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How to Show Up to a Remote Interview?

Updated: Jan 27, 2022

Back in the day (four long months ago) job interviews were successfully completed by showcasing applicable knowledge, a ripe personality, and some sense of fashion and personal hygiene. After the American economy was shut down due to COVID-19, the rules have shifted slightly. In order to do today’s “remote interview” correctly, we’ve identified six keys to success that must be taken into account in order to stand out to hiring managers…

“I’m not positive any studies have been done, but I definitely think the remote interviews have gone up,” said Tara Thurber, the Director at Defined Talent staffing agency. “But, it’s mostly introductory at this point as many companies are on hiring holds. However, other talent says they’ve had many phone interviews and they’re asking how to navigate Zoom interviews.”

Person in a remote interview with woman on computer screen

The following list takes what hiring managers are looking for (both actively and subconsciously) and gives direction for job seekers who have yet to experience the virtual hiring process.

Resume and Work Samples

When showing up for an interview, it often goes unsaid that the job seeker bring his or her resume and samples of relevant work. This principle still applies; and actually, it may be easier than ever to ensure a hiring manager has what they need to make a decision. Today, talent has more time to perfect their resume, gather relevant work samples, and deliver these items to an interviewer in more ways than simply on Office Depot’s best “resume paper”. Loading LinkedIn with relevant career experience or setting up a personal website are two ways to make sure that the answer to an interviewer’s question is just a link away.

Research in Order to Ask Questions

Doing research on a hiring company is a given in any interview process. However, until now, it’s never been possible to have that information in its’ entirety at your disposal through an interview. Using the hiring company’s website and social media, talent can take what they’ve learned about the business’s goals, work, mission, etc., and develop questions for the interviewer about the job and in order to develop a rapport with that person.

“One of the best questions I’ve heard recently was, ‘What is the best professional book you’ve read recently that taught you something important?’” Recalled Thurber. Despite the virtual process, “You still have to find a human connection. Show up as real as you can be and show interest.”

Yes, job seekers could have more time than ever to do research and configure questions, but the real advantage is that they have the ability to keep these precious notes at arm’s length while on the virtual interview.

Sign " You Got This" next to laptop

You Must (Still) Dress to Impress

Don’t wear a suit. But, let’s be honest, not even your significant other wants to look at crusty, old PJs, bedhead, and unbrushed teeth… This frightening image still translates over Zoom. So, hiring managers still say it best to show up looking presentable, with good lighting on your face, and “in a setting that can show your personality/spark a conversation,” reminds Thurber.

Get Comfortable with the Communication Software

Did you know what Zoom was pre-COVID? Not everyone did. However, many of us went from mere novices to Zoom gurus in a matter of weeks. No matter which platform a hiring manager wants to use, job seekers should at least give it a go before finding out their computer doesn’t like the software, or they don’t know how to share screens when the time comes. It may be best to try a mock digital interview with a friend beforehand: set a quiet space with good lighting and go from there.

Coffee cup

Smile Big!

Wait… Not that big, you’re scaring me. You get the drift. Personality plays a huge role in any job interview or any relationship for that matter. The American workforce may continue on the remote work route or not… Either way, talent must prepare to manage not only their own personality, but also the personalities of those they work with. In the end, it’s about putting off a good vibe, listening, and communicating effectively in order to get a task done, and maybe even connecting with your fellow human on a personal level. The whole process definitely works better when it starts with a smile. That being said, if a hiring manager asks for a phone interview, it may behoove a job seeker to push for that video chat instead.

Follow Up

It’s last on the list chronologically, however, this may be first in importance. This is a job seeker’s chance to remind the hiring manager of their existence. What’s more, the follow up can be one more opportunity to smooth over anything that didn’t go right during the interview or to shed light on a facet of relevant work which wasn’t covered. Finally, this part of the process is more important in the “COVID era” than previously. Some interview processes have spanned months due to the uncertainty businesses have felt during this time. Following up once, twice, or more (when appropriate) is key to keep your smile at the top of the hiring manager’s list.


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