What to wear for an online interview and how to set up your remote online interview
So you have already read all the advice in the previous articles on what does it mean to be a remote worker, tips on how to get a remote job interview, and now you have finally secured an online interview. What do you need to do next for an online interview for a remote job? How should you set up for your online remote interview and what to wear for an online interview?
An online interview for a remote job is not too different from attending an interview in person. You know, the interview in an office in front of a panel. Of course, they will be asking the same questions as if you were face-to-face, but there are additional points that you should consider whenever the interview is being held remotely. The organization you are hoping to work with will want to find out more about you. They need to find out if you are a right fit, but they may also be looking at a few other things too.
So in no particular order here is some advice on how to prepare for that online interview.
Preparing for the interview
You have previously done all your research on the company – which has landed you the interview – so the next steps are all about setting up for the online interview. What should you wear? Where should you sit? What if there are technical glitches?
Even if you have a dedicated space set aside in your home as a home office you should pay special attention to how it looks during the interview.
- Do you have a clear desk – move the coffee cups, the hairbrush, and the cat if necessary.
- What is visible in the background – is there a lot of clutter, kid’s toys, or ironing boards – hide them away, or just move them out of sight during the interview?
- What can be heard in the background – crying babies, washing machines, dogs barking, lawnmowers, take a few minutes and just stand and listen. If you can hear it then maybe the interviewer can hear it too.
- Are there sensitive documents visible – have you any paperwork sitting out on your desk that can be read, even upside down? Don’t forget to look at notice boards, calendars, or whiteboards that may be behind you.
- Do you need natural light, or lights turned on, to clearly show your image – make sure you can be seen.
If you don’t have a dedicated space and have to use an external location, such as a coffee shop or co-working space, then you need to consider all the above PLUS a few others – read on.
Use a good webcam and microphone
You want to be seen and heard clearly. If your job requires regular online meetings with either colleagues or external customers then investing in a high-quality webcam and microphone is a must. This is your window to the world and is the first impression that people have of you. If the video quality is poor and they can’t see you or the audio is so bad they can’t hear you, then you aren’t off to a good start.
If you are taking part in an online interview in an external location remember to use a good set of headphones so everyone else can’t hear the interview questions.
Check your equipment works
Ask friends or family to run through a test call with you. This will allow you time to work out issues with webcams and microphones. Do you need to adjust any settings? Do you need to upgrade any pieces of equipment? Is your broadband too slow to handle things? All these need to be considered when operating as a remote worker. Also, they should all be considered in advance of the interview.
Make sure all devices you are using are working properly, charged, or plugged in correctly during the interview. Close down any programs you are not using – this is important if you find you need to share your screen at any point during the meeting. Turn off notifications on mobile phones and other devices to eliminate distractions.
Another point to consider whenever you are running your checks on your webcam and microphone is where they are placed. Try to position yourself in a central position, so you are looking directly into the camera. If you have an external webcam you can play around by moving either it, or yourself, so you capture the best image of yourself.
Laptops, tablets, etc. have in-built cameras so you don’t have the freedom to move the position of the webcam. This can cause difficulty in getting a good clear image. Do we want to see up your nose, or stare at your cleavage? One solution is to raise your device to a higher position. Even placing it on a pile of books may be enough.
If you have an external microphone try to position it so that it can clearly pick up your voice, but not obscure your screen.
Remember the previous point – do a trial run before your interview!
What to wear for an online interview
Should you dress up for a virtual interview? Some organizations are adopting a more casual style of clothing policy for work, but you really need to think about the type of role you are being interviewed for, and the type of organization you are hoping to join. Business professional or business casual clothing portrays an image of who you are and how serious and credible a person you are. If you dress correctly for an interview it can also put you in the right frame of mind. And it may even help you focus on work-related matters.
- Understand your audience – who is likely to be on the interview panel?
- Choose an appropriate outfit – no six-pack or cleavage on show – unless you are going for fitness positions!
- Consider the position you are being interviewed for – shop assistant or senior manager.
- Requirements of the role – do you need to do live online sessions with colleagues, managers, or the general public?
- Think of color schemes – for example can you include colors of the corporate branding?
- Check your background – wear a contrasting color, you don’t want to blend into the wall behind you.
We have all heard the stories of remote staff who wear shirts and ties, or smart blouses, during their video calls while secretly sitting with their pyjama bottoms on. Just make sure you don’t need to stand up during your video call!
This article has looked at what to wear for an online interview. It also covered how to set up an online interview for a remote job. While there is quite a bit to consider, just remember everything listed is within your control. Preparation is key – so take the time and get set up in advance. For tips and hints on what to focus on during the actual interview have a look at remote interview tips.