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DING! The email you’ve been waiting for has finally arrived.
The employer wants to schedule a virtual interview for the remote job you applied for. You celebrate for a bit before coming back to your senses.
The thought of the interview process is daunting. After all, it’s your dream job, one which you can work from anywhere, and you have only one chance to prove your worth.
But not to worry — with enough preparation, you can ace your remote job interview. Here are nine expert tips to help you make an amazing impression and land the job.
1. Study your prospective employer
It’s important to do your research about the company, along with its products and services, sense of corporate social responsibility, and internal and external activities. So take time to check out the company’s website, as well as the LinkedIn profiles of its executives and your potential colleagues.
This knowledge will not only help you convince the recruiter that you truly understand the company’s mission, but it will also help you prepare some non-typical questions to ask at the end of the interview. You might even end up asking a thought-provoking question that leaves a lasting impression on your interviewer.
2. Keep your interview area professional and clutter-free
Since you’re going after a remote job, it’s up to you to prepare your interview spot. Interviewing in a messy space could make you come off as careless. So when preparing where you’ll interview, look around at what the recruiter will be observing in the background.
Beyond keeping the area clutter-free, I suggest setting up a home office that looks professional — and makes you look professional. If the vibe feels right, you might even give your interviewer a quick office tour.
This step could show the interviewer you’re serious about your work and aren’t easily distracted. A professional-looking background might even help you stand out from other, more informal candidates.
3. Dress the part
If you’ve always been a remote employee, chances are your beard is growing longer by the day or you haven’t worn anything but yoga pants for a week. But even though your interview is virtual, it’s still a professional opportunity, so it’s important to dress the part.
Not sure what to wear? Doing your homework on the company could help. Check out the company’ social media pages for clues on how its employees dress. Even if the company has a casual setting, make sure you look polished and presentable. Get a haircut, press your clothes, and avoid wearing anything overly splashy or distracting.
4. Mind the details, like testing your webcam and charging your laptop
Do your best to foresee things that could go wrong during your remote job interview. Use a high-quality microphone and webcam to be at the top of your game. Turn off your mobile phone and screen notifications, close all unnecessary applications, and make sure your laptop’s fully charged.
Inform your roommate well in advance about your meeting; you don’t want someone bellowing your name or a sudden blast of music. And if possible, practice your interview first with a friend. This practice run will help you figure out where to look, how loudly to talk, where to place your hands. Basically, you’ll get a precise idea of how you come across on your webcam.
Also, don’t eat a huge meal right before your meeting, as it could make you feel sluggish, and use the restroom ten minutes before your interview begins. Lastly, get all your references in order, and make sure they’ll be available if the employer reaches out.
5. Be ready to talk about why you’d succeed in a remote role
If you’re someone who’s worked in a formal office environment throughout your career, there’s a chance the hiring manager could assume you think working remotely will be a breeze. So make it clear that you’re taking the job seriously, and be prepared to discuss your reasons for wanting a remote position.
Maybe you want to travel the world without giving up on your career, or perhaps you’re someone who’s self-motivated and doesn’t need supervision, or maybe you want to spend more quality time with your family.
Whatever your motivation, prepare to talk about why you want work remotely and why you would succeed in a telecommute position.
6. Emphasize your reliability and responsiveness
One of the biggest concerns that employers have when hiring for a remote position is whether they can rely on the candidate when duty calls. If the business suddenly gets flooded with new clients, can they depend on the remote employee to handle the additional work? In case the company’s website goes down for a few hours, how simple will it be for them to contact their remote web technician?
These kinds of urgent situations make some hiring managers skeptical about offering remote positions to their workers. As a prospective candidate, get a leg up on your competition by showing you understand the importance of reliability and credibility better than anyone else.
Present yourself as someone who’s comfortable with the tools of the trade, who’s readily available on Skype, Doodle, Trello, Basecamp, and Google Hangouts, and who replies to text messages instantly. Show that you understand the importance of communication when working remotely and are able to keep in touch even if your colleagues live in different time zones.
7. Prepare your answers to common job interview questions
Although you don’t want to come across as robotic, preparing your answers to common interview questions will help calm your nerves and succeed in your interview. When you’re trying to make a good impression, it’s all too easy for your mind to go blank when you’re put on the spot.
So write down ideas in advance, and practice saying them with a friend. Some common interview questions to prepare for include,
- Tell me about yourself.
- Why do you want to work here?
- What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses?
- Can you talk about a time you surpassed a goal or went above and beyond?
- Can you talk about a time you failed, and how you reacted to it?
These last two questions are examples of behavioral questions. Interviewers want a specific anecdote about a professional success (or failure), what happened, and how you reacted to it.
Past behavior indicates future behavior, so with these questions, an employer wants insight into what kind of employee you would be. And behavioral questions are super tough to answer on the spot, so try to come up with specific examples before your interview so you’re ready when one comes your way.
What’s more, the interviewer might ask how you would respond to a hypothetical situation. Although you can’t always predict these scenarios, take a deep breath, gather your thoughts, and respond the best you can.
And if you feel like you’ve messed up an answer, you can always email the interviewer afterward with some follow-up ideas after you’ve had a chance to think things through.
8. Stay upbeat, positive, and enthusiastic
Outside of researching the company and your target job, you also want to show your interviewer how excited you are about the job. Greet them enthusiastically and politely, while letting your authentic energy shine through.
The interviewer is looking to bring on a team member who will be happy to contribute and move the company forward, so showing your enthusiasm could go a long way toward leaving a lasting impression.
9. Send a follow-up email to say thank you
Finally, make sure to send a follow-up email to your interviewer to thank them for meeting with you. Express your interest in the position again, and consider including a few points you spoke about in your interview to remind them of your discussion.
You might also share additional thoughts on a point of discussion or a few ideas for what you’d do in the role. This extra effort shows the interviewer how serious you are about wanting the position, and it might just be the extra momentum you need to edge out the other candidates and get the job.
When it comes to a remote job interview, preparation is key
Prepping for a remote job interview can feel overwhelming, but you’re definitely up for the challenge. Just plan out everything in advance and work through any glitches that might emerge during the interview.
Remember, you made it through the first round because you have the qualifications and skills that the employer is looking for. The interview is just a means for the hiring manager to validate your resume, get to know know you a little better, and see if you can blend in with the culture of the company.
By preparing thoroughly, you’ll feel more confident and leave a lasting impression on your interviewer. For more tips and tricks, check out this guide on how to get a remote job you love.