Congratulations! You have landed the interview. Now it’s time to prepare to tell your story and make a great impression.

In addition to conducting company and industry research and practicing your responses, you also want to be ready for factors that make remote interviewing unique. Use the following best practices to be confident, prepared, and ready to ace your interview.

Preparing for Your Interview

First, as you would for an in-person interview, take time to review the job description, research the organization and industry, and prepare your notes. Write down your key selling points, accomplishments, specific examples, and questions for the interviewer. Taking the time to prepare before the interview will ensure that the conversation flows well.

On the day of the interview, make sure you have all of the materials you need before picking up the phone or logging onto the video conference call. Having your resume, cover letter, notes, job description, and questions for the interviewer printed and available where you’re seated will be helpful if you need a reminder of key points or questions. Make sure to also have paper, a pen, water, and a calculator (if applicable) by your seat.

Get Remote Interview Ready

Remote interviews can be held over the phone or via video conference and it’s important to be aware of the nuances for each.

For a phone interview, make sure that you find a quiet space with good cell phone reception and inform anyone you share a living space with that you’ll be on a call. Charge your phone in advance and also check your outgoing voicemail message. Is it professional, in case an earlier interview goes long, and the call is sent to your voicemail? Lastly, plan to dress up for the interview even though the interviewer cannot see you. Dressing for your interview as if you were going into the office can help you get into a professional state of mind.

For a video interview, in addition to being in a quiet space, make sure you have a table for your laptop (so your video stays steady) and check your lighting and background. For lighting, sit facing a window when possible, use a ring light if available, and avoid backlighting so that your face is not shadowed. If you do not have a neutral background available, download a professional looking background. Also, always check your technology (audio and camera) and test the video platform if it’s one you haven’t used previously. You will only be on video from the torso up, but full professional attire in line with the organization’s dress code gets you in the right mindset, and covers your bases should you need to get up from your seat.

Make an Impression from Afar

During a phone interview, there are a couple of strategies you can use to increase your confidence and make a strong impression. First, smile! Smiling affects your tone of voice and helps you demonstrate enthusiasm – even if the interviewer can’t see you. Try it with a friend, you can tell the difference when someone is smiling on the phone versus when they are not. Also, consider standing up for the interview instead of sitting, as standing improves your posture naturally. This is good for voice projection, creating internal feelings of confidence, and demonstrating that confidence to others.

On video, sitting is most appropriate as you’ll be sitting across the virtual interview table with the employer. However, one video-specific tip that showcases confidence is looking into the camera when speaking instead of looking at your own video. It’s natural to look at the screen but looking into the camera will appear more like in-person eye contact to the interviewer. Also, minimize or remove your own video when possible so that your focus is on the interviewer and you’ll be less distracted.

For either a phone or video interview, take notes as needed just as you would in an in-person interview. These notes can help you keep track of what information the recruiter has given you and help you formulate further questions. Towards the end of the conversation ask about next steps. Then thank the recruiter for his/her time and follow up with a thoughtful thank you note.

Good Luck!

Questions? Email cpd@hbs.edu or call us at 617-495-6232.