You’re applying for remote employment positions and your search is getting pretty serious. Maybe, you’ve even landed an interview or two, but you’re feeling unsure about the whole process. In order to prepare for the job that you really want, you should be prepared up front and have everything planned out just the way that you want it. Everything from setting, distractions, lighting, notes, and attire can have an impact on your interview. Luckily, you have control over each of these areas. Let’s talk about how to optimize every aspect of your interview for the best possible impression.
Table of Contents
- 1 Choose a Background
- 2 Adjust Lighting
- 3 Dress Appropriately
- 4 Do a Test Drive
- 5 Use Notes
Choose a Background
When you’re deciding on where to do your interview, setting is very important. Your living room, an office, or your bedroom — you’re not sure which is the best choice. Well, there are few things to keep in mind about the setting that you choose before you make your final decision.
Keep the focus on you; nothing busy
First, you want to pick a simple background that doesn’t have distracting images or movement. A solid colored wall or backdrop is great because it doesn’t distract the interviewer with what is going on behind you, you will be the star of the show, which is what you want. You want the interviewer to engage with you and hear everything that you’re saying, not to be distracted by things that don’t pertain to the interview.
In addition, you should pick a place that is completely noise-free. You don’t want music, TV noise, or other people in your home distracting from your conversation. Find a place that is quiet and neutral where you can focus on the interviewer’s questions. You won’t make a great impression if you’re stopping mid-interview to try and calm down some of the noise in your environment. Make sure you have that squared away before hand.
This might seem like a trivial aspect of the interview, but it really is quite important. Having a good balance of light helps your interviewer to connect with you, your expressions, and your voice. If they can’t properly see your face, it will be hard for them to make a lasting impression of you. They won’t be able to connect your personality and inflection with your face, which could be frustrating to an interviewer.
Soft, diffuse lighting is best, instead of direct light.
A good solution is to use indirect light that can accentuate you. This might be an overhead light, a strong lamp, or a window. Either way, you’ll want to make sure that your whole face is illuminated, but not washed out by too much light. If you’re using a lamp, make sure that it’s strong enough to light your room and your entire face. If you choose a window, try not to sit too close to it, otherwise you can get completely washed out. Using an overhead room light is great, but you don’t want it to be too dim. You might decide to put a few of these together in order to get the right feel.
Yes, attire is important, even when you’re applying to work from home. Many remote jobs will require regular video conferences in order to keep in touch with coworkers and managers. Understanding what is work appropriate attire is a good skill to have. You want to give the best possible impression and you also want to feel comfortable and confident in front of the camera, so keep that in mind.
This is a job interview, despite being in your home
Just because you might decide to work in your pajamas in the future, does not mean that you should show up to an interview in them. Dress the same as you would if you were going to meet your interviewer in person. If you prefer to style your hair or put on some makeup, go ahead and do so. You don’t have to do anything that you wouldn’t normally do just for the camera, but make sure that you’re presentable and professional looking.
Do a Test Drive
The most important element of a remote interview is understanding what you need technologically in order to make it work. You don’t want to have a stuttering connection and a loud computer fan blasting over the top of your conversation. If you’re not sure that your internet can keep up with the fast speeds of a video call or if your computer will be able to process the interaction, it might be a good idea to try and borrow some equipment. If you’re able to land the job, you’ll want to make sure that the devices that you have will keep up with your day to day work as well.
Make sure your camera and mic work; that your connection is fast enough
Once you have your equipment ready and set up, do a test run. If you use services like HireVue, Google Hangouts, or Skype you can usually test your connection and your microphone to make sure that you’re coming through smoothly as well as loud and clear. Run several tests if you can just to make sure that you have all the bugs worked out. It’s also a great idea to test your video beforehand to make sure that your background and lighting are looking good and that there are no unwanted sounds coming through.
If you are interested in this opportunity enough to interview, it’s a good idea to come prepared with research and questions for your interviewer. Take a look at what resources the company has available online and jot down some points that you find interesting. If you have any questions that arise during your research, write those down too.
Keep notes off camera that you can reference during the interview
It’s also always a good idea to write down the standard questions that you might be curious about from any company and keep those to the side as well. If you’re being considered for the position you might want to know about benefits, salary, time off, and all other usual aspects of employment. Just make sure that you don’t spring those types of questions too early. That might be information to save for a follow up or secondary interview.
Good examples of (appropriately timed) questions are “what’s your favorite part about the company?” or “can you tell me about your journey with the company?” These types of engaging questions help you to get to know them as individuals but also give you an idea of the work culture you could be looking forward to. Half of the interview is making sure that you’re going to like the job, not only showing them that you’re qualified for it.
If you come prepared, you can undoubtedly nail a perfect remote interview. Taking the time to make sure that your setting is right, your lighting is perfect, you’ve done your research, and you’re without distractions will really show your initiative to your potential employer. If you can pull together all of these elements you’re sure to have a smashing interview that the employer will positively remember.
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