In efforts to limit the spread of the COVID-19, many companies have adapted to remote work by leveraging video systems like Zoom to connect virtually with their employees. Employers, who are still actively hiring, like Instacart, Amazon, Google, and Microsoft, are opting for virtual interactions to take the place of in-person job interviews. This shift in the career marketplace has changed the way we conduct our professional lives and hiring processes. So what's a virtual interview? If you've never experienced a virtual interview before, a virtual interview is an interview that takes place remotely, often using technology like video conferencing.
Although the interviewer's questions are likely to be similar to ones posed in an in-person interview, there will be differences between interviewing in-person versus interviewing virtually. For prospective employees, trying to make a pitch about their career qualifications and sharing their brand narrative via video conferencing software, such as Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts, can feel a bit overwhelming.
Remote interviews for jobs are becoming very common, especially in today’s tech-centric world. While many people prefer in-person interviews, remote interviews – usually held over a video call on a software platform like Zoom – are convenient for both hiring managers and candidates, and are sometimes necessary because of a candidate’s location or social distancing concerns.
If you’ve never taken part in a remote interview, it’s important to familiarize yourself with this type of interview. Here, we explore a few important remote interview tips you can use during your next digital interviewing experience that will help you ace the call and land your next dream job.
If you're currently on the job hunt or moving to the next step of the hiring process, here are some best practices and answered questions from our recruiting team at Glassdoor to help you ace your virtual interview and to get you set up for success.
Here Are 8 Tips To Be Successful In Your Next Remote Interview
1. Position yourself in a well-lit, quiet, clean space.
It's essential to choose a quiet, well-lit, neutral, and clean space to conduct your interview, especially if you're taking the virtual interview from home to limit distractions. Unlike interviewing in the office or a public space, virtual interviews provide an intimate glimpse into your personal life. Be sure to give a great first impression by keeping your area clean and limit any interruptions from family members, pets, partners, and roommates.
Don’t plan to have your remote interview just anywhere. It’s important to choose a location that is free of distractions and noises when participating in a video interview, as these interruptions can leave an interviewer with a negative impression of you. Take stock of your space and choose a location that is far from potential noises and distractions, such as a ringing doorbell, a child’s room, or near a TV that could be turned on. And if you can select a room with a door, make a sign to hang on the door that asks not to be disturbed. (You can do this on your front door, too!)
2. Test your technology beforehand.
It's imperative that you check and test your technology several times before the interview and that day to ensure success. Be sure to double-check your wifi connection, camera and audio, and video conferencing platforms to confirm they are all working seamlessly. Being technologically savvy is a coveted skill that employers are looking for, and by not doing your due diligence to ensure that you're good to go in the technology realm, you could have the hiring manager or interviewer questioning if you're the right candidate for the position.
A day before your interview, perform a few tests of the software you’ll be using for the interview to ensure it works properly. Take time to explore the software and familiarize yourself with how it works. (Be sure you have the most up-to-date version of the software, too!) And if the software shows others an image of yourself, make sure the image you select is up-to-date and appropriate.
3. Charge your computer.
Ahead of your interview, make sure your computer or laptop is fully charged. It seems obvious, but many people forget, only to have their device die during the call.
4. Prepare thoroughly.
Just like any other in-person interview, you should be ready to speak in-depth about why you want to join the organization, how the company mission resonates with you, and the value you will bring to the specific role. We suggest that you practice your responses to potential interview questions to feel comfortable and confident with yourself before speaking with the interviewer. Take some time to compile your interview questions for each of your interviewers as well to show further your interest and passion for the role and company.
5. Dress appropriately.
Dress for success and look the part! It would be unprofessional to come dressed in anything other than business casual. When you put your best foot forward by dressing professionally, it will show the interviewer that you are serious about the position. Still, there are personal benefits as well – people tend to feel more comfortable, confident, and competent when wearing business attire.
6. Be authentically yourself.
Let your personality shine through. In addition to showing your knowledge for the company and role, it's crucial to open up and give insight into who you are as a person. Interviewers are looking to you to help them gauge to see if you are the right person for the role and an excellent culture addition for the organization. Leverage soft skills like body language, interpersonal skills, deft communication and adaptability to convey your confidence and personality. And don't forget to ask the interviewer some questions about themselves – you might have something in common to forge a connection.
7. Follow up.
Show your interest! Immediately after your interview(s), reach out to the interviewer by email to show how much you want the role and thank them for their time. Be sure to mention different nuggets of information and tidbits of relevant conversations from the interview.
8. Practice makes perfect.
Try to anticipate the various questions the interviewer might ask, and practice your responses. For example, it’s almost certainly an interviewer will ask why you’re interested in the role; what you would bring to the team; and your goals for the future. Think of your answers and practice saying them out loud; this will help you feel more at ease – and sound more natural – during the interview.
