Remote interviewing has taken center stage with employers who are looking to screen job applicants. It’s a trend that has been increasing in recent years but has escalated dramatically with COVID-19’s impact on being unable to travel for in-person interviews. Social distancing has quickly made virtual interviewing a recruiting staple so it’s to your benefit to master it.
One of the recurring themes I have experienced working with clients is the dramatic difference in the degree to which applicants prepare for remote interviews compared to its traditional in-person counterpart. With all the advantages of working form home (and looking for a new career should be considered a full-time job in itself), it can lull one into a self-defeating mode of relaxation. It’s impact is so gradual that you can’t even feel it creeping up until its impact is non-retractable and all the work that went into getting a remote interview opportunity is lost.
Every bit as much preparation should go into preparing for a remote interview as an in-person one, from preparing answers based on the job posting, demonstrating the value you bring, researching the company and its competitors, gathering your relevant achievements and success stories, checking out the LinkedIn profile of who is interviewing you to identify potential icebreakers, and rehearsing your responses so you don’t read from your notes but come across as relaxed, confident, and in control.
Here’s where the rubber meets the road: “traveling” to the interview. Working remotely can cause one to over relax critical interview elements like “working the interview room” and “dressing for success.” Though you are the center of attention during a remote interview, pay attention to what’s behind you. Be in a quiet location where family and pets won’t interrupt you and there are minimum distractions in terms of noise and clutter. Dress professionally top down. That means getting rid of the pajama bottoms because you think it doesn’t matter since they won’t be seen. While invisible to the viewer, you’d be surprised as to how it can subliminally sabotage your persona by making you over-relaxed and not attentive.
Do your housekeeping. Check your audio equipment, control the lighting, familiarize yourself with the remote interview platform you’ll be using, log in a few minutes before the scheduled start of the interview, look into the camera and not the screen, and put yourself fully and professionally into discovery mode throughout the interview making sure you close it out by asking about next steps.