I understand that remote interviews can be intimidating. However, they are also the key to land a remote job! Which is why you shouldn’t go unprepared for one.
But remote interview preparation does not always mean merely setting up your Skype and ensuring a high-speed Wi-Fi connection. There is a lot to do besides that. You need to understand what the employer wants from you and deliver the same to them.
When trying to understand what an employer would want, I always begin with their company values!
Before actually getting on the video call for the interview, you should do a background check on the organization. And why shouldn’t you? They are probably doing one on you! Besides, you don’t want to go to an interview without knowing anything about the company.
It is important for you to understand their values, their culture and of course, their nature of work. Once you do that, you can not only communicate with them better but also showcase that you’ll be a great fit for their team.
Remote teams require a huge amount of trust among them. A remote employer would never hire a remote employee that isn’t trustworthy and the team cannot rely on. And delivering a trustworthy personality virtually can be a bit complicated.
Of course, you cannot just tell them you’re trustworthy because it almost always has the opposite effect! In that case, get a few references together, either from your previous organization or another professional in the field for your benefit. .
Make sure you reach out to your references, so that, when the employer calls them, they aren’t unprepared. And it’s always okay to ‘coach’ them a little. Politely remind them of your skills and accomplishments from when you worked together and request them to mention the same during their conversation with the new employer.
One of the best ways of showing the employer that you are disciplined enough to work from home is an organized home-office setup. An ideal remote employee has their own working space to enhance their productivity.
Having a clean and organized remote interview environment will help ensure the employer that you are ready to work remotely.
More importantly, make sure that you don’t have any distractions during the interview. This will ensure the employer that you are focused even when working from home.
Stating the obvious, you need to be confident during the interview while answering questions. Communicate to the employer that you are not only a skilled worker but also a skilled remote employee. Here are a few examples -
Question - “How do you schedule your day?”
Ideal Response - “I’m the type who leaps out of bed and gets straight to work. I start my day by checking email for any urgent situations; then I take care of my daily tasks; and then I move on to either writing or working on long-term projects. I tend to save meetings or collaborative work for later in the day – both because it energizes me at the time when I might otherwise be “slumping” and because it helps accommodate the different time zones of our international remote team members.”
Question - “Do you check your emails after work?”
Ideal Response - “Not really. But I do check Slack after work. The last organization I worked with had set communication guidelines and if something urgent ever came up, my team would send me a message on Slack. I think it's important for every team to have these guidelines.”
Question - “How do you stay motivated during the day without supervision?”
Ideal Response - “I’m an independent worker who tends to thrive in a quiet environment, and once I have a clear goal to work towards I’m able to get on and do it with little direction and distraction. This, with the help of a time management app, a workflow tracker, and regular communication with the team helps me stay motivated and on the right track.”
The dynamic nature of remote job interviews might make it a little difficult for you to prepare beforehand. But it is always better that you prepare and keep a few things in mind during the interview to secure a remote position with the company.
Many remote organizations, test a candidate’s communication skills during the interview. Not just how well the candidate can communicate his thoughts, but also how well he receives communication.
For instance, at The Remote Life, when asking for design work samples, we ask the candidates to share it in a folder on Google Drive. Our HR manager repeats this twice so that it’s absolutely clear to the candidate. After that, we ask the candidate if they have any doubts to further clear things. Regardless, most candidates fail this test and send us their work samples attached to an email.
Similarly, it is important for you to be attentive and clearly listen to what the employer is saying and asking you to do. Take notes if you have to but do not miss out the minor details.
An ideal remote worker is a self-starter, natural problem solver, has excellent communication skills and is trustworthy. During the course of the interview, you need to communicate to the employer that you possess these skills and will be able to collaborate well with the team.
Mention how organized your work is, the tools you use or rely on, your record of on-time deliveries, and your other qualities. Also showcasing a clutter-free workspace during the interview (if the interview is over a video call) is a good idea. You need to convince the employer that you are ready to thrive in a virtual environment without actually saying much.
Communication is the key to collaborate with a remote team. Ensure that you are able to convey to the employer that you have the skills to enhance team collaboration.
During the interview, don’t hesitate to ask or repeat something again that the employer said for clarification. Do not make any assumptions as this might take the wrong turn!
Although, communication isn’t limited to only verbal conversations. Your written communication should also be excellent since most communication in a virtual environment is written.
Show off your written communication skills in your cover letter and your emails. Remember that good written communication isn’t about using heavy words, it’s about how efficiently you are able to pen down your thoughts that can be easily understood by others.
I know what you’re thinking, don’t remote workers work without pants? How does it matter? And when you’re not actually meeting anyone in person, why should there be an appropriate dress code?
I know you’re not meeting your employer in person, but you are still meeting on a video call. You would want to dress professionally for that so that you present yourself well. Pick something out a few days ago if you wish to. Just don’t be scrambling around 5 mins before the interview.
Most meetings in a remote team happen over video calls. It is important for the employer to know that you will be efficiently present in all those meetings and won’t be a distraction for anyone. And a high-quality webcam and microphone is a good way of showing that. Not to forget, have a backup if you’re Wi-Fi goes down!
Once the interview begins, show clearly that you are energetic, focused, and excited about the job. This would further your chances of securing the remote job.
But that’s not all you need to secure a remote job!
You’ve very well communicated to the employer that you are an ideal remote worker with good skills, but are you really a 100% prepared to work remotely?
Working in a remote environment sure cannot be taught overnight. But I could at least help you prepare for your first day so that you are not completely clueless like most people are on their first day of employment.
Learn how you can smoothly transition to the remote environment today!
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