Remote Interviews – what are they and how can I prepare?

Remote Interviews – what are they and how can I prepare?

If you’re applying for an internship, a place on a course, a job, or an apprenticeship, then chances are you’ll need to attend an interview.  As society gradually reopens, many businesses are supporting their staff to continue to work from home and this means that they’ll be running interviews remotely too.  With remote interviews, although things are slightly different, you should still approach them the same way.

So what do we mean by remote interviewing?  Well, ‘remote’ tends to mean ‘located far away’; in other words, you’ll be expected to take part online through a video session, such as through Skype or Microsoft Teams or over the telephone, most likely from home.

You’ve probably been communicating digitally with others for quite a while now – not just in lockdown. Here are some examples:

  • Texting your friends
  • Posting on social media
  • Video calling with friends on Messenger

Remember, an interview is a lot more formal. It might not be a good idea to use the kind of language you use with your friends.

Let’s look at video and telephone interviews and the difference between both.

What’s a video interview?

Video interviews can be live or pre-recorded.  Live is where you speak with the interviewer in real time, and a pre-recorded interview is where you answer questions that have already been set and recorded by the employer or training provider.

In a video interview, you will look at a camera and answer questions, usually the webcam on your computer or tablet/phone.  It’s best to use a computer to do a video interview, so if you don’t have one, you might want to try to borrow one if you can.

What’s a telephone interview?

A telephone interview will usually be live.  This is where you will speak directly with the employer or course provider over the phone and answer their questions.

How to prepare

Before the interview, it’s a good idea to make sure you can set up in a quiet space with as few distractions as possible.  If you live with family members or friends let them know when you’ll be doing your interview, so you won’t be disturbed.

For a video interview, it’s important to look smart.  You need to dress like you would for a real interview.  Usually, only your top half will be seen on camera; however, you might want to resist the temptation to only dress smartly on your top half.  This is because you may have to stand up in the middle of the interview to collect a certificate, for example.  If you’re using Zoom or Teams, you also might like to search Google for some suitable backgrounds to download, so you look professional in your interview.

Don’t be like this guy:

via GIPHY

For a telephone interview, it’s not necessary to dress smartly; however, you still might like to as it might help you feel more ‘in the zone’ and professional.

Hints and Tips

In a video interview, make sure you make eye contact with the interviewer.  This means looking into the camera every now and then but not too much.

For both video and telephone interviews, you could use post-it notes and have a notepad next to you, to note down ideas during the interview but also to write down prompts for yourself.  For example, what do you want to ask the interviewer when they ask if you have any questions?  Preparing something beforehand can improve your confidence and might make you feel more relaxed too.

Another thing that can help is to have some water handy – it’s important to stay hydrated.

Here’s a short video with some hints and tips on online interviews:

Special thanks to our resident expert Scott from Works Better 15-25, who put together a lot of the information in this post.  If you live in Kirklees and would like to find out more about how Works Better can help you, contact our Chat helpline on 01484 213856, email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact us on Facebook

You can also find helpful information on searching for work and putting a CV together on our website.

Good luck!

Kate

Trainee careers adviser

Page updated July 2020

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