How to Interview for Remote Jobs: 13 Tips
How to interview for remote jobs? Don’t feel like reading? Listen here!
Remote jobs aren’t going away, and for good reason. There are numerous reasons why working remotely is attractive to job seekers from all over the world and from all demographics. Greater flexibility, variety in workplace settings, and the ability to care for children or aging or ill loved ones are all reasons remote work appeals to so many people.
Did you know that the percentage of Americans working in remote jobs has increased by a whopping 417% since pre-pandemic times? It’s true. And while many are returning to the office for various reasons or considering hybrid roles rather than remote positions, the number of remote jobs continues to increase.
Whatever your reasons for applying for remote jobs, you may be currently conducting a job search specifically for remote work. Part of that job search process includes interviewing, and you’ll need to know how to navigate the interview process. How is interviewing for a remote job different from a hybrid or traditional workplace setting? What do you need to know and do to succeed when interviewing for remote jobs?
1. Know Your Odds
The odds of landing a remote job are less than 1%. Then why try?
Many people are interested in working remotely, but there simply aren’t enough remote jobs posted to keep up with the demand. Don’t give up, but don’t have unrealistic expectations, either.
It’s very likely you will need to apply for 100 jobs before you land an interview for one of them unless you’re highly qualified, have a perfectly targeted resume, and are applying for a niche role with a lower number of applicants.
Be patient and smart about keeping your application materials available to copy and paste and tailor as you go. Otherwise, you’ll waste lots of time in the job search.
2. Communicate Mindfully
“Pay attention to the clarity of any messages you send back and forth with interviewers and managers. In my experience, clarity of written communication says a lot about what it will be like to communicate with that person on a daily basis,” suggests Heather Budrevičienė, Editor-in-Chief of DailyCoin.
In addition to clarity, be sure your verbal and non-verbal communication is appropriate and concise. Recruiters and hiring managers will be much more likely to enjoy their interactions with you if you demonstrate that you are thoughtful, considerate, and conscientious when writing, talking, and listening.
3. Check Your Brand
Before the interview (ideally, before you launch your job search), check your brand. Google yourself. Take a hard look at your social media profiles, posts, and engagement with others. Be sure you’re not shooting yourself in the foot by branding yourself as someone who is argumentative, negative, or inappropriate.
Understand that 92% of employers admit to checking social media prior to the interview.
4. Create a Great Interview Space
Put some thought and effort into creating a professional, comfortable interview space. Think about the camera angle. What will employers see behind you when you’re conducting a virtual interview?
Don’t forget to consider sound. Eliminate distracting background noise as much as possible. The same goes for background action. Close window blinds (if the window is behind you). Shut the door and ask your family or roommates to keep it closed for the duration of the interview. The last thing you want to do is eliminate yourself from consideration because your roommate barges in to ask if he can borrow your car.
5. Check Tech
“Test the technology before using it, especially if it’s a platform you haven’t used before. Ensure you have a clean background appearance that’s distraction-free,” notes Kim Ealy, MPC, Resume Writer & Career Coach.
Be sure you’re comfortable with platform settings if you’re participating in a virtual interview.
If you’re being interviewed by phone, be sure to use a phone you’re already familiar with so you can cancel incoming calls quickly and easily and adjust the volume and other last-minute tech settings as needed without fumbling over buttons. And above all, charge your phone or laptop to avoid an embarrassing shutdown.
6. Research Before the Interview
“It’s important for the candidate to research the company (their vision, mission, etc.) before the interview. Knowing a company’s culture helps you speak their language and also assess for yourself whether you are a good fit and whether you would be happy taking up a role in that space,” says Ruqya Khan, PCC, Author and Founder of SMILETASTIC.
In addition, review the job posting or description carefully. Take notes about what you believe the employer is looking for, whether you have it, and how you can address the employer’s needs during the interview.
