Best Practices and Key Insights when Interviewing Remotely
Working from home is becoming the new normal for many industries, which requires a mind-shift in the way we interview and interact at work. Not having the pressure of arriving at a new place on time is the ultimate advantage of interviewing from home, but there are still some other things to consider. Even if you’re in Poughkeepsie, NY interviewing for a remote role in Miami, you can maximize your on-screen presentation and leave potential employers with a great lasting impression.
5 Interviewing Best Practices for that Work-From-Home role:
- Make sure that you have a clean background. Whether you’re using a virtual background feature or interviewing in your living room, the area behind your body is a reflection of you. A pleasant and tidy background environment is always a plus, and it minimizes distractions.
- Test your technology. Try out the interview invitation link beforehand. Most applications will give you a preview of how you look in the virtual waiting room long before the actual time of the invite. Do a mic and webcam check regularly to prevent glitches. Technical proficiency is a premium skill in a WFH environment.
- Create a professional online persona. Any information used for contact purposes, including your email and login name, should be clear, simple, and professional.
- Dress as you would in-person. Even though you could probably get away with interviewing in your pajama bottoms, dressing up fully will reframe your mindset into a focused mode. Dress and groom as you would for a real, in-person interview. You’ll feel more confident.
- Find good lighting. Positioning yourself next to a window or investing in a lighting device can do wonders for your overall on-screen presentation.
In addition to presenting yourself well on-screen, there are a few key attributes that employers look for when staffing and recruiting for distributed workforces. These qualities reassure employers that regardless of reduced “water cooler time,” as one would have in a traditional office, their team members can stay focused, engaged, and on-task:
- Reliability – do your research on the company and show up on time. Start your track record for being reliable at the interview. Reliability demonstrates that you will be well-informed, prepared, and available to your team.
- Communicative – Express ideas clearly and thoroughly, but don’t be afraid to show some personality. When slack and zoom platforms are the only means of interaction, making communication personable can play to your advantage. Work relationships can still be fortified through engaging online communication. Stay within bounds of professionalism, of course, but it’s okay to let the person on the other side of your screen know that you’re smiling. When you’re on camera, speak with your hands when you can. These skills may take some practice in the mirror, but learning to be an engaging communicator on-screen is invaluable.
- Independent – Performing independently is the crux of being productive in a WFH environment. Demonstrate how you have been able to work successfully independently in previous experiences.
- Takes initiative – Your manager or team members might not always be immediately available to you, and you won’t be able to see what they’re doing as you would in an office. Promote yourself as someone who tastefully and respectfully takes initiative. When you’re the first to initiate, just be clear, concise, and respectful of the other party’s time. Eventually, through reading the way that they respond, you can learn to match and develop a rhythm for taking initiative without overwhelming your manager or coworker.
Working remotely has its perks, but still requires effort to be done well. Interviewing for a WFH role is a close preview of what it’d be like to work for that company — who you work for still matters. When interviewing with companies, display interest. Ask them about their Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace, or How They’re Managing Company Culture Remotely. We hope this helped set you up for your next work-from-home job. At SMART Staffing Group, Inc., we are a Minority and Woman-Owned business serving the Hudson Valley region since 2014. We match talented professionals with fulfilling careers for the modern world.