For the vast majority of us, the remote interview has been an anomaly; a technique reserved for candidates who may be applying from abroad or who are freelance workers for example. The rest of us have been taught that a firm handshake and a strong physical presence will impress the hiring manager and create a great first impression.

Of late, our world has changed. Developments in technology and online learning opportunities have made our world a smaller place. Candidates who are living and working outside the UK have become a lot more visible to employers. Organisations have had to adapt and adopt alternative interviewing techniques to attract and enable the talent they need to propel their business to thrive and scale.

Covid 19 too has undeniably (but not exclusively) changed the landscape. It has forced our hand to work in an agile and adaptable way. Here at Ignite HQ we have noticed that businesses are open to changing their normal interview processes in light of recent world events. We, and our clients, have not stopped hiring, indeed we have maintained an incredibly pragmatic, “business as usual” approach.  

We have continued to organise final stage interviews for our candidates….with a twist. Remote interviews have replaced the more traditional face to face interview. 

With this in mind, here are our top tips to ace your remote interview when you are unable to rely on a handshake!

A man takes part in a remote interview at his laptop. He has on a headset and is holding some notes.

Remote Interview Tips: Look Professional.

Business as usual means business as usual. Working at home allows you to kick back a little with regard to business dress and your set up. This doesn’t apply to home or remote interviews. Make sure you set up in a quiet environment that is clean and tidy. Look at your surroundings through the eyes of your interviewer. What your interviewer sees ought to be nothing but professional. If you are able, you should use a static, eye-level web-cam, and not a handheld device. You should also dress to impress. How would you dress for a face to face interview? Your interviewer will expect no less.

Remote Interview Tips: No distractions. 

To perform at your best, you need to make sure you can schedule the appointment at a time when you can give the opportunity 100% of your attention and focus. If at all possible, you ought to be alone. Make sure all external ‘noise’ is switched off. Turn your mobile off or on aeroplane mode at the very least. You need to be certain it will not ring or even vibrate during your remote interview. It may also be a good idea to put a note on the door just in case you have an unexpected delivery or visitor.  

It isn’t always possible but you ought to try to make sure that children or pets are elsewhere for that hour. A barking dog, crying baby or cat that walks across your webcam halfway through your interview will put you off and may make the interviewer question your professionalism.

Limit external noise.

Make sure you position yourself somewhere where there is no external noise. Not only will this be a distraction, but it will also limit the ability for you and your interviewer to have a productive conversation. You need to be able to hear the questions effectively and respond so that your interviewer can hear you. You need a quiet environment where you can concentrate, hear and be heard.

Remote Interview Tips: Prepare just the same.

It may be tempting to go into the interview with notes or prompts. It’s not a face to face interview, so while you COULD, we’d advise against doing this. Remote interviewing will rely heavily on your “image” being engaged and direct. Your interviewer will rely on eye contact, as they do not have any other physical cues to respond to. If your eyes are darting to your notes, a fluent conversation will be stilted and you will be unable to maintain direct eye contact. If anything, you need to be more prepared than ever. Do your research and rehearse.

A lady wears earphones and smart clothes while on skype. She is waving at the camera greeting colleagues.

Make sure you have a solid WiFi or data connection.

In short, make sure your connection won’t drop out halfway through. Most WiFi connections are well supported, but it may be wise to check that your provider isn’t scheduling any outage or works.  

Remote Interview Tips: Do a dummy run.

To make sure you are presenting well and that you can be heard, it may be a good idea to ask a friend or a family member to Skype you beforehand. That way you can rest assured that you will not run into any glitches on the day. It will give you time to iron out any niggles before your remote interview.

Be on time and ready.

Make sure you are ready and waiting to take the interview. Missing a scheduled skype meeting or call is as rude as being late for a face to face interview. Your remote interview is not a surprise. Be next to your device at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time of your interview. Behave as you would if you were arriving for a face to face interview. 

Limit home “comforts”.

Working from home is different from interviewing at home. Perks of home working may include cups of tea on tap and a packet of biscuits! 

We would advise that you ought to have a glass of water on hand during your remote interview but leave slurping on a mug of tea until afterwards!

 

We anticipate that in the coming weeks as we are forced to work in a remote environment, virtual and remote interviews will become more commonplace. We hope you have found our tips helpful. If you require more interview techniques or guidance we have loads of additional advice and resources on our blog.  

Let’s hope we are back to face to face interviewing before too long, but in the meantime Ignite is very much business as usual. If you are looking for a new tech, digital or data opportunity we are on hand to help. Please do reach out to us. We are looking forward to hearing from you.  

About the author: I work hard to find the best opportunities for my candidates and the best talent for my clients. My honest and pragmatic approach helps me to build lasting relationships and deliver real value.  I have extensive experience helping organisations overcome their critical challenges in the digital environment, and have worked with everything from start-ups to major global brands.

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