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5 top remote interview tips

Do you have a remote interview coming up? The interview process for a new job is always a nerve-wracking time. But recently, more and more interviews have been held through video or audio calls. 

Remote interviews are offering businesses a safe way to hire while waiting to reopen their offices, but they might very well be here to stay. With remote working on the rise and companies adopting flexible space options, being comfortable with video or phone interviews is a crucial skill for the future.

So what do you need to know to ace your interview over Zoom? How do you still show passion and initiative? Where should you look? What should you wear? Will they mind your cat walking across the keyboard? 

If you are preparing for a virtual interview, we’re here to answer these all-important questions. Plus we’ve got tips to help you feel confident, comfortable, and capable on-screen.

1. Prepare yourself

A remote interview might feel quite odd and different, but at its core it is still the same process. That means it requires the same level of, or perhaps even slightly more, preparation. Kickstart your process with the following:

  • Research the company thoroughly, to get an idea of what they are looking for and what their culture is like. This may give you an indication of the kind of questions they will ask. 
  • Prepare your priority points. What are the 4 or 5 key things you want to communicate to your interviewer? What do you have to offer that will most appeal to this company? 
  • Prepare a few questions of your own that show your knowledge of and interest in the company. Perhaps a question about a recent client they worked with or how the role you are applying for will make an impact. 
  • Rehearse the interview with a friend or family member. Practise answering a wide variety of questions, and see whether you felt you were able to include all your priority points.

Print resources like these notes, your CV and cover letter. Being able to have these on hand, yet not obviously within view, of course, is one of the advantages of a remote interview. Should you need them to jog your memory or keep you on track, they can be on hand. Just ensure you do this subtly.

2. Prepare the tech

The next most important step is to prepare your tech! Do this at least a week before the interview, so you feel prepared and have had a chance to get to grips with any new apps or software.

  • Download and become familiar with any apps you need to use for the interview. It’s a good idea to practise a few calls, and even run a practice interview on the platform to make sure everything works seamlessly. (Also: make sure you’ve installed any required updates ahead of your interview date.)
  • Ensure your wifi connection is strong and stable. This will prevent any awkward moments for both you and the interviewer, plus you’ll be making the most of your time. 
  • Headphones are usually a good way to ensure the audio is free from distractions, so if you need to borrow or buy some for the day – it will be worth it!

3. On the day

The day of your interview can be a nerve-wracking time, but being fully prepared can really help boost your confidence. 

  • Remove any distractions (sorry, goodbye poster! You’ll be put back up later!), a white wall or fairly plain background is best. However, if that isn’t possible just try and keep it as tidy as possible. If you can, shut out any pets too. This will allow you to stay focused and keep your train of thought. 
  • Dress the part. Yes, that means even your pyjama bottoms need to go! By dressing the part you’ll be in a great headspace to perform well. Try and get an idea of the company culture from your research, but if in doubt a smart shirt never goes a miss. 
  • Think about lighting and height. You want to be well lit so that you can be seen clearly, and you’ll also want to make sure your laptop is at a good height. Level with your eyes is a good idea, rather than looking up or hunching over. 

4. Just before

15 minutes before the interview ensure you have the following: 

  • Have your resources printed and nearby in case you need them. A pen and paper is also going to come in handy, in case you want to make any notes.
  • Check your tech and wifi connection, and see if you need to request a link or simply wait for the call to come in. 
  • If on a video call put your smartphone away to avoid any noise or distraction, and close any other apps on your computer that might cause noise on your computer.
  • Breathe. Taking a few slow deep breaths does wonders for controlling nerves. It tells your body that you are safe and in control. Meaning you are much clearer and confident. Which you should be – you’ve got this!

5. During the remote interview

During the interview, try to remember the following:

  • Eye contact – whilst it’s tricky to manage this remotely, it’s always a good idea to stay focused on your interviewer. Zoom actually allows you to remove the view of yourself (practice this in your tech prep!) from your screen. Meaning you’ll be less inclined to check your hair!
  • Smile – Interviews can be understandably stressful, but don’t forget that this is a great opportunity. Whatever the outcome, you’ve done so well to get to this point, so try to enjoy yourself. If you are smiling, your interviewer will feel you are relaxed and confident too. 
  • Body language – It can be easy to forget the importance of body language when we are in a remote interview. So remember to sit upright and roll your shoulders back. Sitting in a relaxed, confident posture can actually help to keep you feel a lot better too, as it allows for better breathing.

After it’s done? Remember to be proud of yourself for all your hard work and effort. And remember that it’s always ok to ask for feedback if it doesn’t go your way.

Often, improving your education and skills in a given area can help your ability to successfully interview for the positions you’re most passionate about. Whether it’s enrolling in a professional communication course or earning extra qualifications in your chosen area.

Whatever you need, we’ve got flexible courses to help you get some of the best jobs in New Zealand. Online learning that’s affordable and accessible, helping you get more of those remote interviews and landing your dream career. 

Want to know how to boost your skills? Talk to our friendly team today

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