6 remote job interview tips from knowledgeable career experts

Preparing for a remote job interview can sometimes be daunting.

Luckily, career experts and HR professionals have mastered the craft and know how to assemble smooth virtual meetings. 

Here are six tips you should keep in mind next time you have to hop on a video call with a prospective employer, according to experts.

Dress to impress… even if it’s virtual

James Philip, the founder of Employment BOOST – a full-service career services brand in Troy, Michigan, said it’s important to dress for a remote interview the same way you would an in-person one.

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“Make sure your clothes are pressed, and try to wear things that match. Have your hair styled,” Philip told FOX Business. “Something we hear all the time from employers is how they’ve pulled someone up on the interview, and it looks like they’ve just rolled out of bed.”

Dressing professionally is still a must for remote and in-person interviews. (iStock)

Philip said he advises that job candidates take remote interviews “seriously” and put in “more effort” if they want to make a positive first impression.

“Keep in mind no one ever looks that great on video, so you almost have to go above and beyond what you normally would for an in-person meeting,” Philip continued. “This is definitely one of those things where effort is going to pay off, and you’re not going to regret it.”

Your interview background matters, too

The space where you host your remote interview also matters, said Dave Rietsema, the founder and CEO at Matchr.com – a human resource software company.

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“It’s important to prepare not only yourself and your own appearance, but also your interview space. Your home office setup also plays a role in the first impression,” Rietsema told FOX Business. “The space behind you should look professional and neat.”

Man cleans computer desk area

Having a tidy interview space can help you make a positive first impression during a remote meeting. (iStock)

Rietsema noted that job candidates should also seek out a space that has minimal external distractions like noise.

“The interviewer will want to know that you can handle remote meetings professionally,” he said. “This is especially important if the interview is for a remote position.”

Figure out your tech setup before the actual interview 

Making sure the equipment you plan to use for your remote interview is in working order before your scheduled interview will make the task go smoother, according to Margaret Buj, a multi-region senior Talent Partner at Mixmax – a sales engagement platform in San Francisco.

“Test audio and camera and lighting before the interview,” Buj told FOX Business. “Elevate your laptop to avoid staring down into the camera. If you don’t have a laptop stand, put your laptop on a few books. It’s really not a good angle to have the laptop on the table while you’re staring down at it.”

Headset near computer

Computers, headsets, external microphones and webcams, lights, internet routers and phones are common pieces of equipment used during remote interviews. (iStock)

Having a laptop at a higher angle will help job candidates in maintaining eye contact with interviewers through the camera, Buj added. This tactic helps “build rapport” because “it’ll seem like you’re looking directly at them,” she said.

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In terms of lighting, Buj suggests using natural daylight from a nearby window or investing in an “inexpensive” ring light.

“Ideally you want to be facing daylight,” Buj said. “Lots of people have their windows behind them which means there is no light on their faces and the screen looks very dark.”

Glitches happen, but you need to be able to handle them

In a remote setting, there are bound to be some hiccups – even if you’ve prepped your space in advance.

Having backup plans for unexpected disturbances will likely help you remain calm if a tech issue interrupts your remote interview, said Dr. Kate Tulenko, the founder and CEO at Corvus Health – a medical workforce recruitment company in Alexandria, Virginia.

“You should have a backup plan in case your Wi-Fi goes out,” Tulenko told FOX Business. “This might include having a second router or switching to your smartphone.”

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Woman talks to phone camera during remote interview

Using a smartphone for a remote interview could work just as well as a laptop or desktop computer if you have an appropriate phone stand. (iStock)

If a smartphone has to be used as a laptop or desktop replacement, Tulenko recommends having a smartphone stand ready so you can continue your remote interview from your mobile device.

“For sudden noise reduction, you should have an alternate site to work from on the other side of your house or apartment in case there is a loud nose where you are,” Tulenko added. “A white noise machine can also help.”

Remember your typical pre-interview prep

Ensuring your remote interview is aesthetically and technologically up to par is only one part of the remote interview song and dance.

Job candidates should remember that there’s an actual interview they need to prep for as well, said Jill Hauwiller, a global executive coach and adjunct professor at Leadership Refinery –a talent development service in Vancouver, Canada.

Remote interview with resume

Research the company you’re interviewing with, so you’ll have questions and responses ready. (iStock)

“Preparation for all aspects of an interview is the key to a smooth experience,” Hauwiller told FOX Business. 

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“As you research the company to get ready for the interview, keep in mind what you value in a workplace and how this opportunity could match with your career goals,” she continued. “Use these insights to develop your questions for the interviewer to build your understanding of the workplace culture and the hiring manager’s leadership style.”