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15 Remote Interview Tips - For Applicants and Recruiters

Updated on Jan 28, 2021 3978 views
15 Remote Interview Tips - For Applicants and Recruiters

Remember when you were searching for remote jobs? Now, your hustle has paid off. You have been shortlisted. The next step is your interview.

Remote job interviews differ from on-site interviews in the sense that there is no one-on-one interaction. The entire remote job interview process is done electronically (video and phone interview ).

Given that there is currently a global pandemic, more companies are incorporating remote work and subsequently, remote interviews (for those hiring).

If you are new to this work and interview model, you may encounter difficulties and/or be unsure of what to do. Do not fret. This article was written with the newbie to the world of remote job interviews in mind. It also caters to the hiring managers of remote jobs. The remote job interview tips for both applicants and employers are listed below:

Read also: How to Find a Remote Job

For Applicants

As a job applicant for a remote role, there are certain steps you should take before, during, and after your remote job interview. Here are some of the remote job interview tips that would help you land your dream remote job.

Before the Remote Interview

1. Know the Interview Channel

This seems very apparent. The hiring manager should provide contact details and also inform you of the channel the interview will be held (would it a phone interview? A video interview? If it is a video interview, what video application would be used? Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, etc.? Make sure you know the interview time well before the slated date.

When this is provided, you should go create an account (if you haven’t). And if you already have an account, you should ensure your account is professionally presenting. Your account name should be your government name; your profile picture is not vulgar and so on.

Besides, if for some reason you cannot make use of the application the hiring manager chose, you can communicate this clearly to them and include the channels you prefer in the message.

2. Ensure Your Time Zone Corresponds

 Now you know the date and interview channel for your remote job interview, have you confirmed the slated time and if it corresponds with your time zone?

A good number of companies hiring remotely do so internationally. So, you must confirm the time zone of the interview and see if it matches yours.

Even if you are in the same locale as the organization, do not assume that the interviewer is also there. State your time zone clearly using the specific terminology (know the difference from UTC, GMT, or your interviewer’s time zone.

Further reading: 10 Best Remote Side Hustle Ideas

3. Choose your location wisely

You may tend to downplay the importance of location during a remote job interview since it literally is remote i.e. can be held anywhere, but the location of your remote interview can make or break it. So, choose your location wisely.

This is especially important if it is a video interview. Is the place conducive? How is the lighting? Is it noisy? Can you sit comfortably? Standing throughout an interview process is not ideal.

Make sure you practice before the actual remote job interview. Clean up the interview area and make sure it is well ventilated to prevent stuffiness from occurring during the remote job interview process. Check if the camera (phone, laptop, or whatever device) frames your face properly. Do angle and sound checks also.

If you would be making any presentation, upload the document(s) on your device to prevent clumsiness and ensure a smooth sail of the remote job interview process.

4. Test Your Device

As advanced technologies are, mistakes still occur. Ensure you test your remote interview device(s) before the actual interview.

Run a test on your webcam or phone. See if it is properly connected to the internet and if you need to silence any alarms or notifications.

Also, ensure you do a sound check. Try out your microphone to see if picks up any surrounding noise.

Remember that noise interruption can derail a remote job interview, although it is negligible during an in-person interview.

5. Look the Part

Typically, a video interview only captures your face and your upper body. This, however, is no excuse for you to dress shabbily or casually. You must look the part during a remote job interview.

This is for a couple of reasons. One, the hiring manager is not blind. As much as they would be seeing you in person, they still would be able to make out some parts of you and you would not make a great first impression by showing up for your remote interview in a wife beater.

So, do not assume that the interviewer would not care about your appearance because you are at home.

Likewise, dressing up properly for your remote job interview contributes to the interview process. It can help put you in the interview mood, lift your spirits and reinforce your confidence as dressing up nice helps you feel good.

Read more: Remote Work Resources

During the Remote Job Interview

Once you’ve prepared adequately for your remote job interview with the above-stated tips, the next is thing is to ease into the main thing - the interview process. With the following tips, your remote job interview will go smoothly.

6. Be Confident

During the remote job interview, and frankly, any interview process or model, you have to be confident. Confidence is key for any workplace interaction, in fact. So, imbibe it now.

It is totally normal to be nervous and have fears. It would odd if you do not feel some level of unease when interviewing, but is important to manage it adequately.

Take deep breaths before the remote interview to calm your nerves, make sure you drink enough liquid to prevent dehydration. Use power poses, smile when appropriate to ease tension, visualize yourself as successful and son.

7. Avoid Distractions

Normally, distractions come up when you are miles away from the person you are communicating with, which is why it is important to avoid distractions as much as possible, or at the very least, reduce them.

This is especially so for video interviews. A catchy message notification can pop up at any time and divert your attention. You may, in fact, be drawn to your own reflection on the video small screen.

Make sure your eyes are focused on the interview. This does not translate to starring at them all through without blinking. This would most likely result in them thinking you are creepy or weird.

It means centering your attention on them. Turning off notifications and/or setting your device to ‘do not disturb’ help prevent message pop-ups. Blocking your reflection on the small screen with tape or sticky notes can also help.

8. Keep Your Resume Close-by

As you would during an in-person interview, make sure you keep your resume close-by during a remote job interview, also.

Do not assume that a hard copy of your resume is not necessary during a remote job interview and that you can easily access it on your device. Note, shuffling between tabs can be distracting and make you appear ill-prepared and unserious.

