How To Ace Your Next Remote Interview

By Chris Kolmar
Aug. 28, 2022

Find a Job You Really Want In

Like them or not, interviews are part of the process. They give the employer a chance to speak with you before making an offer but also for you to get a first impression of your potential new supervisor and ask your questions to gain a sense of if the company culture is the right fit for you.

Remote interviews have become more common as more people are working from home. While in person interviews are pretty similar to remote interviews, there are some differences that you should look out for.

We have nine ways to help you ace your remote interview, as well as some tips to help you prepare, and some common interview questions to look out for.

Key Takeaways:

  • When preparing for a remote job interview you should be ready for any common interview question, have questions for your interviewer ready, and make sure to do your research before your interview.

  • It’s important to have your note prepared incase you freeze and you should have a backup plan incase you can’t get on the interview platform.

  • You should prepare for the remote interview just like a regular interview and dress appropriately and arrive to the interview platform early.

How To Ace Your Next Remote Interview

What Is the Difference Between a Remote Interview and a Regular Interview?

A remote interview takes place remotely with the interviewer being in a different location than the person being interviewed. In some instances, the interview takes place over the phone, but video interviews are becoming more and more common.

In the era of COVID-19, many companies have shifted the interview process from in-person to remote. The core purpose of the interview is still the same, but some may find the change from the norm to be intimidating.

Nerves are, unfortunately, often part of the equation in any interview, but with a few tips to help you prepare for your next remote interview, you’re likely to ace it without breaking (too much) of a sweat.

How to Ace Your Remote Interview

  1. Be prepared for common interview questions. The good news is, many employers still rely on a similar set of questions. This means you have the opportunity to plan your answers and practice so you’re ready whether the interview is online, in person, or over the phone.

    The best answers are honest and precise but fairly short. Nervousness can often result in rambling, so try to be aware of how long you’ve been speaking and wrap it up if you catch yourself getting off-topic.

    Be cautious about overpreparing; if the interviewer asks questions that are similar but not exact to the ones you practiced, make sure you were listening and then adjust your answers accordingly instead of reciting something that doesn’t make sense.

  2. Prepare your questions for the interviewer. You can safely bet that one of the final questions of the interview will be the manager asking, “do you have any questions for me?”

    Your answer should never be, “no.” A well-prepared candidate will have a list ready to go and be jotting down additional notes and questions throughout the interview.

    Clarifying a previous point will show that you were listening while having a few safe, general questions will give you a safety net in case you can’t think of anything specific to ask.

    Equally important, you should also know which questions not to ask a prospective employer during the interview.

  3. Do your research on the company before the interview. Most websites have a fairly detailed “About Us” section that should give you a pretty good idea of what they’re all about.

    You can also do your homework on the company’s history, mission, values, culture, and major accomplishments or press releases. Check out their social media profiles as well.

    Doing this research before the interview will prepare you if the hiring manager asks what you know about the company. Even if that question never comes up, you have the opportunity to show your knowledge by working that information into your questions and answers.

  4. Reread the job description. This feels like it should be a no-brainer, but when you’re going into the interview, you should have a clear idea of what exactly you are being interviewed for.

    You can’t plan smart answers and specific examples of why you’re a qualified candidate if you don’t even know what the job is.

    Understanding the basics of the job listing will also allow you to tailor your questions to be more specific while preventing you from making ignorant mistakes.

    For example, if the job description specifies that a candidate must have a thorough knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite, you probably don’t want to ask the hiring manager if you need to know Photoshop.

    That shows the employer that you either don’t care about the job or you’re lazy and can’t be bothered to read.

  5. Have notes ready in case you freeze. It happens to the best of us. You spent hours prepping for the interview, and then as soon as it starts, your mind goes blank.

    Keep your resume at the ready just in case you need a quick refresher on your most important skills. Star or circle key points. You may also consider jotting down notes about what you have to offer and how that ties into the company’s needs and values.

    It’s not uncommon for interviewers to ask about personal experiences; think about some of your relevant life stories ahead of time and write down a few words to jog your memory, just in case.

  6. Prepare for the unexpected. It’s important to prepare incase you freeze, but you should also have a backup plan incase the interview platform doesn’t connect.

    Incase you can’t get on the interview platform make sure you have a phone number that you can reach the interviewer at. If you can’t reach them at the phone number, make sure you have their email and notify them that you have trouble getting on.

  7. Get your workspace ready ahead of time. Your interview space should be prepared beforehand. Whether you’re partaking in a phone interview or a video chat, make sure you have a quiet space where you can concentrate without distractions.

