Okay, so doing remote interviews may seem a little scary at first. And sometimes, they can be. Our society has changed so much within the first half of 2020, with, well, everything moving to online – classes, part-time jobs, internships, and even interviews. Pre-pandemic, the main reason why people would even do remote interviews in the first place might be if they are applying to a university/college outside of their state and there are no alumni’s in the area that they currently reside in. Or perhaps the individual is applying for an internship that is half-way across the world, and the application may require an interview. However, times have now changed and now everyone, whether you’re applying for a job that is only a ten-minute drive from where you live, are compelled to do interviews remotely.
Now, we have to get used to the idea that we will be doing remote interviews for a while. Whether it’s applying to a new job, or a leadership position for an extracurricular activity, or even to an institution – they may require remote interviews.
And remote interviews can either be a good thing… or a bad thing, depending on the way that you look at it. For one, maybe it’s great for those who may struggle with actually talking to people face-to-face. You may just be a shy person, which is completely okay, and it may be easier for you to talk through a screen rather than in-person. However, some may actually thrive talking to people face-to-face. The individual may feel disconnected when talking to the recruiter, feeling like they can’t express their true selves simply through a screen. And that is okay. Remote interviews have its perks and its not-so-great drawbacks, but that’s what this post is going to help you with!
Today, I will be discussing a few tips and tricks that I’ve learned through experience on how to be well-prepared for any type of interview – whether you’re comfortable with the idea of having a remote interview or not.
1.) Choose a well-suited background.
I know this may sound obvious, but you’ll be surprised by how many students/employers don’t follow this rule. When you’re having a remote interview, it’s professional to be in a well-lit environment. Try to sit in front of a window rather than behind it. If a window is behind you, the interviewer may not be able to see your face clearly as the screen will pick up on the light streaming in through the window.
Also, try to find a quiet place to have your interview. I know it may be difficult for some students, especially if you’re living at home and doing classes remotely, but inform your family (if you can) to not go to your room or if that’s not possible, try to lower their voices. I know that for me, my family can be quite loud, especially my bird, whose chirps are almost ear-piercing if she hears my voice. Whenever I am about to have an interview, I try to tell my family to not disturb me for the next however-long-the-interview-is-going-to-be and I close the door to the room that I am in. That way, I will not be disturbed and the audio on my laptop will not pick up on any other noises besides my voice.
And for those whose situation may impede them to stay in one room, try going outside. It can do you wonders and may serve as a greater alternative than having the interview inside your home. (Don’t forget to social distance and wear your mask if you’re going outside!)
2.) Dress appropriately.
I know that it’s very tempting to stay in your pajamas or wear your typical school clothes, but if you’re interviewing for a professional position, I would suggest wearing something that you would typically wear in-person. Whether it’s a nice suit, a beautiful blouse and a skirt, or even a dress – just wear whatever you would wear if you were meeting the recruiter in-person. That way, you will be painting a professional and impressive image that may make you stand out from other applicants!
3.) Keep eye-contact with the interviewer.
For this tip, I found it extremely difficult to follow it at times. Towards the end of the Spring term, whenever I was having office hours with my professors or talking to my TA’s via zoom, I’ve began to notice how I wouldn’t keep eye-contact with them for the majority of the times. I’d either be looking down at my notes or looking towards the side whenever I was talking. It’s an extremely bad habit to develop, and I had to catch myself a couple of times whenever I found myself not holding eye-contact with the other person.
That’s why I encourage you to try and keep eye-contact with the interviewer. In face-to-face situations, it’s easy to display your body language during communication with the interviewer. But, as the interview is done remotely, they can only see your face, which makes it even more important to keep eye contact with them. By keeping eye contact with the person, it shows that you are actively listening and paying attention to them.
And that is basically it! I know that these tips may be pretty mundane and evident, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t actually follow these guidelines!
I wish you guys the best, and I know that y’all will be amazing at your future interviews. And even if you mess up, that’s okay. Take it as a learning curve and move on. Your mistakes don’t define you; they are only proof that you’re trying. Always remember that.