Looking for a job in remote times? Here are some things to keep in mind when interviewing by video
Ready for your next interview? It could happen sooner than you think.
One of the many benefits of remote work is how quickly you can go from looking for a job to speaking to a hiring manager. Instead of waiting days or weeks for a response and a hopeful interview invitation, you might receive a video call within minutes or seconds of applying.
That means you need to be presentable whenever you’re actively contacting businesses and employers. Be ready to go with appropriate clothing, a clean and well-lit room, a smiling face, and an energetic attitude.
Here are a few quick tips to help you make a good impression and maximize your chances of getting hired.
How to Look and Sound Good Over Video
Optimize your lighting. The clearer your face looks on camera, the better. Interviewers want to be able to read your expressions. Try for bright, even lighting. If possible, position two or more light sources behind your computer screen (not behind you) so you’re well-lit with minimal shadows. Keep in mind that lighting also affects mood—yours and your interviewer’s.
Get dressed. No, you can’t get away with wearing your pajamas in a remote job—at least not until you’ve actually landed the position. You don’t have to follow a certain dress code (unless your employer or prospective employer requires it), but you should look the part any time you’re on video. Wear laundered, professional-looking clothes you feel comfortable and confident in.
Invest in a good microphone and pair of headphones. High-quality sound equipment may set you back a couple hundred dollars, but it’s worth it. Others need to be able to hear you clearly, especially if you intend to work in customer service, sales, or another job that requires you to speak to people all day. Click here for mic recommendations from TechRepublic, and here for headphone recommendations from PCMag.
Test your audio and video setup. Don’t wait until your first interview to find out if you have AV issues. Record yourself first, then watch and listen carefully to the recording for any flaws or dips in quality. Better yet, get on a video call with a friend and ask for feedback.
Keep your camera at eye level. Angles matter. Show off your face, not the bottom of your chin. When your camera is at eye level, you look competent and professional. You may need to adjust your seat height and/or elevate your monitor with a laptop stand or stack of books.
Sit up straight. Good posture not only makes you appear poised and self-assured, but also improves your speaking voice.
Consider your space. What’s behind you when you turn your camera on? If there are any distracting elements, remove them. That said, you don’t need to keep your walls completely bare. Feel free to add some character to your background and decorate your space with bookshelves, plant life, and work-appropriate art.
Eliminate or minimize background noise and distractions. Whenever possible, avoid getting on a video call while something like construction or lawn-mowing is going on at your or your neighbor’s home. Turn off any music or nearby sound from a television or computer. Close your door (if you can) to prevent family members, roommates, or pets from entering the room.
General Interviewing Advice
Do your homework. Research the company and position you’re interviewing for before jumping into a call. Think about why and how you’re a good fit for the role.
Practice. Hone your conversational skills. Practice answering questions and engaging in active listening. Talk to yourself in front of a mirror, or roleplay an interview with a family member or friend. Try putting yourself on both sides of the exchange, and take note of what you pay attention to as an interviewer.
Loosen up. Nailing an interview is about much more than giving the “correct” answers to questions. People want to work with people they enjoy talking to. Have fun and let your personality and sense of humor shine through.
Be quick on your feet. Expect the unexpected. The interviewer may throw curveballs at you and ask surprising questions. Be aware that you may need to do more than sit down for a straightforward conversation. Depending on the job, you might be asked to submit a video rather than interview live with a company representative, or you may need to take an assessment, undergo a screening, or all of the above. Regardless, the next step can happen instantly after you click “Submit Application,” so stay prepared.
Ask (productive) questions. An interview is a two-way street. While the person you’re talking to is determining whether you’re the right person for the job, it’s important for you to think about whether the job is the right fit for you. Ask about responsibilities, expectations, and what the company stands for. But don’t ask questions just to ask questions; keep the conversation focused on what you and the organization have to offer each other.
Reward yourself. Applying and interviewing for jobs is hard work. Keep your spirits high and replenish your stamina by doing something fun and relaxing after every interview. Go for a walk, make a nice meal, call a friend—do whatever helps you unwind. You’ve earned it.
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