10 tips to remote interview success. Have you charged that battery?

Actress Jennifer Lawrence, of Hunger Games fame, bagged an Oscar for her role in Silver Linings Playbook – you remember, she fell over – but, did you know she made her first impression on her future director via Skype?

But the remote interview’s not just popular in Hollywood and amongst its jet-setting stars! More and more employers are choosing to interview over the telephone or via video call.

Whether for reasons of location, cost or just convenience candidates are likely to find themselves interviewed remotely at some point. So, what should you wear? Where should you do it? And, how should you prepare?

We asked these questions and more to our savvy consultants.

1. How should we prepare for a remote interview?

The first point of difference when it comes to remote interviews is that you need to prepare your equipment.

If your interview is via phone you’ll need to make sure you have somewhere quiet to take the call, where you won’t be interrupted.

If it’s a video call then you must test your software and equipment before the day and also before taking the call.

Consider using a handsfree receiver so you don’t have to faff around with handheld devices, while simultaneously making notes. Tweet: Consider using a handsfree receiver so you don’t have to faff around with handheld devices. @Angel_HR_UK #QAngel goo.gl/OmcUaq
Then, practice.

2. You mean we should rehearse the interview?

While you can’t necessarily plan for every interview eventuality, you can at least make sure you know how to use your equipment.

That means making sure your quiet call spot has a good signal and that you know what to do if the call gets cut off – have you got a telephone number or email contact, for example?

If you’re doing a video call and you’re not used to it then you need to make sure: your surroundings look tidy; find out where you need to face to make a good impression; and ensure you know how to receive the call or fix any common tech issues which might occur.

3. Can I do the interview in my PJs?

If you’re on the phone, then you can wear what you like, in theory, although donning smarter clothes will help get your mind in that professional zone.

But, if you’re on a video call of course you’ll need to look the part – arguably this is even more important when your interviewer can’t read all your body language easily.

However sitting at home in a suit and tie can look a bit extreme, so check out the company website and social media streams to get a handle on the company dress code.

Remember: don’t be tempted to do ‘comedy newsreader’ and go smart on top shorts on the bottom! Tweet: Remember: don’t be tempted to do ‘comedy newsreader’ and go smart on top shorts on the bottom! @Angel_HR_UK #QAngel goo.gl/OmcUaq
​​You could have to get up and fix a technical hitch!

4. What else do I need?

The upside of remote interviews is you can have your CV by your side as a prompt. Also have some some information from the prospective employer about the role and company.

And, like any regular interview do consider the kinds of questions they’re likely to ask and prepare your answers accordingly [take a look at our interview technique blog HERE].

5. What form is a remote interview likely to take then?

Some employers use telephone interviews, for example, as a way to filter candidates before inviting them in for a face to face Q&A.

In this case they’re probably looking to get a feel for your confidence and company fit, and it may well be short, sharp affair as they whittle down their list.

On the other hand it could be a detailed Q&A for an hour plus.

Ask about the interview structure before, or at the top of, the call so you know what to expect. Tweet: Ask about the interview structure before, or at the top of, the call so you know what to expect @Angel_HR_UK #QAngel goo.gl/OmcUaq

6. What should I do during the call?

As you can’t judge reactions in the same way as in an in-person interview it can be harder to make an impression. Tweet: It can be harder to make an impression. @Angel_HR_UK #QAngel goo.gl/OmcUaq
Plus, you haven’t got the body language cues you need to check you’re on the right track – especially on phone.

So, you could finish your answers by asking if that was what they needed to know, or if they’d like you to go into more detail – that avoids uncomfortable silences or the temptation to ramble.

Plus, you should show them you’re listening.

7. How do I show an interviewer I’m listening to them then?

Body language 101 – whether you’re interviewed online or on the phone – don’t fiddle around with stuff! Tweet: Whether you’re interviewed online or on the phone – don’t fiddle around with stuff! @Angel_HR_UK #QAngel goo.gl/OmcUaq
While your restless fingers might want to tap and tinker nothing says “I’m nervous!” or “I’m distracted!” like tapping on the keyboard.

We’ve all made calls to someone “in the middle of something else” and it’s disconcerting to say the least! Make any notes with a pen and paper not on the computer or laptop.

8. What if I need to adjust a connection or fix a blip?

One common tech-based blip we hear of is the battery death.

This is one problem you can avoid! Just as you prepared by familiarising yourself with your equipment you must also ensure your laptop or phone has enough juice to last the interview.

But if you’ve got a real technical problem don’t start faffing around. Even if you think you’re doing it with finesse, you’re probably not.

9. What should we do in the face of a real technical issue then?

If you can’t hear a question, for example, ask them to repeat it – don’t assume you know what they said! Tweet: If you can’t hear a question, ask them to repeat it – don’t assume you know what they said! @Angel_HR_UK #QAngel goo.gl/OmcUaq
If the problem persists mention it to the interviewer.

You can always cancel the call and connect again – do this well and you could be showcasing your ability to be calm under pressure and problem-solve on the spot!

10. Any last pointers?

Yes. Smile!

In an in-person interview you’d smile on arrival and at various points during your interview. Remember, if you’re bedazzled by cameras and haunted by equipment fears then you’re likely to be looking worried, distracted or confused.

So, smile! It helps break the ice and build rapport. It even works on the phone – conveying a relaxed demeanour. Tweet: So, smile! It helps break the ice and build rapport. It even works on the phone. @Angel_HR_UK #QAngel goo.gl/OmcUaq

Now over to you:

Have any thoughts on what you’ve read? Have you had issues with remote interviews? Got any burning questions we could put to future Q & Angel guests? As ever, we want to hear what you’ve got to say!

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