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  • Writer's pictureMC Mendez

Ready for a successful remote interview?

In addition to my coaching activity, I also support people looking for work and who wish to prepare for interviews. While there are a lot of similarities between face-to-face and remote interviews, it's worth looking into the little tips and tricks so you don't fall into certain pitfalls.

Return to the basics, such as preparing for typical questions like: “Why do you think you are the best candidate?” or “What are your worst flaws? "etc ... such as dressing appropriately for the type of job you’re applying for, such as learning about the company in question and its activities, are things to consider regardless of the type of interview. Before you read on, if you’re actually looking for advice on these essential aspects, do not hesitate to read the post: "Owning that job interview"

However if you’re about to carry out an interview remotely, you might want to make a few adjustments with your set up and context. For example, choose carefully where you will be doing your interview. Avoid high-traffic areas if you don't live alone. Avoid noisy rooms. Close the windows for maximum concentration when the time comes.

Become aware of what is going on behind you. It is better to show a pleasant, clean, tidy, even neutral space than an unnamed mess that could distract participants. Beware of the functionality that allows you to blur or change your background, it can be useful but if you move a lot then you will also be distorted or truncated and this could also destabilize those who look at you and listen to you. Instead, favour a visible but uncluttered backdrop.

In the same way that you would have perhaps checked the place and the timing necessary to arrive at a face-to-face interview, test your Internet connection and the application (especially audio and camera settings) that you are supposed to be using during the interview. This will avoid a potential irritating "technical interval" before even starting. Familiarize yourself with the application (watch some tutorials on the internet if necessary). Make sure that your Internet connection is not at risk of being cut off. If you live with other people, let them know that you have an important online meeting at such and such a time and ask them to refrain from downloading large files or streaming their favourite series!

Then, prepare yourself for some specifics of online interviews. Some people may turn off their cameras, either out of necessity or in an attempt to throw you off and see your reaction. If you don't mind, don't worry, but if it might catch you off guard, be prepared for it.

Watch out for the “mirror-syndrome”. If you see yourself (your video feed) in addition to the participants, be careful not to look at yourself regularly. In a multi-party interview this might go unnoticed, but if you talk to just one other person, that person might wonder what you are continually looking at. She/he might even think that you are looking at notes or messages that have nothing to do with the interview. In face-to-face interviews we don't have a live video feed of ourselves so don't hesitate to put a post-it on your video feed and keep your sole focus on the interviewer(s). It will also prevent you from observing and judging yourself, which could be a source of distraction.

Finally, the advantage of having a remote interview is that you stay in your usual environment. Which is heart-warming for most, unless that environment doesn't lend itself to it at all, in which case, try doing this at a friend's or family member's house, which might be a more appropriate context.

Wherever you may be, this familiar setting, which is not fully visible to your future interlocutors (anything outside the camera) could tempt you to surround yourself with all kinds of information and reminders, so as not to forget anything. Be careful, this technique is more confusing than helpful, as it actively distracts. If you look up information among your notes, you will no longer be present to the interview and its participants, and it will quickly show and you might also lose the plot in the process.

Once again, have confidence in what you know as well as in your preparation and treat this part of the interview as you would have done in person, ie without cheats!

For the rest, if you need more general information on how to prepare for a job interview, feel free to read the article on this subject named: “Owning that job interview”. In the meantime may the force be with you face-to-face or remotely!

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