We know that remote jobs are becoming more common; however, not everyone wants—or finds—remote work. Regardless of the work location of the job you are applying to, you may still be required to interview remotely, by phone and over video.
Communicating with video through Microsoft Teams and Zoom has become a necessity at some organizations, and depending on their process or current circumstances, it is likely that your first interview may be over video.
Although certain aspects of the interview process may have changed over the years, it is easy to apply some best practices as you prepare for your virtual job interview. Apply these five simple steps to stand out in your interview as a professional with remote communication skills.
Practice Makes Perfect
Regardless of how often you have used Zoom or Teams, it’s always helpful to test your settings and software before the big day. Open the interviewer’s preferred video application you will be using and log in—if an account is necessary—to test your username and password. Check for any software updates, then go to the settings to test your camera and microphone. While testing your camera, be aware of the lighting and your background.
Manage the Aesthetics of Your View
“Lighting should be bright and even and preferably come from in front of you and never behind you to avoid casting shadows on your face. Your background should be interesting but not distracting—consider using a the virtual background feature.” (Zoom Online Event Best Practice Guide, January 2020)
Be Prepared to Share
If the job interview calls for reviewing examples of your work or a portfolio, be prepared to share your screen. If you are using Zoom, you can share your entire screen or just one window at a time. If you plan to show off your work or portfolio hosted on a website, open the webpage before the interview in a separate window so you won’t need to share your entire screen. Consider disabling or hiding visible bookmarks or plugins on your web browser. Turning off desktop notifications—emails, calendar, and iMessages—is another consideration you may want to make to avoid sharing unwanted personal information with the interviewer.
Make Eye Contact
“Look at your webcam instead of your screen. This will give the effect of eye contact and visual engagement. Use the gestures and mannerisms that you would typically use in person. If you are viewing the video feed of others, try moving that feed to a monitor position just below your webcam to make this easier.” (Zoom Online Event Best Practice Guide, January 2020)
For example, if you use multiple monitors, move the video application to the screen with a built-in webcam. Or use a laptop if your monitor doesn’t have a webcam. If you must use your phone for the interview, turn it horizontally and place it in a phone stand. That will keep your phone steady and allow your hands to be free. It will also put your video feed in the same orientation as the interviewer, who would most likely be on a computer to conduct the interview.
Communicate Your Concerns
With a remote interview, you do not need to worry about finding parking or getting lost in a high-rise building, but you may still encounter some troubles on the day of your interview. If your webcam isn’t functioning, your internet connection isn’t stable, or the meeting link they provided isn’t working, be sure to communicate these issues quickly! Depending on the situation, the interviewer may opt to reschedule or suggest another form of conducting the interview.
By practicing for your virtual interview and applying these best practices, you will be confident and prepared for your remote interview. For all our remote job openings, search “remote” from our Job Listings page.