“Have three to five questions prepared that focus on their current pain points and goals so you can respond on how you can help. Ask what you can study or do to prep on your own ahead of time should you be selected. For example, you can explore new software programs if necessary,” shares Ealy.
Practicing is key regardless of the interview setting. However, it may be even more important for remote job interviews because your facial expressions are more conspicuous on video than when the employer is sitting in the same room, observing all nonverbal cues. In addition, virtual interviews are often shorter, so you need to consider an economy of words. Don’t waste time on unnecessary monologues or with too much chit-chat.
One of the best ways to prepare is to record yourself responding to interview questions in advance. Consider asking your career coach, mentor, or friend to record a Zoom session with you. Provide practice questions for your volunteer interviewer, and prepare your responses in advance.
Watch your recording later. Ask your volunteer interviewer to provide honest feedback about your performance, including verbal responses and nonverbal cues.
8. Pay Attention to Nonverbal Cues
Again, while it is crucial to practice verbal responses to common interview questions, you don’t want to forget to pay attention to nonverbal cues either. Nonverbal communication often speaks more loudly than words. What are you saying with your eyes, your fidgeting, your hand movements, and your tone of voice?
9. Prepare Responses
Get familiar with common interview questions and prepare your verbal responses in advance. But don’t stop with common interview questions. Based on your research of the company and position, prepare a few pointed questions you suspect the employer may ask or issues the employer may address. If you have ever been fired or laid off, prepare to address that. If you have an employment gap on your resume, find ways to address the gap while selling yourself at the same time.
Michael Stinnett, Career Coach, encourages candidates to prepare responses in story format when possible.
“Use stories to be more memorable when answering questions. People remember stories, and you want them to remember you,” Stinnett shares.
10. Address Remote-Ready Attributes
“Adopt remote work practices that support your effectiveness in working remotely so you can communicate (without hesitation) your ability to add value. Some areas to consider are time management, agility, working with minimal supervision, ability to meet deadlines, understanding of project management platforms, and work-life harmonics,” adds Brandon Wright, Ph.D., Career Center Director at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.
Prepare responses that incorporate your remote work experience and address your work style, workplace preferences, and your ability to manage others remotely.
“Be prepared to give specific details on how you will add value (ROI) to the company in working remotely,” states Jim Corter, President of Corter Consulting, Inc.
11. Get Contact Information in Advance
Before the interview, ask your recruiter or interviewer to share their email address and phone number, even if the interview is on Zoom. If technology fails midway through the interview, you want to be able to email or call to reschedule. If bad weather knocks out your internet connection five minutes prior to the interview, it will be handy to have a phone number to text.
Explain this to the interviewer when asking for contact information. This shows the interviewer that you’re thoughtful and that you plan in advance to prevent problems from occurring.
12. Keep Calm
If interviews make you nervous, you’re not alone. Interviewing for remote jobs may be new territory for you if you’ve always interviewed for jobs in traditional workplace settings. Fear of a new setting, unfamiliarity with technology, and worries related to appearance and verbal responses can get the better of you. What can you do to keep yourself calm during the interview?
One of the best ways to prevent nerves during the interview is to prepare and practice. Review common interview questions, formulate responses, and do your research.
Develop two or three calming techniques to relieve anxiety in advance. Consider meditating shortly before the interview or practicing deep breathing techniques. Take a brief walk to clear your head and refocus your mind. Eat a healthy snack and avoid excessive caffeine or nicotine to ensure you aren’t overwhelmed by jitters.
13. Follow Up
Lastly, follow up after your interviews for remote jobs. Email your interviewer to express gratitude for the opportunity to interview and to ask about the next steps. Connect on professional social media platforms. And follow the company on LinkedIn to stay abreast of future remote jobs.
If you’re diligent about preparing, practicing, and professionally communicating, you will land a remote job more quickly and find that great balance and flexibility you’re seeking.
Be sure to check out job postings and more job search tips at Lensa.