Are you looking for new job opportunities or planning to make a career move? Well, now is a great time to get in on the job search action. According to recent data from ZipRecruiter, the number of job vacancies was up to nearly 15 million in March, almost five million more than the pre-pandemic peak. As more people get vaccinated and companies look to hire and scale up to meet booming demand, experts expect to see more job candidates on the market.
While the uptick in job openings is good news, the reality of the ongoing pandemic can’t be overlooked. Many jobs are still partially or fully remote, so chances are, if you’re looking for a job right now, you’ll probably be interviewing remotely. And while remote interviews have some big benefits, there are downsides. You don’t get to meet potential teammates, check out the offices, or get a real sense of the company culture. And then there are the technical issues and accidents that can make a virtual interview go off the rails.
In addition to these challenges, you’re also more likely to have increased competition for jobs that are remote since the usual restrictions, like location, no longer apply. So, how do you stand out from the crowd of candidates? We’re reframing four common interview tips to help you ace your next remote interview and land the job.
1. Dress Up Your Space
Most job search advice will tell you to dress for the job you want. This usually means dressing professionally, even for a remote interview. But what most advice overlooks is the space around you during a job interview. You get to control what the interviewer sees on the screen and your background is a great way to showcase your uniqueness and who you are. Try to pick an area ahead of time where you can quietly do the interview and then spend a little time dressing up the space. What does your background say about you?
Here’s a few suggestions for how to prepare your space to present your best self during the job interview.
- Make sure your space is clean and clutter free. A messy background is likely to draw attention away from you.
- Check your lighting and position your computer so your face is well-lit. Avoid being backlit or in shadow.
- Check what’s on the wall or bookcase behind you. Are there any special items you can include that might spark conversation? Also, be sure to remove anything that’s not interview-appropriate.
If you don’t have a good space for your interview, virtual backgrounds are okay. But choose an office or professional setting and avoid the beaches, nature scenes, or comedy inspired backdrops. Also, if you do go with a virtual scene, try to limit your movement during the interview so your video stays focused on you.
2. Prepare Ahead of Time
In many ways, a virtual interview is similar to an in-person interview, especially when it comes to interview prep. For example, it’s always a good idea to research the company beforehand. Check out their Glassdoor reviews, look over their website, visit any social media pages, and familiarize yourself with company leadership and those you might encounter during the interview process. Then, to really set yourself apart, think about what makes you different from other candidates. How do your experiences or skills align with the company’s needs? What makes you a great fit for their company culture? Identifying these areas ahead of time will help you speak to the value you’d bring to the company during the interview.
In addition to company research and preparing your answers to common questions, you’ll also want to practice with the interview platform before your remote interview. Find out what platform the company will be using (Teams, WebEx, Zoom, etc.), download the latest version, and review the features the platform offers. It might even be helpful to do some practice calls with family or friends ahead of time, so you’re ready to go on the day of your interview.
Of course, even with preparation, technology issues might still arise, so have a backup plan. Let the interviewer know how they can get in touch with you in case the internet goes out or your mic stops working. And if problems do come up, try to stay calm. Your virtual interview might not go as planned, but you can still leave a good impression on your potential employer.
3. Practice Your Virtual Presence
One big challenge with remote interviews is the reduced visibility of body language. When interviewing in person, you can pick up important cues from the facial expressions and gestures of your interviewer and they can do the same with you. However, during a virtual interview, much of this non-verbal communication gets lost on the screen. To counter this, consider practicing your virtual presence.
A good place to start is with your tone of voice and spoken cadence. Try not to talk so fast that your interviewer can’t keep up or so slowly that they become disengaged. It can also be helpful to add in deliberate pauses to emphasize important points and allow your interviewer space to comment or ask follow-up questions.
Additionally, in place of your usual body language cues, try adding in hand gestures that can be seen on the screen. In a recent study on virtual interviews, a team at the Harvard Business Review found that 89% of successful candidates (those that ultimately received employment offers) used wide hand gestures for exciting points and moved their hands closer to their heart when sharing personal details. The research also found that maintaining an open posture and avoiding crossed arms helped candidates better connect with their interviewer and made them seem more trustworthy.
Finally, as tempting as it can be to look at your own reflection, do you best to simulate eye contact with the interviewer by looking at your webcam, not the screen. It might even be helpful to adjust the settings on your platform and turn off video mirroring once the interview gets started so that you can’t see your own reflection at all.
4. Have a Conversation
A remote interview done over video might not sound as exciting as an interview held face-to-face. But that doesn’t mean the interview has to be boring. Remember, an interview is a conversation and you get to determine how lively or engaging the conversation will be. Ask your interviewer questions about their work and experience at the company and be interested in what they have to say. Find out if you share common interests or professional connections and mention these during lulls in the conversation.
Last but not least, be yourself. Remote interviews and remote work are here to stay, so be honest about who you are and what you’re looking for in your next position. That way, when you ace your next remote interview and get the offer, you can be sure the job is the right fit.
Ready to put your remote interview skills to the test? KORE1 can help you find the job that’s right for you. Contact us to get started.