It is a difficult time to be looking for a job at the moment, and you’ll likely apply for more jobs than usual while trying to find a new role. If you’ve done well enough to receive an invitation to interview, you’ll want to make sure you do everything you possibly can to allow it to fall in your favour.
Whether this is your first remote interview, or the latest in a line, it can be a nerve-wracking experience. But, by following these five easy steps you can give yourself your best chance of progressing to the next stage.
1. Dress for success
Remote interviews can feel more informal, but this doesn’t necessarily affect the dress code. Often, your invitation – or your recruiter – will indicate what you should wear, but if not it is better to lean towards a more formal outfit. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed when it comes to an interview.
If you’re told to dress casually, make sure you still choose clothes which are interview appropriate – clean, crease-free and inoffensive. Watch out for slogan t-shirts or anything which might raise a few eyebrows. Even if the working environment is casual, people tend to have different expectations during interviews, so it is best to err on the side of caution.
2. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
If you were attending a physical interview, you’d likely arrive a few minutes early to avoid being late and compose yourself before the meeting begins. This should be no different for a remote interview – find a quiet space with a neutral background and take a few minutes to centre yourself. Run through any notes you’ve made, get yourself a glass of water and make sure all of your tech tools are working properly.
We’ve witnessed some candidates get ‘interview fatigue’ recently, because they might have several interviews before finding a role. Make sure you fully prepare for each interview separately, by thinking about how your answers to certain questions may change for different companies and researching the role you’re applying for.
3. Don’t (just) talk about yourself
You only have a short time to make a good impression, so it can be tempting to wax-lyrical about all of your accomplishments and achievements, but this can be a mistake. Employers want to know the value you will add to the business, so you need to talk about your skills and experiences within the context of the new role.
This is also your opportunity to ask questions, which not only helps you, but also demonstrates your interest in and understanding of the business. The more you know about the company, the more relevant you can make your interview answers, so ask questions throughout and think of the experience as a conversation, rather than a chance to monologue.
4. Roll with it
Any number of interruptions can happen in a remote interview, no matter how prepared you are. As long as you have done the basic things – such as finding a quiet space and turning your phone off – your interviewer will understand if things don’t go totally to plan.
If something goes wrong, if you lose connection or your kids interrupt, don’t panic. Interruptions happen all the time in real life, so use this as an opportunity to show how you react when things don’t work out as planned. Keep a cool head, be patient in trying to establish a new connection or calmly ask your children to wait in another room until you are finished. A small unforeseen blip won’t be held against you – but your reaction to it could be if you don’t respond appropriately.
You’ve followed all of the above steps, you are as prepared as you possibly can be and you’ve thought about what to do if something goes wrong. In other words, you are ready. Try to remember that this is an opportunity for both you and the interviewer – it is your chance to secure a new role, and their moment to make a brilliant new hire.
Try to build a rapport with your interviewer by asking them how they are. This will help to put both of you at ease, allowing the conversation to flow. You’ve done everything you can to give you your best chance, so take a deep breath and try to relax. After all, this could be the start of something incredibly exciting.