Rocking Your Remote Interview: What You Need To Know
Remote work is swiftly becoming mainstream professional culture. Within five years, more than half of office-based employees in the United States are expected to work remotely.
Aside from its numerous monetary and environmental benefits, there are many reasons to be grateful for this trend; chief among them is the fact that achieving a better work-life balance is now within your grasp.
Landing an interview for a remote role is exciting. It might be your first one. Still, you’re prepared. You’ve familiarized yourself with remote managers’ biggest concerns, and know how you can speak to each of them specifically. You know the lingo and are at a point where you feel comfortable discussing how you can contribute to a healthy remote culture.
Whether you’re moving up the remote work ladder or are hoping to land your very first virtual role, here are six steps to remote interview success:
1. Be upbeat.
Great interviews kick off on a positive note. That’s where you need to take things. For example, if you’re not a morning person but have an 8 a.m. conversation, set your alarm for at least two hours beforehand.
Grab some coffee or tea, take a shower, and get dressed. All the while (and this is really important), talk aloud to yourself. Tell yourself about your professional background, your accomplishments, and sprinkle in an amusing story or two about your working style.
By the time your interview begins, you’ll sound energetic and will probably have worked up a healthy dose of enthusiasm to go with it.
2. Stay hydrated.
A remote interview is not as fatiguing as a basketball game or a marathon, true. But you will likely be doing most of the talking, so a glass of water can mean the difference between a fluid response or choking on an answer.
Keep one near your laptop, but not near enough that it’ll get knocked over easily. Don’t gulp most of it down prior to the conversation, either; otherwise, you might be wishing you could hit pause and run to the bathroom at an inopportune moment.
3. Equip yourself.
Time is on your side, and you should allow at least 30 minutes to get settled in your interview location. Having the right equipment within arm’s reach will be critical; having a backup, like an extra headset, is an even smarter idea.
Test your gear out so you know that it works. Check your Internet connection, and move around if you encounter any issues.
Also, be sure to download the necessary VoIP software such as GoToMeeting*, Adobe Connect, or Skype if you don’t have it—and have the meeting link or other person’s handle ready for dialing.
4. Avoid “mullet outfits.”
What I mean here is, avoid any ensemble that combines business with super casual apparel. That’s right: your interview outfit should be the same thing you’d wear to an office, whether that’s a dark suit, business casual attire, or a funky screen-printed tee with a blazer.
While it may be tempting to rock those crazy flamingo pajama bottoms that others won’t see, just don’t. Similar to its 80s hairstyle namesake, the “mullet outfit” does no one any stylistic favors. For one, you never know if you’ll need to stand up while on video. Beyond that, your clothes do impact how you feel and behave. Why not feel like a consummate professional from head to toe?
5. Consider your (physical) background.
“Quick! Look behind you!” might sound like a line from a horror film, but it’s also relevant to remote work interviews. I covered this in an earlier post, and it bears repeating that you should look over your shoulder prior to a video call to see that your background is as professional in its appearance as you are.
Is your bookcase cluttered and messy, or organized enough to look presentable? Might someone else truly appreciate your vast Hello Kitty or LEGO collection?
If you have any doubt in your mind as to whether something behind you will be acceptable to your interviewer, switch venues and opt for a less kitschy setting.
6. Meet the Brady Bunch.
Once I was involved in a next-round job discussion with seven geographically distributed employees: my prospective colleagues and boss. I was about to enter a virtual conference room, of sorts, with seven different faces peering out from their own webcams. Watching, judging, listening. No big deal. I was ready; beforehand, I’d asked my primary interviewer whom I’d be chatting with and then did my homework.
By the time we kicked off, names, faces, and titles were vaguely familiar. I was able to respond to individual queries in a personable manner—despite not usually carrying out a single professional conversation with six onlookers—and could ask others role-specific questions.
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By Kristi DePaul | Categories: Work Remotely