Powerfully Navigate Your Remote Interview

Businessman on a laptop


Today’s leaders deal with more challenges than ever, but technology shouldn’t be one of them. Even before the shutdowns of the past couple of months, businesses were moving toward remote interviews; now, they’re a necessity.

For some people, quickly building rapport in person can be challenging enough. How can you co-lead and powerfully navigate your interview when you have to perform over the phone or on video?

I have already written a series to help you thrive during phone interviews, and I encourage you to check it out. To build on that, I’d like to share some key strategies to equip you to excel in your video interviews. (After all, even as our world opens back up, these are likely to stay!)

In March of 2020, I interviewed a good friend of mine, Michael Neece. Michael is trained as an engineer and has spent the past two decades working as a hiring manager on the company side and an executive search professional. During this time, he’s interviewed over five thousand candidates and placed over one thousand people.

Out of this experience, Michael developed a program called Interview Mastery. He also shared some key strategies that I’d love to share with you.

Key Remote Interview Strategies

In a traditional interview, you have the ability to put forth your best impression. It’s already held in a professional environment (the company’s offices) and you, as a leader, dress to impress. You can bring any resources, such as a proposed 90-day plan, for the hiring party to look through in person.

There are definitely challenges to work through (and I’m happy to coach you through the interview process), but it was set up to position you for success – if you were prepared.

In a remote interview, you are inviting the hiring party into your space – into your private life. It takes a bit more preparation to put forth a confident, professional image. Following are some basic AND cutting-edge strategies to help you do just that.

Present a Clean, Minimalist Background

Before your interview, determine where you want it to take place. If you’re interviewing in your home, choose a place that is well-lit, clean, and has minimal visuals in the background.

In other words, don’t sit on your couch with laundry strewn about and a sink full of dirty dishes behind you.  Obviously.  But consider loose papers and and more than one coffee mug are almost as much of an eyesore.

If you’re in front of a window, make sure the blinds are closed  and the sun is not shining too brightly behind you;ensure that your face is well-lit. Otherwise, you’ll show up as a dark silhouette-like “blob” on camera, which is never a good look for an interview.

For under $100 you can get a ring light and stand which helps the lighting situation immensely and easily.

When sitting in front of natural lighting (like a window on a sunny day) is not an option, choose a wall without artwork (or with one nice piece) as your background. An unframed Led Zeppelin poster, no matter how classic, does not present a professional look.

Remember, you get to choose what your interviewer sees – and that plays a big part in what they interpret about you. Plan ahead to give them your best impression.

In the next article in this series, I’ll share some additional strategies to help you excel in an online interview.

In the meantime, if I can help you strengthen your interviewing skills or assist you in your career transition, contact me at jonathan@jfcareers.com – I’m here to help.

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