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Our top tips for beating the nerves and giving the perfect remote interview

  • Publish Date: Posted over 3 years ago
  • Author:by Nuhaa Mohamed

Applying for a new role marks a big career transition and the process can be daunting. This is especially true in the middle of the current pandemic, during which the employment market is arguably at an all-time low with unemployment on the rise, people being placed on furlough and then getting made redundant and the number of job opportunities having significantly reduced.

We have also witnessed legislation such as IR35, originally due to be introduced earlier this year, only to be pushed back to 2021 on account of COVID-19. IR35 resulted in many firms phasing out contractors, meaning that they turned their attention to permanent roles. This has resulted in the jobs market being swamped with a huge influx of experienced contractors who are now prepared to consider lower level permanent roles given their desire to secure a job and financial stability.

This combination of events means that the market is at one of the most challenging points it has ever encountered and thrown into the mix is the huge shift in home working, meaning that traditional face-to-face recruiting and hiring processes have been rendered impossible on a logistical level and are now being replaced by video conferencing tools such as Zoom, Odro, Skype, Microsoft Teams, FaceTime and WebEx.

Applying for a job in these times presents both new and uncharted territory for even the most senior and experienced professionals who have worked for decades.

Simply put, there are fewer jobs available, increased competition and a whole new way of remote interview processes taking place which are largely strange and unfamiliar for both interviewers and interviewees. It is therefore understandable that people are putting more pressure on themselves to perform well, and with this comes the potential for nerves to kick in.

Remember though that nerves are natural and it is impossible to eradicate them all together. Luckily, there are steps you can take to manage them as best you can and ensure that your remote interview experience progresses your career pathway. 

Here, our Credit Risk and Analytics consultant Nuhaa Mohamed discusses the steps you can take to help ensure a smooth and confident interview.

Be confident

Have belief and faith in your abilities. You have already successfully passed the CV review stage and reached the interview, so your CV, skills and experience on paper are in line with what the company is looking for. Even if you are feeling nervous, remember that you are capable and the interview is your chance to shine. It is vital to relax, project a sense of confidence, present your personality, ideas and skill-set succinctly and demonstrate that you are the best possible match for the position. This will allow you to face the camera feeling ready for anything which comes your way.

Do your research and get prepared

Interviews are unpredictable but one thing you can do to avoid any potential roadblocks is to invest as much time as possible into preparing for it. You can achieve this through a combination of research and forward planning, as well as writing up questions to ask, reading the company website and financial reports and gathering key facts and figures about the organisation. Try to speak to people who may have links to the business or have worked there in order to demonstrate that you know and understand the company, it's services and values. Practice out loud your responses to interview questions to reduce the likelihood of being caught off-guard by an unexpected question. 

Also try to carry out some research on the person interviewing you, including their background on LinkedIn, where they studied and their interests. Common ground can be a great icebreaker, while putting you at ease and helping to settle the nerves.

Stay grounded

It can be all too easy to feel like the interviewer will throw tough questions your way to trip you up, but the interviewer is only human, just as you are, and interviews are not a normal day-to-day scenario for anyone. Try to remember that the person on the screen has been in your shoes too and only wants the best for you and their business. 

Check your tech

Make sure you know how the interview will be conducted and using what means. It might be that you have to download an app or click on a link, so make sure this works ahead of the interview so that you are prompt in joining your meeting. Also take the time to familiarise yourself with the platform’s key features and functionalities so that you appear calm, collected and in control of the situation. 

Test your internet connection, camera and microphone beforehand to ensure that everything is working properly and close down any unnecessary apps or software on your computer which might slow down your video delivery. Just like you would in a normal interview, check that your phone is on silent before starting. 

Get ready for the camera 

Position your camera so that you are central and at eye-level. It is essential that you do not cut off the top of your head but also do not sit so far away that you become grainy or eye contact is hard to ascertain and maintain. Frame yourself from the chest up so that your face becomes the focal point of the screen.

Choose your location wisely

Make sure that you are in a well-lit, private and quiet room as background noises can be too much of a distraction for all concerned. Avoid any possibility of being interrupted by other people by keeping your door closed. Your background should be clean, simple and free of clutter.

Dress for the occasion 

Make sure that you wear what you would wear if you were conducting a face-to-face interview as this indicates that you are professional and ready to work. Since you will be on camera, try to avoid anything too bright or patterned that could be distracting to the eye. For both face-to-face and video interviews, research the culture and ethos of the organisation to ensure that you dress appropriately. You never know if you may need to stand up at some point for whatever reason, so make sure that you are well-dressed from head to toe.

Think about body language 

There are a number of elements to consider when it comes to body language, one of the most important being eye contact. When you are on video, make sure that you are looking at the camera instead of the interviewer when you are speaking. This way you will engage in eye contact as opposed to having your eyes looking down on their end of the video feed. Do not let your eyes wander during the interview as this will give the impression that you are bored or disinterested.

Although you are not meeting in person, the interviewer will be able to see your face the entire time so be aware of your facial expressions. It is also positive to smile and nod as you are listening. Leaning in towards the camera will help to build a good rapport but bear in mind that some of your hand gestures will most likely be out of frame.

Closing the interview 

This is your last chance to gain buy-in and commitment from the interviewer with a question about how to progress to the next stage of selection. Make it clear that you are interested in the position and ask whether additional interviews are required.  Confirm that all relevant questions have been covered and that your abilities match the requirements of the employer, then go on to thank the interviewer for their time. Let them end the call rather than running the risk of hanging up too prematurely or appearing abrupt or rude.

If you would like to learn more from Nuhaa about giving the perfect remote interview, or require support in Credit Risk & Analytics recruitment, please get in