Preparing for a remote job interview is a lot like preparing for an in-person job interview except for the fact that you don’t have to wear pants or shoes.
HOWEVER – I’m here to tell you that you absolutely have to wear both pants and shoes, because employers are sometimes now asking people to stand up and show them their ENTIRE outfits at the end of their interview calls.
So wear an entire outfit – just in case.
Here are some other ideas of ways you can nail that interview and impress a potential employer, based on what I’ve looked for and been impressed by in the past by interviewees:
1. Set the scene for success:
Make sure you’ve got a fast internet connection and are in a quiet space where you won’t be interrupted. The background behind you shouldn’t look messy or be distracting to the interviewer. (A messy space can subconsciously imply that you are not organized in your work). If you don’t have control over all of that, choose from Zoom’s virtual background options (or show off your creativity by creating and uploading your OWN virtual background)!
2. Be genuinely excited:
Remember that it’s important to show that you actually want the job, so a genuine smile and enthusiasm to be speaking to this person is a GREAT way to start the interview. When I interview people, it’s really important to me that they find this work energizing. I’ve been burned in the past by people who are “really smart” but don’t actually give a shit. And it’s widely known and understood by hiring managers that someone who is excited and enthusiastic about the job is going to TRY harder to do a good job. (And 90% of the time, just TRYING produces excellent results).
3. Display knowledge of the company you’re applying to work for.
This is crucial, but it can be a really difficult thing to focus on when your primary goal is to just get a job – any job – as soon as possible. Try to think like an employer: what kind of person would you consider a “good hire?” This is something I’ve spent A LOT of time thinking about, and what matters to me isn’t someone’s experience or education in a specific area – but rather their desire to learn and explore within these areas.
Experience is just a bonus. I can train anyone who actually cares about what they are doing to use any of the software programs we use daily. But I can’t train someone to care about my company. And since we work exclusively with solo and small firm lawyers, I definitely don’t want to hire anyone who isn’t into learning more about various aspects of law. So this is the biggest thing I want to see right off the bat with a potential new hire.
5. Be honest:
if you need to lie about a knowing how to use a specific type of software or something else you can learn quickly once the interview is over – go for it. But be up front and honest about the things that matter: (examples). You don’t want to land a job that you don’t actually want, and you won’t be happy somewhere that isn’t a good fit.
6. Follow up:
send a HANDWRITTEN thank you card. In this world we live in, no one needs another email. And “following up to see if I got the job” can be annoying to hiring managers who are clearly still evaluating their options and aren’t sure yet. But a handwritten note genuinely thanking the person for their time and maybe highlighting some of what you discussed with them can really show that you’re willing to go the extra mile. It shows how much you want the job, it shows thoughtfulness, it shows follow through. And that’s the kind of person people are looking to hire.
GOOD LUCK – YOU’VE GOT THIS!