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Career Growth

4 Ways Candidates Can Prepare for a Remote Interview

Written By Jannelle Sanchez | April 13, 2021

Man wearing headset smiling at a laptop screen, holding a pen to a notepad

This post was updated with current data by Brianna Hansen.

As a candidate, going through the hiring process is naturally nerve-wracking. But interviewing when the entire hiring process is done virtually can be downright intimidating. 

As more and more companies hire remote roles, it’s important to continue refining your remote interviewing skills.  

According to a LinkedIn survey, 70% of respondents agree a hiring process that combines virtual and in-person processes will become increasingly standard due to the associated cost and time savings.

Insights from LinkedIn about virtual recruiting

Remote job interviews are a new format for most people. As a candidate, it’s ok to be concerned with how this change may affect your chances of landing your dream job. 

Here are 4 ways to prepare for your next remote interview, from HackerRank’s Co-Founder & CEO, Vivek Ravisankar:

Remote Interview Best Practices

1. Ask what the remote interview process will look like

If your recruiter or hiring manager doesn’t communicate what their online interview process will look like, don’t be afraid to ask. 

“Some companies do this proactively, but a majority don't,” Vivek says. “Ask upfront about the different interview rounds and what you need to prepare for each of them.”

Here are a few basic questions you can ask each company prior to your first remote interview:

  1. How many interview rounds can I expect?
  2. How will your company introduce your culture to me in lieu of me visiting the office?
  3. Who should I contact in case I experience technical difficulties prior to my online interview?
  4. What is the expected dress code? 
  5. What tools or platforms will I be using during my interview?
  6. How many candidates are being considered for this role?
  7. How can I best prepare for the interview?

2. Take extra time to set up your physical interview space

Take some extra time to think about the setup of your interview environment. Here are a few interview environment factors you should check before your remote interview:

  • Is there clutter in the background that could distract the interviewer? 
  • Did you close any unnecessary tabs that you could accidentally click or make noise during the interview?
  • How stable is your internet connection? Can you hardwire your connection if needed?
  • Are your phone and laptop notifications on mute?
  • Are all your monitors properly set up? Is your camera on the same monitor you’ll be looking at during the interview (to mimic face-to-face communication)? 
  • Is your camera enabled on your laptop? If you’re using a browser-based video interview tool, does that browser have camera access?
  • Will you be in a noise-free environment? Do other people in your home know the time and duration of your interview?
  • Are you in a spot you can comfortably stay in for the duration of the interview?

First impressions matter. And with this new remote environment, anything that can hinder that first interaction can play into your consideration for the role. 

“Spending 5 - 10 mins during the interview setting up due to technical issues not only gets the interview off to a bad start but also lowers your confidence,” Vivek says. Laying the groundwork to prepare will help put you at ease.

3. Practice, practice, practice

Just like you would for an onsite interview, spend time preparing yourself to answer common questions and problems. 

If you’re a developer, you’ll most likely have a role-specific round to assess your coding skills and a system design round. Our HackerRank Interview Preparation Kit will help you sharpen your coding skills.

And don’t forget about soft skills. Spend time reading the company’s mission statement or values, and practice answering any value-related questions. Brush up your soft skills and practice answering common interview questions out loud. 

This Ted Talk is a great resource for people who want to hone their body language and communication skills.

4. Bring your confidence

After you ask the right questions, set up a comfortable interview environment, familiarize yourself with the right tools, and spend time prepping, the last thing you need to do is deliver confidence. Interviewing can be stressful, but remember that you made it to the interview round for a reason. “Remember: they want you as much as you want the job,” says Vivek. 

The interview is a two-way street: you should feel comfortable evaluating the employer in the same way they’ll evaluate you. Ask clarifying questions, speak, and present your work with confidence, and ask for feedback at the end of the interview.

Your Next Role Awaits

If you don’t receive a job offer, don’t feel defeated in your job search. Failure is just feedback. That means you are one step closer to finding that perfect fit.

There will always be more opportunities. Take some time to reflect on the entire experience, identify what areas you can improve on, and start preparing for your next remote interview.


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