Tips on mastering remote job interviews

November 19, 2020
min read
Tips on mastering remote job interviews
Thomas Limbüchler
Thomas Limbüchler

Many companies rely on remote recruiting even more than usual these days. While remote job interviews via Zoom or Hangout were most of the time just an emergency solution, it is now becoming standard – with restrictions.

The recommendations listed below might seem obvious, but preparation is still undervalued according to interviewers. So what do you need to consider for your next remote job interview?

Remote job interviews can (and should) be prepared

Establish the parameters of the interview. The more knowledge you have about the time you have, the people you are going to see, and what they are looking for, the less fear you will have. That is just replacing these unknowns with knowns, and therefore the fear level goes down.

Establish how long the interview will be. Before the interview, you want to do as much as possible to make sure that you know what the parameters are around this interview time you have. So you need to ask them how long the interview is. Because if you think you will present something and you believe you have an hour, but they have only got half an hour, it's going to be super awkward.

Establish how many people you will be talking to and who they are (if possible). You also want to ask how many people are going to be there. Because it may be one-on-one, or they may have you talking to a whole team. You might want to ask those folks’ names and do your research on LinkedIn to figure out their backgrounds. So you are feeling more comfortable.

The camera is on the eye level. Because if you are looking up, it doesn't feel good, right? Or if you are above the eye level, it's odd. You want to be emulating a conversation. You should be trying to say – this is what it would be like if I was standing in front of you and we would be talking. That's how it should be. You should be able to use your hands if that is what you do.

Remote job interviews can (and should) be practiced

You have three seconds to make an impression. In the first three seconds, interviewers will have an impression of you. Before you even open your mouth, they have decided something – whatever that is. What are they getting the impression of? First of all, it is what may have come before. Like are you on time, are you trying to converse with them in a pleasant environment? You are a developer. Design your environment that shows your passion.

Most communication is non-verbal. It is not just what you are saying, but how they can hear by your voice, e.g., how motivated you are. It is like a good posture, but for your mouth. Articulate your words carefully. If you have a friendly smile, everything will sound brighter. Making a connection with someone with a smile on your face will make the situation much easier for you and the person on the other end. Make sure the lighting is right on your face and especially good around your mouth.

Practice your voice like an instrument. How can your voice instill trust, confidence, and authority? This is quite important for the younger generations that have not had this level of communication. If you can do that, you will connect with your interviewer so much faster and so much more efficiently.

Remote job interviews can (and should) be personal

Connect with your interviewer from the beginning. The first thing you say is not, “can you hear me.” You want to talk to them like, “I'm so excited to meet you.” Start to build a relationship with the interviewer. The whole conversation will feel more natural.

Make them feel like it is for them. Ask if your potential employer would like you to highlight particular projects before the interview in an email. You do not want to just poke through your portfolio or resume unless your interviewer wants to do that. Because you would like to create something custom for them. The thing that is probably the biggest buzzkill on a remote job interview is for the interviewee to just poke through the website or resume. Because the interviewer can do that on her or his own, curate something that is for them. So they know that you have thought of what is in for them. Just by asking a simple question like what kinds of things you are looking for, what projects did you see that picked your interest? Then you can go more in-depth on those projects than you might have been able to.

Work your skillset to match their needs. Maybe you can find gaps where the company can still grow. Because every business wants to grow, show them how you can help to do so. From the outside, you are bringing a whole breath of fresh air and a bag of ideas that might resonate with your potential employer. Carefully wove your skillset with our ideas into a perfect union.


Do your homework. Time and attention in preparation and practice will pay off afterward. Right from the jump, convey an image of “I am a professional, take me seriously, I am well prepared for this.” So be who you want to present yourself to be for the job without disguising. Ask questions that tell a potential employer you have done your homework.

Maintain humility. Do not tell your potential employer, “I am going to be an asset to your company.” Never do that. Your potential employer has to determine whether or not they need you. You cannot tell them they do. You can tell them that you hope to be part of their teams. You hope to contribute.

Try to hit as many of these invisible checkboxes that your potential employer might have in mind. If you can do just ten percent of what is recommended, you give yourself a perfect shot and at least stand apart from those who have not that well prepared for this moment. Whatever exercise you have to do to show up for this, to be present, to be granted, to be connected to the other person, you should do that, so you do not blow the interview.

Interviews are a game of mutual exploration where both parties have to be happy with the outcome. If they do not want what you authentically have to offer, it's far better to learn that before any commitment is made – and vice versa. Even though developers are highly in demand and the company is maybe desperately looking for someone with your skills, consider that you are the one who is joining an existing company with an established company and team culture. It has to be the right fit for both.

Now take the first step in the game and check out some jobs.

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