INSIDE: Looking for some tips for a remote interview? In this article, you'll learn common questions that are asked, how to present yourself in a remote setting, how to make a great first impression, and some video interview tips. Good luck to you!
I won’t lie. Interviews can be a drag, maybe even more for those seeking a remote job. Being offered a work-from-home position can be a long process.
It may require several interviews with several companies. If it’s your first time down this road, you may not be familiar with the hiring process or the technology involved in a remote interview.
The good news is that this isn’t new. Companies have been conducting interviews remotely for many years now.
The process is typically streamlined and you may find yourself in and out in no time. You may even find yourself enjoying the remote job interview process a lot more than the traditional route!
Benefits of a remote interview
Very few people truly enjoy being interviewed. It’s a stressful event for most. Remote interviews, however, do come with a few benefits:
Oftentimes, remote interviews are compressed. This means less time in the interview.
Many candidates feel less pressure in virtual interviews compared to in-person interviews.
Many candidates feel more relaxed being interviewed at home compared to traveling to an unfamiliar office.
Now let's look at my best tips for a remote interview…
Common questions asked
There is likely an interview question or two you have heard again and again as a job seeker:
- Why do you want this job?
- Why should we hire you?
- What is your greatest strength?
- What's your greatest weakness?
- Where do you see yourself five years from now?
- Describe a difficult situation at work and how you handled it.
- What do you do in your spare time?
It may seem silly that so many companies ask these same questions during the job interview process, but your answers – or non-answers – can actually provide them with quite a bit of insight. They are not only looking for how you answer, but if you answer.
Have you really thought about how you would fit into this role? Have you truly prepared for this interview by contemplating answers to questions you know will come up?
How to present your skills and abilities in a remote interview
One common complaint I have heard from remote hiring managers over the years is that many applicants spend all of their interview time explaining why they want to work from home instead of what qualifies them to work from home. (Here are some good answers for why you want to work from home.)
As much as we would sometimes like it to, the desire to work from home is not a skill. It doesn’t make you a more appealing applicant than the next guy in line for an interview.
Therefore, one of the best tips for a remote interview I can give you is to understand how important it is to lay out your skill set in advance. Take ample time to prepare for your interview, preferably before you even have one lined up, to write down what you can bring to the remote work table.
Make a list of your abilities – all of them. Then, no matter what company comes calling to advance your application to the next step, you are already ahead of the game. Pull out your list and make a point to highlight the skills applicable to that particular job during the interview.
The best way to present your competency is through examples:
- You may be great at working independently. Think of a time when you did that exceptionally well.
- If interviewing for a customer service-related remote position, you will likely need to provide an example of a time you de-escalated a difficult situation.
- Perhaps you are a fast typist. How fast?
- Are you skilled in particular software applications? Have you taken any online courses?
- Does the job involve marketing? Can you explain a successful marketing campaign you have conducted?
A list of words is useless unless you can back it up. And nothing is more stressful than being asked to provide examples of past work experiences during an interview and coming up blank. Be prepared to present your skills and abilities in a straightforward manner.
Tips for making a great first impression
This is one of the easiest tips for a remote interview because it just involves getting prepared ahead of time. Just do the following…
Be on time
If there’s one quick and easy test to take you out of the running as a potential candidate it’s showing up late or being a “no show” to an interview.
This happens so often in the remote work world. And it’s not just a poor reflection on you but on the industry as a whole.
It's simple: Be on time.
If you can’t be on time, relay that information to the interviewer in advance if at all possible. If you miss the interview, you may not get a second chance.
Have a few questions for the interviewer
At the end of almost every interview you are asked, “Do you have any questions for me?” Most people say no even if they have questions. Set yourself apart. Have a few questions. This shows you have researched the position and the company and are truly interested in working with them.
You don’t have to make things too complicated. Have two or three questions prepared. For example:
- What do you expect from your remote team?
- How does a typical day look for your employees/contractors?
- What are the next steps in the interview process?
- Do you have any performance metrics in place?
- What is your favorite part of working with this company?
Have a positive attitude
As far as tips for a remote interview go, this one probably seems like, duh!
But a remote work job search can take a lot longer than finding a local job. This may feel like your 100th interview without an offer. But, it’s so important to keep your attitude upbeat. No one is hiring Debbie Downer.
That hiring manager can’t tell the difference between a bad day and a bad personality. Leave the negativity in the next room.
Speaking of negativity, leave the bad reviews of your last employer in the next room as well. Badmouthing prior employers can damage your credibility.
It’s okay to say things like you are looking to take on more responsibility or you would like to change career paths. Leave out the personal details and dirty laundry. You don’t want to look like trouble.
Don't follow these tips for a remote interview and then forget to follow up.
When the interview is over, follow up by email. Thank the potential employer for their time and let them know you look forward to hearing from them.
Video interview tips
No article on tips for a remote interview would be complete without this section because many potential employers today are conducting interviews by video instead of conducting a simple phone interview.
Platforms like Zoom have made virtual interviews easier than ever and companies are jumping at the opportunity to get more insight into applicants.
This may be good news or bad news for you. Perhaps you feel more comfortable speaking with someone face to face. If being able to see who you are talking to gives you confidence, video interviews will be right up your alley.
On the other hand, you have a few other things to consider and get prepared. For example, your workspace or surroundings. If the background during your interview looks like utter chaos, this may give the impression that you will be a hot mess as a remote employee.
Your surroundings matter
Take a look around where you plan to conduct your interview. Make sure your background looks orderly and professional. A blank wall is better than piles of clothing on the floor or a counter full of dirty dishes and food containers.
What you're wearing matters
You should also consider how you are presenting yourself.
Yes. Working in your pajamas sounds like a wonderful lifestyle, but it isn’t how you should come to an interview. Shower. Get dressed. A big grievance of many companies contracting telecommuters is that they don’t take the job seriously.
You should hold yourself to the same standards working remotely as you would going to the office. Would you show up there looking like you just rolled out of bed?
Well, there you have it! As long as you follow these tips for a remote interview, you should be able to nail that job you're drooling over. Plus, you'll feel more confident and less anxious going into it.