Remote Work & Culture

How to Own Your Remote Interview

Remote interviews – regardless if the job you’re applying for is 100% virtual or not – have become a more common practice for employers looking to add a new team member. Although the setting is different from an in-person interview, it’s important for candidates to remember that many of the same rules apply.

As a remote-first, but not remote-only, company, we’ve experienced our fair share of e-interviews. With that in mind, here’s some advice to help you ace your next remote interview:

Be cautious of virtual interview scams. 

Always play it safe when someone reaches out to you via email or social media (such as LinkedIn). If you have a gut feeling that something isn’t right, research the company and ask around!

Pick out your business attire outfit the night before. 

Even though this interview will be done in the comfort of your own home (or favorite coffee shop), it’s essential that you look professional. 

Prepare your setup. 

Make sure you will be sitting in front of a solid-colored, light, distraction-free background (even if it’s a partition wall) with minimal backlighting. The focus should be on you, not a busy background. 

Get comfortable with your technology. 

Check to see that the necessary software or application is downloaded to your computer and/or integrated into your desktop. Often, the tool the interviewer will be using is referenced in the digital invitation they send you. And the best part? Many of these tools have a practice mode! So you can log in, send the practice room link to your spouse or best friend, and run through a mock interview.

Schedule child care plans in advance. 

Obviously, a big challenge to spouse employment is the lack of available, affordable child care. If you have children and want to prevent them from running around like wild banshees in the background and distracting you, ask a neighbor or friend for help. Even if it’s only for 15-30 minutes, you’ll be glad you did!

Prepare a question or two to ask the interviewer. 

Familiarize yourself with the company and jot down something you’re curious about. It could be the organization’s culture or a particular core value. Even if the person interviewing you doesn’t ask if you have any questions, asking a question shows that you are interested in the company and eager to learn more. 

Log on and “join” the meeting before the official interview time. 

You would likely arrive a few minutes early to an in-person interview with copies of your resume on hand, so you should treat this experience the same way. Allow yourself time to sit down at your remote interview space ten minutes before the scheduled time,just to take a few breaths and get focused. Then, click the login button five minutes early to ensure technology is on your side that day. (Hey, things happen!) You might be placed in a “waiting room” until the host (aka, interviewer) arrives, but at least you’ll be ready.

Accept and address any computer or Internet problems. 

If you experience any technical issues, don’t throw in the towel and ghost the interviewer! Instead, send them a quick message (via the same mode you’ve both been using – whether email, phone, or text) to inform them of the situation and any delay you may be experiencing. If you need to run over to Starbucks to use their WiFi or a neighbor’s house for a computer, do it! Life happens, and they’ll be appreciative of your commitment and quick thinking to still carry out the interview.

Be authentic. 

You’d be surprised at the things we’ve witnessed – harsh expressions, phone usage, the TV turned on, lack of eye contact, and so much more. That said, show up and be your best self. Share a smile, keep your eyes on the screen and your attention on the interviewer, and nod your head slightly throughout the conversation. You’ll convey that you’re engaged and interested in the opportunity!

Send a thank-you note via email within 24 hours. 

If you want to stand out from the crowd, writing a short and sweet message of appreciation to the interviewer for their time will help make a lasting impression. Keep it professional while expressing your enthusiasm for the position, a reminder of why you’d be a great fit, and something particular about your conversation that resonated with you. It’s a task that requires very little of your time, but makes a huge impact!

Feeling ready to land a remote interview and join one of our remote teams? Create an account today!

Editor’s note: This article was originally published 6/19/2019 and has been updated for content.