How to get your dream job in a remote job interview. Tips from an expert

  • 2023-03-13

A new year is a great time for a fresh start. For example, finally finding a dream job, or relocating to another country for a while. Where to begin? Firstly, don't confine your wishes - take a broader view, because in remote working conditions, your office could be the whole world. Secondly, start implementing your plan step by step. After finding the right job advertisement and applying for the vacancy, it is crucial that prepare for your interview thoroughly. Here are some tips compiled by experts on how to get your dream job in a remote job interview, but which will also serve you well in any other job interview.

1. How should you prepare for an interview?

“All in all, preparing for a remote job interview is not much different from what you should do when attending an interview in person. Just like before any interview, you should give careful thought to why you want to apply for the specific vacancy. You should ask yourself if you're ready for the daily challenges of remote work and work in a team that works in different time zones, as well as what it is that really appeals to you about this company, what invaluable skills and experience you can offer, and what you want to achieve. Meanwhile, there are some other details that you need to consider like paying particular attention not just to your clothing, but also to the environment around you. And remember to make sure that your technical devices are working properly so that your interview is not interrupted in the middle of a sentence,” says Liina Laas, Head of Expansion for Central and Eastern Europe at the HR platform Deel.

Read the job description carefully. Study all the details of the job description so that you can prepare answers to potential questions and know what to ask your potential employer. If you're not sure what certain aspects of the job entail, be sure to find out the answers during your interview.

Prepare your CV and motivation letter thoroughly. Every person is a personality. Don't be afraid of revealing who you are! If you've got skills, knowledge and accomplishments to be proud of, then this is the perfect time to let others know about them. Try to highlight those skills that are mentioned in the relevant job description, but feel free to reveal your other aptitudes – maybe one of them could serendipitously arouse a special interest in you on the part of the employer. The more you reveal about yourself, the more precise the questions you can be asked by the potential employer, and the more detailed the answers you can give. 

Check your devices and internet connection. A video interview in an untidy environment, tools that are not working properly, or a communication breakdown at the most inappropriate moment are all shortcuts to failure in a remote job interview. So tidy up the room beforehand and test all the equipment you'll need. Make sure that you are familiar with the interview platform's technical capabilities and that your internet connection is working perfectly.

2. Consider answers to questions which you're almost certain to be asked.

“A job interview in video format is not the most convenient solution, so it's no wonder that many people fret more during a remote interview than they would in person. If you're tense and anxious, you're not going to be able to present the best version of yourself. Therefore, alongside your job experience to date and your knowledge, give some thought to how you'll answer questions that will help the employer to gauge how motivated you are to get this job, what your values are, and how these align with those of the company, as well as how good you are at finding and analysing information. Clear answers will help you to feel more confident,” advises Liina Laas.

Consider your answers to the following questions.

- How did you find about this job offer?

- Have you ever approached our company as a client or as a prospective employee, and if so - what was your experience like? 

- What was it that most appealed to you about our job advertisement?

- Why do you want to work remotely?

- What do you most enjoy about the job you're currently doing?

Bear in mind that every employer will want to know if you are genuinely interested in working for this company and not just taking pot shots at every target you encounter along the way. So carefully consider what your biggest benefits are going to be working remotely. Maybe it's the chance to live in the house of your dreams? Or to devote more time to your family? Or to your hobbies? If the only reason you want to work remotely is because daily life in the office is noisy, all you need is a job in another quieter and smaller office, because most likely you'll quickly get tired of working days during which you don't get out of the house.

3. The day of the interview is here!

Give yourself time between interviews. Have you got several interviews on the same day? Great! Just remember that a classic remote work mistake is to have a call schedule that's too packed. If you don't have the time to arrange your thoughts and switch from one subject to the next, you'll feel anxious and unprepared. 

“Oftentimes, the remote job hiring process directly reflects the company's values and approach to work. If the interview process is disjointed, chaotic or ineffective, the interviewee will assume that daily life with the company is going to be like this. However, bear in mind that the same principle also applies the other way around – in other words, the employer will gauge how organised and constructive you are,” warns Liina Laas. 

Although it may seem as if there's nothing simpler that clicking on a link to join a meeting, it's worth remembering to leave at least 20 minutes between several calls. During this period, you can compose yourself for the next conversation, check your appearance or simply take a sip of water. 

Once again check your devices and internet connection. Although this tip may seem tiresome, it is common sense to do so. You are not going to make a good impression by wasting your conversation partner's time due to technical problems.

Regardless of which platform the interview is being held on, and how familiar you are with it, once again check whether you've logged on and given the software permission to use your microphone and camera, whether your audio and video devices are working properly, and that everything is as it should be in front of the camera. In other words, you're not too brightly lit and the background is appropriate, etc. If you're using headphones with a built-in microphone, use the audio preview to make sure that the device is picking up your voice. A few minutes before the interview, switch the device into “Do not disturb” mode so that incoming notifications do not distract your attention from the conversation. And, most importantly of all, be prepared for problems with your internet connection! Prepare a backup plan like the option of suspending the video chat or even switching to a phone call. Ask for questions to be repeated if you have trouble hearing them or the webcam freezes. 

Remember that a job interview is a conversation. At least two people take part in any job interview. This means that while you'll have to answer questions, you'll also have the chance to get answers to the questions you're interested in. Moreover, all participants in the conversation have to do their best to make sure that the conversation is a pleasant one. A job interview does not have to be awkward or too formal – it's an opportunity for people to get to know one another.

If possible, stand up during the interview – this will allow you to breathe more easily, improve your posture and give you greater freedom to use gestures and body language. Don't try to make direct eye contact when looking at the camera lens. Instead, practice the following approach: slowly move your gaze from the left eye of your conversation partner to their right eye and then to the camera lens. This will equate to natural eye contact and, at the same time, it will allow you to decipher the facial expression of your conversation partner.

Don't be shy. Ask about the company's culture. Shared values are a powerful basis for good cooperation. The main shortcoming of many online interviews is that job seekers cannot get a proper feel for the company's culture – in other words, they can't see where other employees spend time, how busy they are, whether they are wound up or relaxed and enjoying their work. So ask questions!

- What does a typical working day for the company look like?

- Which three words would you choose to describe the company's environment?

- How will the team work together?

- How open are the communication channels?

- What is the company's attitude towards diversity and inclusiveness?

- What kind of challenges have you encountered working remotely, and how did you overcome them?

No matter where you are based physically, in performing your duties, you aspire to become part of this company. Therefore, the company's values should be in synch with your own.

4. Remember: employers are responsible for taking care of the legal side of employment relations

“Like any other employer, the remote work client is responsible for taking care of all the necessary details, starting from the employment contract through to paying salaries and taxes as required by the employee's country of residence. This is part of the employee's rights,” stresses Deel's spokesperson Liina Laas. She goes on to explain that, “More often than not, it is the varying laws, and requirements involving hours of research into the corresponding situation that deter employers from hiring employees abroad. However, since hiring the specialists you need overseas is frequently the only means of providing a business with the skill sets and knowledge it requires, companies are seeking ways in which to optimize and simplify everything related to HR processes. And it is their responsibility not that of their remotely hired specialists to take care of the bureaucratic formalities.” It is this need on the part of businesses to simplify the aspect of managing an international workforce, ranging from culture and training, through to payroll and compliance with local legislation, along with the need to reduce costs that has driven the demand for Deel's services in 2022.