8 Steps to Nail a Job Interview Remotely
- You should go out of your way to find a mutual acquaintance to mention in your cover letter to grab the reader’s attention.
- Between resources such as LinkedIn, Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Meet, you can still reconnect with your existing contacts, or even meet new people in your chosen field or industry via virtual events.
- In addition to the usual research you’d do on the company, make sure you’re looking into what the firm is doing in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
- The crisis has made people more eager to connect on an emotional level and your interviewer may have a higher expectation about how much warmth you convey during the interview.
Are you facing a job search right now and need tips to prepare for a remote job interview? You’re not alone. Regardless of your current situation, looking for a job now — amidst hiring freezes and layoffs — will be different than it was a few months ago. But how different and does the usual advice still apply? Well, I put together a few tips to help you prepare and nail a remote job interview.
Network Like There’s No Tomorrow
Now, more than ever, getting a job in this climate will be about who you know. When hiring managers are faced with a stack of resumes or portfolios, they’re going to be looking for some kind of familiarity. You should post on social media that you’re looking for your next opportunity and describe what talents you’d bring to a future employer.
Thanks to modern technology, networking while under quarantine has never been easier. Between resources such as LinkedIn, Zoom, FaceTime, and Google Meet, you can still reconnect with your existing contacts, or even meet new people in your chosen field or industry via virtual events.
Start with your first and second connections on LinkedIn and prioritize those who currently work or previously worked in the field, industry, or for a company that interests you. Send an email or InMail message, text, or call the person to touch base.
Brush up your resume and cover letter
Most of us probably have a little more downtime these days. Use some of it to update your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. While you’re at it, clean up your social media pages.
While updating your profiles, I would recommend adding remote-friendly keywords. Since many companies are now working remotely, it’s critical that you demonstrate to hiring managers your aptitude and experience when it comes to working from home.
I know, cover letters are a pain to write, but you still have to put together a darn good one if you want to be considered for a remote job interview. You should go out of your way to find a mutual acquaintance to mention in your cover letter to grab the reader’s attention. You might also want to highlight that you’ve worked in high-pressure environments before, since most companies’ priority right now will be weathering the crisis and will be looking for people who can contribute to that effort.
All Standard Rules Still Apply
Once you get asked to a remote job interview, remember the most important rule: just because you’re on video doesn’t mean you can slack off on your appearance! Dress one notch above what the company’s typical attire is. Put your work shoes on, it might seem strange to wear your shoes during a video interview, but it has an important psychological effect on you.
Don’t forget to wear solid colors, as stripes and complex patterns can look awful on video. And yes, wear your suit pants and not your comfy Hawaiian shorts with your collared shirt and suit jacket. You may not think the camera will see your legs, but if you need to get up for any reason during the interview, it will be awkward—to say the least.
Find a Neutral Background
Careful attention to your background is absolutely crucial! A bedroom with a sloppy bed, a home office full of clutter, a kitchen table … all of these connote information about you to the interviewer, none of it good. It’s not only unprofessional, but it also distracts the interviewer, who’ll be busy analyzing your dirty laundry instead of listening to what you have to say.
Set yourself up against a completely blank background (one that doesn’t clash with your shirt). If you’re struggling to find a professional backdrop, try setting up a folding table near a neutral wall or corner.
It should also go without saying that this is absolutely not the time for your favorite virtual background or any type of filter.
Make Sure You Know The Company’s crisis response
In addition to the usual research you’d do on the company, make sure you’re looking into what the firm is doing in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Try to get the latest information. Things have changed so rapidly and you may have applied for the job a few months ago. Make sure you’re as conversant as possible. Check their website, any newsletters, and social media feeds — up to and including the day of the interview.
Go into the interview with a positive mindset
Remember that during the interview, you won’t be getting the same level of non-verbal information from the interviewer. When we don’t get feedback, we think “this isn’t going well.” So experiment ahead of time with staying positive and assuming the best is happening. You might have a mantra you tell yourself when you start to doubt your performance. Or you might sit quietly for five minutes before the interview starts and mentally review all the reasons the interview is likely to go well.
Exaggerate your emotions a bit on screen
For the same reason, you want to practice being emotive during the interview. Unless you have a sophisticated set of earphones, the audio gets compressed and you lose many of the undertones, which convey emotions. You might record yourself answering a few sample questions and watch how you appear. But don’t do this if you’ll just focus on everything you’re doing wrong. Again, you don’t want to make yourself so self-conscious that it hinders your performance.
Lastly, Convey warmth during the interview
The crisis has made people more eager to connect on an emotional level and your interviewer may have a higher expectation about how much warmth you convey during the interview. Make sure you follow the lead of the interviewer on small talk, but it may be appropriate to ask the interviewer how they and their loved ones are doing right now. And you should have a good response prepared for the same question should it come back to you.