Hiring & Recruiting

Remote Interview Etiquette 101

Just because your interview is virtual doesn’t mean you can show up in your gym clothes. The first rule of remote interview etiquette is to treat it like an in-person, “normal” interview. Many of us are now used to working from home and have shaped our routines accordingly. However, for the professionals who are just starting out or haven’t been through a remote interview, we have a few tips to help you ace this critical part of your job search. 

An interview allows the recruiter to get to know the candidate better. This means first impressions matter. If the job is remote, the interviewer is further testing to see your skills in a remote environment and how you will conduct yourself in a virtual setting. You need to stand out and show the interviewer why you are the right fit for the company and the position. 

How to Practice Good Remote Interview Etiquette

Here are some helpful tips to put your best foot forward during your next virtual interview.

Tip #1: Dress for success 

Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can show up to your interview in pj’s or sweats. A rule of thumb is to wear clothes that complement the setting (i.e., don’t wear a grey jacket if you’re sitting in front of a gray wall) and prints that aren’t too distracting. You are trying to make a good impression on your interviewer, so dress appropriately. This also goes for your hair – make sure it’s neat. You know the saying, “when you look good you feel good”? Use this as your mantra and you’ll also see the difference in your confidence. 

Tip #2: Check your background 

It might be time to retire any posters you have on your wall – especially if they’re in your video frame. Make sure to keep your background free of any clutter and mess and let your roommates or family know to refrain from walking behind you during your interview. Plan ahead to minimize as many distractions as possible and put all your focus on the interview.  

Tip #3: Check the lighting 

Good lighting is essential to allow the interviewer to see your body language and facial expressions. You can either choose a brightly lit room or add additional lighting to your video frame. To ensure that your lighting is optimal, try to conduct a test with your friends or family members so they can give you advice on whether you need to add more light or switch positions to avoid shadows. 

Tip #4: Practice 

You don’t want to be surprised during your interview. Take the time to set up a practice session with someone so you can get comfortable with the tools in order to keep the conversation going over video chat. Practice using the mute button (to use when you are not speaking or if there is unexpected background noise) and also to remember to focus on the interviewer and not your own face. You might also want to practice sharing your screen in case you are asked to show your projects. Use this session as an opportunity to get comfortable in front of a screen so you come across as confident. 

Tip #5: Body language is important 

Body language in a remote interview is especially important. The interviewer will be paying attention to visual cues such as facial expressions to try to understand you better. You want to come across as focused and engaged, and your expressions will say it all. If you’re not paying attention, the interviewer will know. Avoid being robotic and stiff. Instead, make sure you are nodding and smiling to signal that you are engaged and interested. You want to keep the energy high during this conversation. 

Tip #6: Take it seriously 

Interviewing from home or a remote workspace might make you feel like you can get too comfortable. In reality, you need to take this as seriously as any other interview. Silence your phone, avoid slouching, and pay attention. If you don’t take it seriously, your interviewer will sense that you don’t care too much about the job and they might not want to move forward with you. If the entire position is remote, not taking the interview seriously will leave a bad impression and will make the interviewer think you can’t work well in a remote environment. 

Tip #7: Keep your focus 

Just like the last two points reiterated, your focus is important to maintain during the conversation. Avoid glancing at your phone or browsing the internet. Maintain eye contact and engage in conversation as you would with your friends and family. Stay alert and engaged so you are responsive to your interviewer. 

Tip #8: Get fully charged 

Don’t make the rookie mistake of having your devices get low on battery. Charge up the night before – this includes all devices in case one drops. Additionally, make sure all your devices and tech are updated and working properly.  

Tip #9: Prepare for issues 

While we love technology, it can fail us during the most important times. The best way to combat this is to be prepared for Wi-Fi issues, call drops or anything else that might hinder your interview. Make sure to have backups. For example, let your interviewer know your personal phone number so they can call you in case the call drops. If the Wi-Fi stops working, have data in place that you can hotspot from or that you can directly connect to on your phone.  

Tip #10: Don’t forget to ask questions 

As the interview comes to a close, you want to ensure you ask the right questions. This will further show that you were paying attention and are interested in the position and the company. The questions you ask are very telling of how attentive you’ve been in the interview. Prepared questions often get answered during the conversation so make sure to note and only ask questions that haven’t been answered. Questions about company culture, responsibilities and why the interviewer loves their job are great questions to get more insight into the company. 

While it’s easy to stay comfortable in your home, it’s important to remember that you are trying to impress the hiring manager through the screen. This means that you might need to put in a little extra effort to show them that you are engaged and interested. Treat your remote interview like any other interview and stay confident with these helpful tips. Good luck!

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