wear:
You should dress professionally, your onesie isn’t going to cut it. The same way you would for a face to face interview ensure you are dressed to suit our culture (business casual – no tie needed)
Avoid very bright colours and patterns.
While it’s likely that the interviewer will only see your upper half, it’s still a good idea to wear professional pants or a skirt in case you need to stand up for any reason.
Video interview body language:
Eye contact is very important during a face to face interview, and you want to convey that same level of connection during a video interview.
Avoid the instinct to look directly at your interviewer on the screen while you’re answering a question. Instead, when you speak, you want to direct your gaze at the webcam. When you do this, your eyes are more likely to align with the interviewer’s eyes on the other end. When you’re listening, you can look back at the screen.
Throughout the interview, keep your mood upbeat and convey optimism with your body language. One way to achieve this is to have good posture. Sit in your chair with your back straight and your shoulders open. Feet can be planted on the floor and arms can rest in your lap or on the desk.
When you’re listening, nod and smile when appropriate to communicate that you’re giving them your full attention. Use hand gestures when it feels appropriate as you would during a face to face interview.
Practice and tech set up:
To get used to the technology and the body language of a video interview, it’s useful to do some practice video calls with friends or family members. Ask them to give you candid feedback about your appearance and eye contact. Run through it a few times until things start to feel natural.
This practice can make all the difference in your interviews. Set aside time in your schedule in the weeks and days leading up to your interview—you’ll find your confidence growing as you become more comfortable in front of the camera.
On the day of your interview, review this checklist as you’re setting up:
- Ensure that you won’t be interrupted, either by locking the door or by alerting others that you can’t be disturbed (a note on the door of the room as well as the door to the outside may be helpful).
- Clear the desk space, except for a notepad and pen/pencil for you to take notes.
- Have a copy of your CV and any other notes ready for you to reference.
- Set out a glass or bottle of water for yourself.
- Check that your webcam is working.
- Check that your audio is working.
- Close any windows, tabs or applications on your computer that you’re not using.
- Check your internet connection and make sure you’re not downloading anything in the background.
- Set your phone to silent.
- Check that the background behind you is neutral and free from clutter.
- Adjust the lights in the room. If things appear dark or dim, you may want to bring in an extra desk lamp to brighten the space.
If things go wrong:
With technology, there’s always a chance things could go wrong. Here are some backup plans to have ready just in case.
If your video or audio stops working:
Before the interview, ask the interviewer for a phone number where you can reach them if you experience technical difficulties. If the video cuts out, don’t panic, it happens, call them at that number. Ask if you can continue the interview by phone or if you can reschedule.
If noise interrupts the conversation:
If noises (sirens, construction, etc.) interrupt your video interview, apologise for the interruption and ask for a few moments until the noise has subsided. You may want to mute the microphone if the noise is severe.
If someone enters the room unexpectedly:
Try not to worry too much. We’ve all become the BBC Dad in recent months. However if family members, housemates or pets enter the room while you’re interviewing, just apologise, ask for a few moments, mute your microphone and turn off your camera, and then step away to deal with the interruption.
Remember to prepare your questions in advance, do your prep on the company you are interviewing for, what they do and how they do it, re-read the role profile and most importantly try to relax and enjoy it.
Equilibrium are currently hiring so please do get in touch if you’d like to find out more.