10 Top Tips for Virtual and Remote Job Interviews

Online job interviews are similar to the traditional, face-to-face interview we’re all familiar with, and they have been popular in certain industries for some time now. However, online interviews have seen a huge surge in popularity due to the benefits they provide companies and applicants, allowing wider nets to be cast and reducing travel times. While you may feel comfortable conducting yourself in a digital meeting, there are some pretty significant variations worth preparing for. 

While the goal of setting yourself apart from other candidates remains salient, online interviews can be just as stressful as in-person job interviews for many of us - that’s why we’re here to help combat this by ensuring you feel prepared and ready to shine in your remote or virtual interview! 

Take a look at the tips, tricks and techniques we’ve outlined that are sure to make your interview a success.

Types of virtual and remote interviews:

Live video call

Live video calls are the most common type of remote interview and generally follow the same structure as a traditional in-person interview, with the only difference being the location. This has some advantages for both parties, for the company this allows a wider hiring net to be cast and can include applicants from locations outside of what is possible for on-site interviews. For applicants the benefits include time-saved on travel and the pesky search for parking, but also allows them to apply outside of their local vicinity furthering their opportunities.

Pre-recorded video

This type of interview is much like the live video call we mentioned above, but is more of a one-way call in which the applicant is sent questions ahead of time and is asked to prepare their answers to be shared with the company in video format.

When making use of this interview format, the hiring company will provide a timeline for submissions and may even allocate additional time for updated recordings, depending on their internal requirements.

Video resume

As we’re in the digital age it’s no shock that traditional resumes and CV’s are becoming a thing of the past with many companies preferring a video resume over their written predecessor. The hiring company will provide a structure, mimicking that of a traditional resume with an introduction, career overview and hard and soft skills.

This thinking is two-fold in that it allows the hiring manager or panel to gauge a clearer picture of who the applicant is while also allowing them to make use of modern video intelligence software in mapping speech patterns, pronoun usage and a host of other neat metrics.

Skills assessment

This interview type typically forms part of a multi-stage interview, and is designed to simulate and assess job-related skills which help hiring managers and recruiters gain a clearer picture of an applicant's talent and compatibility. Skills assessments are usually followed up with a second interview, depending on the performance of the assessment.

Tips & Tricks for acing any type of interview

Dress to impress, just like a traditional interview

Even though an online interview usually means the interviewer won’t see anything from the waist down, it should go without saying that you shouldn’t only dress up the upper half of your body. Just because your interview isn’t in-person doesn’t mean that you should forgo any of the preparation you’ve done for previous interviews. 

Wear something comfortable, but professional - remember you feel most confident when you’re comfortable and know that you look your best in what you’re wearing. 

Prepare your space, kick out the kids, pets or housemates

We understand that being at home alleviates many of the boundaries found in traditional offices, but with that being said, distractions during your interview can make or break your interview. If you have housemates, small children, or dogs who may possibly interfere with your interview it’s advisable to set some boundaries by asking for quiet during the time you’ll be in your interview, closing doors to reduce distractions or hiring a carer for the day to alleviate any additional pressure.

Prepare your space continued, think background and lighting

Virtual backgrounds can be fun and you may be tempted to use one for your remote interview but we wouldn’t recommend it as they can cause distractions to even the most professional of people meaning your interviewer won’t be fully focusing on you and can come across as unprofessional for a first-time meeting. 

The best solution is to find the most neutral, or most professional looking area in your home, which you can quickly and simply stage for the duration of your interview. A bedroom with an unmade bed, or a home office full of clutter, is not only unprofessional but much like virtual backgrounds can distract your interviewer.

Set yourself up against a completely blank background, or a neatly staged area and use natural light where possible. Not only will you look giving you a confidence boost, but it’ll remove any and all distractions making your interviewer focus fully on you which is exactly what you want!

Arrive on time!

It may seem obvious, but meeting times are among the most common issues remote interviewers face. 

While this is generally not a problem for jobs within your state or country, neighbouring states or countries may have different time zones, this is especially true during daylight savings times of the year. A slight mis-interpretation of timing in your state or country can cause you to miss your interview entirely, always remember to double check and confirm your interview time.

Patience while talking

Mindfulness when talking in a remote or virtual interview is key, this covers pace, pronoun usage and allowing space for the interviewer or panel you’re meeting with to ask questions and digest your answers fully.

Keep in mind that when connecting digitally delays and audio spikes do happen. Don’t panic if this happens, take a deep breath and calmly explain the problem while applying the necessary fixes. This can go a long way to demonstrate your problem solving skills and proves that you remain calm under pressure.

Take a look at our tips and techniques on resolving technical issues below so you arrive prepared for any issue.

Body language

During a video interview, your body language such as facial expressions, gestures and posture remain an important part of the process. Your interviewer will not only be focused on the answers you give, but also how you present them with your unspoken cues. 

Be mindful of your posture while sitting and remember that comfort and confidence go hand in hand. Sitting in a relaxed position with your shoulders back and feet flat on the floor can help you maintain focus. Try to keep your hands visible as this goes a long way to demonstrate your openness, and maintain natural, attentive eye contact to show that you are focused and interested.

To simulate eye contact, make an effort to look into the camera, and lean into the conversation, instead of sitting back in your chair, to express interest.

Relax

We understand that interviews can be difficult and stressful, but the best way to alleviate your anxiety is by being as well prepared as possible, and your worst enemy during an online interview may be your own nerves.

 Take a deep breath before the call, and try to remain calm and collected during the interview. Communicating confidently and effectively will leave a positive impression with your interviewer and be sure that you stay at the front of their minds long after the interview is over.

Tech stuff

When preparing for remote interviews, one of the most important preparation steps you can take is to test any technology you’ll be using during the process. Interviewers will be used to some level of troubleshooting, but struggling for a few minutes can damage your first impression. 

Audio and microphone settings

Most video platforms will allow you to test your audio and microphone settings, and it’s essential that you do this well in advance. Many people use bluetooth audio solutions, which can sometimes cause issues with certain platforms, if you have not preselected them as the default device, and if this is the case, a wired solution is always preferred.

 

Camera settings

Interviewers are not expecting Hollywood level videography, but setting your camera up correctly is still important. Some laptops may come with covers, or off switches for their cameras, and trying to enable them last minute can be stressful. Ensure that the camera angle is capturing you correctly, and is not over- or under- exposed. 

 

Internet Connection

Your internet connection can make or break an interview. Video conferencing can take up a lot of bandwidth, so it’s essential that you have a strong internet connection. It’s generally a better idea to be plugged directly into your router, and failing that, to be as close to your router as possible. Avoid having your interview at cafes or public places where the connection can be unreliable.

 

Video Platforms

While most video platforms are relatively straightforward, you will still want to be familiar with the most popular solutions out there. Google Meets, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype are the most likely platforms on which you will have your interview. Make sure that you are able to navigate them well, in case you need to suddenly share your screen to pull up an example of your work, or enter answers in the chat. For your convenience, most platforms will have a quick introduction overview, or hints section when you first login, which is why it’s a great idea to join your meeting at least a few minutes early. But if all else fails pay YouTube a visit as there’s bound to be a walk-through of the platform you’ll be using.

You’ve just taken your next steps towards succeeding in your career, be sure to take a look at the Wizco Blog for more insider tips and tricks and walk into every growth opportunity prepared. It pays to be prepared!

The Wizco Team