The ease of picking up the hard copy of your resume and the appearance of being hardworking and professional it adds can be a deciding factor in you being chosen.

Further reading: How To Write a Resume That Screams 'Hire Me'

9. Be Prepared To Answer Remote-related Questions

For many organizations, remote work is a relatively new phenomenon. So, they are extra careful when interviewing for remote openings. This is why you need to be prepared to answer remote-related questions during your interview.

Common Remote Interview Questions

a) Do You Have Any Experience in Working Remotely 

The most obvious question is ‘do you have any experience working remotely’. This is because recruiters love to see if you are armed with enough experience to handle working with them.

This is especially true for remote work, where a lot of discipline, self-motivation, and dedication are needed for success and you may not know if remote work is suitable for you if you haven’t tried it.

Experience working remotely says a lot. If you have demonstrated a history of taking care of the difficulties of remote work, you will be more likely to be chosen.

Nonetheless, everyone starts from somewhere. If you do not have any form of remote work experience, do not lie about it.

b) Why Do You Want To Work Remotely?

The hiring manager is typically curious as to why you want to work remotely. They want to gauge if your reasons for desiring are genuine and fit into the company’s vision.

Possibly you're more resourceful at home, where there is less interruption. Maybe your career choice is niche and you live in an area where there aren't numerous opportunities in your field, or you need to drive a significant distance to get to them. Perhaps it's not working remotely that is particularly dear to you; it's working for that specific organization that energizes you.

c) How Will You Set Up Your Home Office?

So, you have impressed the hiring manager with your remote work experience and reason(s) for doing so. Next is to convince that you are capable. One main way for them to know is to ask ‘how will you set up your home office?” or any of its variants.

The organization needs to know whether you've genuinely pondered the logistics of telecommuting. Clarify how you work and why that functions for you. Accentuate how your arrangement makes you a beneficial, proficient, and dependable employee if chosen.

d) How Will You Communicate With Your Colleagues Effectively? 

Communication is fundamental for all groups; however, it assumes an especially significant part when employees in an organization do not work in the same physical building. The hiring manager will want to know you will communicat6e effectively with your colleagues.

Now is the time to show off your communication and collaboration skills.

See also: Top 100 Interview Questions and Answers

After the Remote Job Interview

This is, perhaps, the most straightforward part of the process. It is also not compulsory, although it is recommended.

10. Send a Thank You Letter as a Follow-up

 You should send a ‘thank you’ letter as a follow-up to your interview because it shows good manners and reinforces your appreciation of the hiring manager’s conduct.

It also serves as a reminder and helps reinforce your interest in the role. It is a way of pursuing the role without coming off as desperate.

For remote job interviews, the process of sending thank-you letters is hassle-free as you don’t need to physically submit your letter or start a new communication chain.

Sending a thank you letter via email is a great and expected form of job interview follow-up from someone whose means of connecting to the workplace is electronic.

Note: ‘Thank you’ letters as a follow-up measure is not limited to remote work applicants.


For Hiring Managers

1. Adequate Preparation is Key

As a hiring manager, you may want to overlook preparing for an interview exercise, since it is something have done many times before. This is not always so, especially not for remote work where adequate preparation is key.

Inform the applicant of the remote interview details. Tell them who will initiate the call, what channel you’ll use, the interview time, and as well as the names and titles of any other people who may be joining the interview.

Communication is the bedrock of adequate preparation for the remote interview.

Read: Remote Recruitment Guide for Recruiters

2. Test Your Interview Device

Making sure your device is in excellent shape for the interview is important as a hiring manager. Although you are the one judging the capability of the applicant (a huge part of this is their professionalism), it would be very unprofessional for you to have line breakages during the remote interview.

One main way to curb this is to test your interview device. Check your webcam, microphone, and internet connection. Make sure your login information is correct and try connecting a little while before the interview process.

3. Reduce Distractions

Make sure you reduce all distractions before starting any interview – remote or otherwise. It is not proper for you to conduct a remote interview in a noisy environment.

It also does not speak well of you as a hiring manager if notifications and alerts keep interrupting the interview.

In addition, if you are prone to pacing, try to limit it during an online interview. If you’re constantly shifting or walking around, you can make it difficult for the other person(s) to pay attention.

4. Dress Properly

Typically, appearing professional for a remote interview is sold to applicants, with hiring managers being ignored. However, as a hiring manager you should dress properly during a remote interview as not only can the applicant also see you, but you are also a representative of the organization.

Looking unkempt paints a bad image of the company and makes you look unprofessional.

5. Be Attentive

If you are conducting an interview, it is essential that you be attentive to the applicant and pay close attention to what they say, and what they do not say - their appearance, body language, and so on.

You should also be seen as paying attention. Avoid interrupting the candidates and pause at the end of sentences or after asking a question. Look directly at the camera when you’re speaking, avoid starring at your reflection on the small screen, nod in acknowledgment, and smile, etc.

Ensure you close the interview properly. Ask the applicants if they have any questions and tell them if and how the company will reach out to them (for another round of interviews, tests, or an employment/rejection).

Lastly, thank them for their time, and remember that although the interview maybe not be in-person, you still owe it to your company to conduct yourself in a way that portrays it well.

Want to get your dream job? Read 72 Hours to the Job You Love now! 


Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

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