    Clean off and organize your desk or workspace so anything you might need is easy to find and within reach. Keep a notepad and pen at the ready. You should be taking notes during the interview.

    If your interview is via Zoom, Skype, or another video chat service, take the time to arrange your space; the interviewer doesn’t want to see an untidy bedroom with a pile of clothes on the bed behind you. You’ll want to dress nicely — at the very least from the waist up.

  8. Arrive early to the call. On the day of the interview, remember that early is on time, is late, and late is just plain unacceptable. If you’re getting ready for a Zoom or Skype interview, be sure to log on a few minutes before the interview is scheduled to begin in case of any unexpected technical issues.

    You should be waiting for the interviewer; he or she should not be waiting on you.

  9. Be prepared to send a follow-up after the interview. Whether it’s a phone call, an email, or a handwritten thank-you note, following up with the interviewer can make a drastic impact and help you stand apart from the competition.

    At the end of the day, you want to be the candidate that’s remembered, and a follow-up will help ensure that you leave a lasting impression well after the interview is finished.

Tips For Your Remote Interview

  1. Check your equipment the day before. It’s good practice to make sure everything is working correctly the day before the interview so you have more than enough time to fix any major issues.

    Make a test call to a friend. Check your phone reception and/or Internet speed, router, and webcam. Closeout extra tabs in your browser to prevent a connection lag.

  2. Go to bed early the night before. Sometimes that’s easier said than done, and there’s no guarantee you won’t spend the whole night tossing and turning while dreaming about oversleeping.

    Nevertheless, do your best to get a full night’s rest so you can operate at peak performance the next day. Consider taking a melatonin supplement or drinking nighttime tea if you need a little help calming your nerves and nodding off.

    Just make sure you don’t overdo the sleeping aids and snooze right through your alarm.

  3. Dress appropriately. Just because you are home doesn’t mean you should show up to your interview in your pajamas. You should dress the same as if you were doing the interview in person. It will show the interviewer that you are serious about the position. Dressing in interview attire can also make you feel more confident for the interview and help you do better.

  4. Make sure your computer is charged. Make sure your computer is charged or plugged in for your interview. It can look unprofessional if your computer dies during the interview and you get cut off. The interviewer may think you left in the middle of it.

    If you don’t have your computer plugged in during the interview, make sure it is near by incase you need it. It can also look unprofessional if you are running around trying to find it in the middle of the interview.

  5. If you’re nervous, consider hiring a professional coach. Sometimes we need that extra little push, and an interview coach can help with that.

    If you’re out of practice, your dream job is on the line, you’re a nervous wreck, you have a bad track record with interviews, or all of the above, hiring a professional coach for a mock interview may be just what you need to identify where you can improve and do a practice run before the real thing.

Common Interview Questions to Prepare For

As mentioned above, you should prepare yourself for possible interview question. Some of the most common questions asked in an interview include:

  • Tell me about yourself.

  • Why did you apply for this position?

  • Why should we hire you?

  • What is your biggest accomplishment?

  • What is your greatest weakness?

  • Tell me about a time that you failed.

  • What motivates you?

  • Have you applied for other positions, and if so, where?

  • What did you like least about your last (or current) job?

  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult coworker.

  • Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer.

  • What makes you unique?

  • How would your last boss describe you?

  • Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?

  • What is your ideal salary?

  • How do you like to spend your free time?

  • How do you manage your workload?

  • When would you be available to start?

  • Do you have any questions for me?

Final Thoughts

Interviews are stressful, but by taking the proper preparations, you can greatly reduce your level of anxiety and drastically improve your chances of having a successful interview.

Many companies have been forced to adapt their interview process during the pandemic, making it all the more difficult for college students entering the workforce and seasoned employees looking for work or changing jobs in the middle of COVID.

But despite changes in circumstances and technology, the purpose of the interview hasn’t changed.

The interview questions are, for the most part, the same as they were pre-COVID. The research and prep work, likewise, isn’t much different either.

Figuring out how to video chat on Skype or Zoom may be more challenging for some people than others, but regardless of the interview method, you can take comfort in knowing that you are prepared to give it your best shot.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating / 5. Vote count:

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Never miss an opportunity that’s right for you.


Chris Kolmar

Chris Kolmar is a co-founder of Zippia and the editor-in-chief of the Zippia career advice blog. He has hired over 50 people in his career, been hired five times, and wants to help you land your next job. His research has been featured on the New York Times, Thrillist, VOX, The Atlantic, and a host of local news. More recently, he's been quoted on USA Today, BusinessInsider, and CNBC.

Related posts