Demystifying Remote Interviews – how to ace the first stage

When demand for jobs is high and competition rife, many organisations will often kick start their recruitment process by using remote interviews – interviews via phone, Skype or video conference – to screen their initial candidate base.

Our recent webinar session revealed that 71% of online participants thought of remote interviews as an ‘HR sift’; eliminating a large number of applicants deemed skilled enough for consideration but too weak to make the next stages.

Lisa Jones, career consultant at the Officers’ Association, and herself an ex-Army officer, explores the varying types that job seekers may encounter, how to prepare for them, and the top tips worth noting down beforehand.

Lisa states that remote interviews should be treated just as you would a face-to-face meeting.

Whether the interviewer conducts your remote interview over the telephone, Skype or video-conference, Lisa underlines a number of crucial practices well worth taking into account.

Here are the top tips to help you face the interview with confidence and poise:

  • Prepare yourself by researching the company website, Twitter, Facebook and recent press articles as well as the interviewer/s on LinkedIn. Knowing a little bit about your interviewer’s employment history will suggest a sincere interest in their career path.
  • It may seem obvious but if you are expecting a phone call, make sure you have your phone to hand and answer any numbers that your phone does not recognise. You must also ensure that no background noise will interfere with the call.
  • If your interviewer arranges either a Skype or video conference call, check for a good internet connection and functioning Skype facilities beforehand; prepare a back-up plan in the event of lost connection.
  • Ensure that your posture is correct and that you smile; it is widely agreed upon that a smile can be heard in your voice; first impressions count so be sure that your enthusiasm comes across.
  • Just as it is expected of your email address, your Skype username must be professional.
  • It is a common mistake to look at the screen rather than into the camera during Skype/video conference calls. Eye contact is vital when establishing a relationship and aids further engagement and visible attentiveness, which will go a long way.
  • Be mindful of the lighting and surrounding area during visual calls. Clear the area around you as much as possible as potential employers may be able to see more than you think.
  • Make sure to listen and demonstrate your attentiveness by reiterating the interviewers’ comments at appropriate times during the conversation.
  • You will not be scrutinised for taking your time answering questions, so take a deep breath and make sure you fully consider the question before answering.

Remote interviews are often the first stage of the interview process; they are conducted this way for a number of reasons, so to ensure a positive result, don’t forget to apply ‘The Three P’s’ – Plan, Prepare and Practise!


Watch the entire Remote Interview webinar with Lisa Jones and Clive Lowe.