Woman talking to camera and recording video with smartphone and ring light lamp at home

Remote interview 101 for jobseekers

Video interviews have become as common as remote working. It's easy and convenient for both parties as there is no need to travel to the location. This also makes sense when conducting the first round of interviews or in cases where the workplace is located in a different city or country.

You should prepare for a remote interview in the same way as for a normal job interview, i.e. you should be able to explain your work experience, your work habits and why you are interested in the job. However, there are also things you should take into account to ensure a smooth interview (and avoid embarrassing situations).

Environment and background

A neutral and calm environment and background will help the interviewer to focus on you. It's also a good idea to make sure that your phone is on silent, no unnecessary apps send notifications, and no one pops into your video in the middle of an interview. This will also communicate a professional image of yourself to the interviewer.

Lighting can sometimes be difficult, especially if natural light is not an option. It is worth trying out how different lighting looks in the interview room before the real interview and choosing the most natural one. The interviewer wants to see your face and good lighting helps to make it memorable.

The technology

Before a video interview, it's a good idea to make sure that the technology works and that you know how to use it properly. It is also possible that joining the interview from a computer will not work. You can prepare for this situation by having a phone as a fallback. There is no standard software for remote interviews, but the most common are Teams, Zoom and Google Meet.

By using headphones, you ensure that the sound doesn't travel around and disturb the interview. When you join a remote interview, make sure that your camera and microphone are switched on in the settings of the software you are using. Also check the speed of your internet connection and the power on your device. You can also keep your device charged during the interview. Also add your full name and profile picture to the platform where the interview will take place.

The computer camera should be set at eye level for best eye contact. If you are using a phone, you should place it in a supported horizontal position at eye level or use a tripod if possible. It is advisable to make a test call to a friend to check software functionality, camera placement, lighting and sound quality.

Eye contact and body language

Although the interview is not face-to-face, certain body language messages are conveyed. It is a good idea to observe posture, eye contact, tone of voice, facial expressions and gestures. Dress neatly for job interviews, so dress neatly for a remote interview. You can communicate motivation and a positive attitude remotely.

Also pay attention to clear articulation and speaking rate. Excessive accompanying the interviewer when speaking aloud should be avoided or at least done silently by nodding, otherwise it will interrupt the interviewer's speech. Remember that in case of technical difficulties, the interviewer may still be able to see and/or hear you, so do not lose your temper or use too strong language.

Progress and questions

For an interview, it is important that you can open and close the microphone and video connection without any problems and that you know how to send and receive texts and files. Have a glass of water handy and make sure your application letter and CV are ready to hand, in an easy-to-read format. As in a normal job interview, you will want to prepare with questions and you may be asked questions while the other person is talking. To do this, you can have a pen and paper ready so that there is no distracting noise when you use them. You can also tap the phone silently to take notes, but there is a risk that the interviewer will see the phone and think you are using it for something other than taking notes. Writing on paper may be visible during the remote call, but try to maintain eye contact with the interviewer.

Usually, at the beginning of a remote interview, the interviewer will tell you how the interview will proceed and when you can ask them questions. Questions are generally asked after the interviewer has told you about the job, the company, the job description and interviewed you. Remote interviews can sometimes have a more relaxed atmosphere and you can ask questions as they come up – but don't interrupt or talk over each other. Often people pause during their speech, you can politely ask your questions at this time.

There's no need to be nervous about a remote interview, as you'll be in your own comfortable environment. When you're in a good mood, it will come across in the interview. Before the interview, boost your mood by listening to your favorite music, dancing, doing a few push-ups or anything else that makes you feel good and confident.

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