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  • Charlotte Worth

Getting it remotely.


Going for an interview under normal circumstances is hard enough but doing it remotely can seem even more daunting. So, what can you do to make sure you nail it and stand out from everyone else? Here are a few tips to help you through the process.


What to wear? When it comes to the style of clothing, you should obviously still wear clothing that will blend in with the culture of the company you are applying to. However, stay away from loud patterns, stripes and logos as this can be distracting. If the company’s normal dress is business attire, then make sure you are wearing something more formal, but if you are wearing a suit and tie maybe leave off the jacket as that might look odd. However, what ever you decide to wear make sure that you still feel like you......the confident you.


Think about your room background. A recent study carried out for Harvard Business Review showed that 60% of respondents said they didn’t like to see a fake scenic background. So, keep your background real, but keep it simple. Remember you are not in an episode of Through the Keyhole so find somewhere in your house that is quite neutral, as you don’t want to distract your interviewer with clutter or mess. Also, by letting the interviewer see the way you live, it is giving out unnecessary information that does not relate to the job. Make sure you have rehearsed your interview in this area beforehand so that you know exactly what it will look like to the interviewer.

Rehearse what you are going to say before the interview. This is something that we should always do before an interview, but even more so when we are doing it remotely. This is because when we are nervous and are not sure what we are saying we tend to monitor ourselves on the small screen window of ourselves, which will be distracting to the interviewer and may highlight that we are not confident in what we are saying. Perhaps switch that box off altogether to make sure there is no distraction.

Those visual clues. One very important thing that is missing from a remote meeting is all the non-verbal communication that you are normally able to pick up on when you are with a person face to face Non verbal communication is the way you listen, look, move, and react and shows the person you’re communicating with whether or not you care, if you’re being truthful, and how well you’re listening. When your nonverbal signals match up with the words you’re saying, they increase trust, clarity, and rapport. When they don’t, they can generate tension, mistrust, and confusion. If it’s missing it is a bit like reading between the lines of a text and not necessarily reading them correctly. There is a lot of research to say that if we don’t have this feedback then we tend to err towards thinking that things are not going well, even if they are. So, wherever possible try and prepare for this. Amy Gallo, Editor of the Harvard Business Review suggests using a mantra when you start to doubt your performance. Or spend five minutes before the interview mentally reviewing all the reasons the interview is likely to go well.

Another thing to think about is exaggerating your emotions slightly. Unless your interviewer has a really good pair of headphones, it is likely that your voice will become compressed and therefore lose a lot of the tones that show emotion. So, it might be a good idea to practice with a friend or partner to see how you come across on a video call both in your vocal tones and your body language. Alternatively, you could try recording yourself answering a few standard questions and see how you react. However, I don’t know about you, but I hate looking at myself on screen, so doing that would probably make me more self conscious. However, each to their own and practice is the key. But please don’t over focus on it so that it makes you nervous, just keep it at the back of your mind that it is something that you need to be aware of.

What about small talk. This is something that I found really hard when I first started coaching virtually. When you meet people in person it is easier to break the tension with small talk about where you are, your journey there, the room etc. However, when it is remote it is a lot harder. So have a few general chit chat questions up your sleeve to help you feel relaxed before the interview starts.

If you are doing the interview on the phone, perhaps do the interview standing up and walk around. The movement will create energy in your voice. Many radio presenters stand up when they are broadcasting as it makes them sound more dynamic. Also, if you can, use a landline as the connection is still the best.

Make sure you have placed your device in a good position. Find your best angle. Remember the interviewer does not want to look up your nose, or only see the top half of your head. Make sure the camera is positioned so that they can see the upper half of your body. Also make sure that you are looking directly at the camera. If you are having to do it on your phone, make sure it is on a secure stand so that it doesn’t slip down. Plus, you don’t want to have to hold it for the entire interview as not only will your arm ache, but the movement will be distracting to the interviewer. It will also stop you from being yourself, particularly if you are someone that uses their hands when talking. Place the video meeting window at the top of your screen, as close to your computer's camera as possible. Your eyes will then be pointed in the vicinity of your camera, giving the impression that you are looking at the person you are talking to.

Make sure that the noise levels in your house are low. So, if you have kids, maybe they can have some extra screen time. I know that my kids would love that! Keep windows closed so that you are not distracted by outside noises, such as the bin men coming for their weekly collection, or sirens, lorries, dogs barking etc.

Have a piece of paper and pen nearby, as well as a copy of your CV. Just as you would during an in-person interview, jot down important questions you want to ask, reference dates and key skills on your CV. Take notes about the position that the hiring manager shares with you. In fact, doing the interview remotely can be a plus point as you can have all your reminders written out in front of you so that you don’t forget something important in the interview and no one will be any the wiser. You could even have a giant crib board behind the camera with all your answers written on there. You could never do that in a face to face interview.


Find out beforehand what online technology they are using. Then, install whatever you will need to conduct the interview well ahead of the meeting start time. Acquaint yourself with it so that you know exactly how to use it. Make sure the camera, speakers and microphone are working. Close unnecessary software that may slow down your connection, and make sure that you have switched off all notifications as the messages might distract you.

Get some decent headphones. They don’t have to be expensive, but they should have a good mic as you don’t want background noise or distortion to ruin your conversation.


Do not stress about your internet connection not working. There is definitely a chance that there will be a sudden interference. Whenever a plane flies over our house, our internet always goes wobbly. So just smile, tell them what has happened and ask them to repeat their question or the sentence they have said. Also keep everyone else off any devices that might slow down the internet. Check what your computer is running in the background and shut down anything non-essential that might compete with your video meeting for internet bandwidth or for your attention. If you can setup as near to your Wi-Fi router as possible that will help, or even better if you can plug in to the router.


And lastly don’t be too late or too early. Log in on time. If you are early there is always a chance that you might accidentally join another meeting that is still wrapping up.

Finally, good luck! You’ve got this!

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