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Ace Your Remote Job Interview

You’ve applied to the remote job of your dreams, and it finally arrives: a message saying you’ve been granted an interview. Congratulations! 

But now, you're wondering: what the interview will be like? How can I make a great impression on the hiring committee?

I’ve brought in a guest to share some tips for how to do just that: Carole Stizza of Relevant Insight. She’s an expert in HR and hiring practices and consults with individuals on how to improve their interviewing skills.

Carole's responses to some common questions about interviewing for work-at-home jobs are below.

How is an interview for a remote position different than one for a traditional position?

Interviewing remotely saves you the headache of traveling, traffic that might make you late, finding the right location, etc. — whew! That’s a load off your plate!  

The drawback of having to interview remotely is the lack of physical connection: the handshake, the mannerisms of being introduced, a sense of your time management (see above), and the lack of smell

What are some example questions that an interviewer might ask me?

Common questions for an interview may include revealing what you believe your strengths and weaknesses may be, where you see yourself in the future, and what challenges you have overcome that make you feel qualified for the current position.  

Best practices in interviewing today use Behavior-Based Interview questions. These questions typically begin with, "tell me a time when..."  The point of these questions is to highlight your actual experience in the past to drive insight into how you may perform in the future. There is a trick to answering these: be prepared.

For a remote job interview, prepare yourself with examples that highlight how you will work from home.

What kind of experiences or background should I highlight?

The experiences and background information you should highlight are ones that involve the skills you do well now and the skills you want to continue to use. Additionally, highlight any skills that link directly with the position you are interviewing for PLUS what you learned from every experience you share.

How did that experience shape your decision making and use of skills? Identifying exactly what experiences taught you is a missing link that most people do not realize is critical.

What topics should I avoid?  

Topics to avoid are those that highlight your lack of experience, either in industry-specific skills or soft people skills.  You also should never be negative about anyone or any aspect of a prior position. This is NOT the time to mention grievances or blame anyone for your departure from a previous position.  How you talk about previous employers and coworkers says nothing about them, but it says a lot about you (and none of it’s good).

What kinds of questions should I ask the interviewer(s)?

Be ready with questions that help you understand exactly how the potential role works within the organization. 

Ask: 

  • Questions around who works directly with, above, and/or below the new position.  
  • How success is measured for the new role.
  • If growth opportunities exist (such as training).
  • What to expect the first day/week/month in the new role. 
  • For examples of how a previous employee achieved success in the position 

The answers to these questions will give you a sense of how well the interviewer knows the job.  If they don’t seem to know the answers, ask if you will get the opportunity to speak with someone who may know this job more intimately. This will tell you a lot about how the organization runs. Plus, your questions tell them a lot about how you expect to function in the organization. 

How else can I prepare?

Do your research about this company: Google them, find them on LinkedIn, look at Glassdoor, look at all social media outlets as well as check to see if their stock is publicly traded.  Know the organization’s reputation and public activity. 

Look at any awards they have been presented. Pay attention to what they are wearing within these photos. This will give you a sense of the attire you should wear in the interview — even if it’s a virtual event.  You never know, you may be meeting them at an upcoming conference!

For more information on how to knock an interview out of the park, read Carole's ebook Interview UP!, available for free! 

Ace the remote job interview with Carole Stizza

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