Are you facing the prospect of doing your first-ever interview, remotely? It’s a very different experience to being interviewed in person, so requires some thought. Here are our top tips to give you confidence.
Thoroughly research the company you are interviewing for, find out about all the latest developments in the business and make a list of questions that you’d like to ask ready to go. Remember, you’re picking them as much as they’re choosing you. (Don’t leave this until the morning of your interview – if something comes up, you’ll be underprepared.)
Don’t forget to check all their social media channels and look up your interviewer on Linkedin so you have a good sense of the company culture, ethos and team. It might help you decide what to wear too.
Plan your outfit; ensure that whatever you want to wear is clean and ironed. Ask a friend or family member to test you by asking you some standard interview questions over the software that you’ll be using on the day.
Test your tech, make sure everything is working perfectly and you know how to share your screen if you need to. Make sure you’re not sitting with the light behind you so you’re not just a silhouette.
Remove yourself from any distractions. No noisy flat mates, no background music and make sure the wall behind you is as clean and clear as possible (not the time for showing off your photo wall).
The same goes for your desktop if you’re presenting, no photo albums popping up of last year’s big weekend in Amsterdam and turn off your notifications.
Re-read your CV
Have a copy of your CV to hand, read it through beforehand to remind yourself of all the amazing things you’ve done. Have any work you would like to show on your desktop ready for screen sharing if necessary.
Don’t read out pre-written notes
If there are important things you want to say, try writing them onto one or two post-it notes and sticking them around the edges of your screen so you don’t forget.
Have a notepad and pen to hand and don’t be afraid to take notes during the interview, it will only show your enthusiasm.
It may sound a little dramatic, but make sure you have something to drink and eat an hour before so your concentration levels are sharp and do keep a glass of water within reach.
Strike a (power) pose
Professor Amy Cuddy from Harvard University did a social experiment and asked candidates to do power poses (see here) for three minutes before an interview with impressive results. It’s believed that adopting these sorts of expansive postures can make people feel more powerful and therefore more confident.
Sit straight and relax
This will make you look confident (even if you don’t feel it inside). If you suffer from a cracked voice or tend to gabble when nervous it may be worth trying some breathing exercises and tongue twisters or even just singing along to your favourite song to clear your throat and improve your mood.
Despite the temptation to keep your tracksuit bottoms and slippers on when you’re only showing your top half – don’t. Studies have shown that the clothes we wear directly impact the way we feel so it’s worth dressing for the job from top-to-toe so you feel completely ready. Different industries have different dress codes, so dress accordingly. If in doubt, dress ‘up’ rather than down.
Think about the clothes you feel good and yourself in, as long as it still gives a good impression.
Take your time
During the interview, you will likely be feeling nervous. Just as in a ‘normal’ situation, take your time responding to questions. Count to three in your head before answering and don’t be afraid to ask them to repeat the question if it’s unclear. Without the full nuances of body language to work on, our facial expressions become even more important, so smile and nod and be more expressive than usual to show your enthusiasm. Try not to reply with long answers – it’s much harder to read those non-verbal clues when the interviewer isn’t actually in front of you and you want to hold their attention so keep it succinct – just a few sentences will do. If they want you to go into more detail they will ask.
This is not a selfie moment
Don’t look at yourself, don’t play with your hair. Focus on your interviewer and maintain eye contact.
Don’t sweat the tech
If the tech fails or your internet connection cuts, just leave the meeting and rejoin. These things happen, don’t panic, just get back in touch.
Follow up via email (or however you’ve been communicating) to thank them for their time, reiterating your enthusiasm for the job and making sure they have everything they need.
Your scrawled notes will be useful if you have a second interview but won’t make any sense in a few days if you don’t write them up. Consider sending any questions that pop up in the next few days that you wish you’d asked.
Don’t stress – you’ve done your best and if it’s the right job for you, it’ll be yours.