The art of the remote interview

Lockdowns and travel restrictions in 2020 have resulted in the hiring process relying heavily on remote interview processes, with many organisations indicating that they will continue to interview this way even after the pandemic eases. While it can be more convenient to be interviewed via video from the comfort of your own home, it can still massively help or hinder your application based on your performance. Here are some tips for giving your remote interview that winning edge.

Dress for the occasion

A video interview is still an interview so you do everything you can to look as smart and professional as possible. While it is often tempting to only dress smartly from the waist up, as that is all that will be visible on camera, there is a lot to be said about getting yourself in a positive, fully focused mindset. The more you can get yourself in the same mindset as you would if you were going to face to face interview the more professional you will come across. Dressing fully as if you were going to such an interview can help you to achieve that.

Lighting, sound and positioning

You want to ensure that you are in a well-lit room with as little noise and distraction as possible. Try to have any light source either above you or facing you. Practice with your own camera to find out what works best for you. If possible try different rooms to see what gives you the best results. It may be that one room suits morning interviews whereas another suits afternoon ones due to light and acoustics. Also try to position your camera at eye level. If you are using a home office space and PC it is likely that the camera is already almost at eye level. However, if you are using a laptop, tablet or phone the likelihood is that when the camera is operated you are looking down at it. Having the camera at eye level frames you better on the screen and also creates a much more direct and engaging angle, and helps you to sit more upright rather than in a leaning or slouched position. Also consider your background when finding somewhere suitable to sit. A jumble of clutter over your shoulder might give a negative impression, whereas a bookcase or tidy shelves will come across much better. If in doubt, use a plain wall.

Test connectivity

Despite your best efforts to look the part, poor connectivity can really distract and even result in you cutting out and not coming across clear and concise. All the leading video sharing tools allow you to test video and audio connectivity prior to joining the scheduled meeting. If you are having connectivity issues there are a couple of things you can do to improve this. Where possible connecting via Ethernet rather than WiFi can create a more stable connection. Also, try temporarily disconnecting other devices that are using the internet at the same time such as mobiles and smart devices.

Use your environment

One major advantage you have in interviewing remotely is that the interviewers can only see you and not your surroundings. This enables you to use your environment to help you to remember key facts, dates, statistics that you wish to get across during your interview. In a face to face interview, you would have to rely on either your memory or take numerous notes with you to refer to. While this is not unprofessional at all and can be a demonstration of your detailed research and preparation for an interview. Place notes and reminders at eye level on the wall behind the camera or around the camera so that you can quickly refer to them when required. Keep it to pivotal dates, statistics or a particular statement that you are keen to get across during the interview.

Always log on early

Just as you would leave early to get to a face to face interview allowing yourself time should there be travel hold-ups, you should adopt the same approach with video interviews. You could be as prepared as possible only to find that your laptop has suddenly decided to download annual updates before starting. The platform that the client or recruiter has invited you to join might by having performance issues. Attempting to log in early will help you to be in a better position to come up with a contingency and still make the meeting on time. If the platform itself is the issue then don’t be afraid to contact the interviewer as it is likely that they are experiencing similar issues and can maybe provide you an alternative link to join.