How to Wow a Recruiter During a Remote Interview
You’ve prepared to have the perfect remote interview, but now, it’s time to knock it out of the park in real-time. Here’s how to impress a recruiter or hiring manager on your video call:
Dress for success.
Just because you’re interviewing from the comfort of your home doesn’t mean you should get too comfortable. For a remote interview, you’ll still want to dress as if you were meeting the interviewer in person – think: a dress shirt and tie for men, and a blazer or dress for women.
But beyond that, you’ll need to think about what will look good on screen. You should avoid wearing distracting or bright patterns or colors or flashy jewelry, and instead, opt for neutral-colored clothing and, if you wear it, simple jewelry.
Lastly, make sure you’ve dressed appropriately from top to bottom. It might be tempting to skip wearing professional pants or skirts during a video call, but you may have to stand up, and mishaps happen – and you don’t want your dress to be the reason you lose out on your next dream job.
Make small talk.
When you’re interviewing in person, it can be easier to build a rapport with the interviewer. It’s not as natural on a video call, but it doesn’t have to be awkward. If you can, try to make some chit-chat at the start, which can break the ice and make everyone feel more comfortable. Think of talking points ahead of time, such as a funny (but appropriate) story or a sports reference.
Practice good body language.
You wouldn’t slouch in an in-person interview, and you shouldn’t in a remote interview, either. Be sure to use proper posture, and maintain eye contact throughout the call. If you are constantly looking around, your interviewer may think you’re distracted – or worse, uninterested in the call.
Even though you’ve checked your microphone and internet connection, sometimes speech can be garbled on a computer. So, do your best to speak clearly and enunciate when talking with the interviewer. You should also pause after speaking, as digital interviews often have a lag between when you speak and when the interviewer hears what you said. And be sure to wait a few seconds after the interviewer is done speaking before answering to avoid talking over them.
What to Do After a Remote Interview
The best thing to do after an interview – a remote interview included – is sending your interviewer a thank-you note for their time and help. You can send a thank you via email and should hit send within 24 hours of the interview. (And, if you interviewed with more than one person, be sure to send each one their own personalized thank-you note. Don’t use a form letter for each note.)
In addition to saying thank you to the interviewer, take the opportunity to reiterate why you would be perfect for the role, focusing on what you can do for them and the company, and telling them again how excited you are for the potential opportunity to join their team.
Glassdoor Recruiters Answer Questions on How to Have a Successful Virtual Interview
How can I come across warm and personable through a video interview?
So, if you're trying to come across warm and personable in a video interview, it's really good to smile, use a lot of great eye contact, take your pauses, and also try to connect on a personal level. Right now, a lot of companies are doing video interviewing, so everyone's in the same boat, and so you can talk about your personal experience right off the bat, and that way it'll help with the conversation.
What should I wear to the video interview?
Just because it's a video interview, it doesn't mean you should wear pajamas. Try to dress professionally, even if it's only from the waist up. You'll feel a lot more confident when you dress for the part. We know virtual interviews can be pretty challenging, especially with a full household. I would recommend trying to find a quiet, private place that's going to have little to no interruptions during the duration of your interview. We know that it can be challenging, so just do your best. I would also suggest not sitting in front of a window because it will cast a shadow on your face, so it will be pretty challenging to see you during that interview portion. We also know not everybody has a white wall; they can sit in front of for an interview, but I would recommend trying to find a space that has little to no distractions, just so we know the company is focused on you, which is essential.
Can you go over proper video interview etiquette?
First, I would suggest doing a trial run before your interview, making sure the camera and microphone are all set up just so you don't run into any issues during the interview. Next, I would make sure that the background is distraction-free, clean, and tidy, well lit, and in a functional space in your home or wherever you're taking the interview from. And lastly, just to keep in mind that a video interview is just as important as an in-person interview. Good luck!
What are some tips for successfully completing a technical collaboration during an interview?
Technical interviews can be a little challenging while virtual. Hopefully, these tips will help you out. I would suggest asking those clarifying questions before jumping into the problem. This way, you fully know what's being asked of you. If you are also working off of multiple monitors, be sure to let your interviewer know. This way, they know if you're working off of two different screens, or if you are pulling information from another screen. Be sure to over-communicate your thought process as well. Sometimes we can internalize what we're looking to do next, but in this case, make sure you communicate that so it does feel like a pretty collaborative setting, and this way, you and the interviewer can bounce ideas off of each other as well. Some technical questions are easier handled with a mouse, so if you have one available, that's great. If not, there are plenty of online tools available for you to practice before that interview. Hopefully, these tips help, and we wish you the best of luck!
Now that you know how to ace your virtual interview, browse through some common interview questions.