How to Prepare for Remote Interviews?

Cynthia S.
Cynthia S.

With the ongoing pandemic, and even before, remote interviews have been conducted by many institutions for their online college courses to expedite the admission process and save time. Such interviews don’t need to be the sole factor for granting admission, but they are nevertheless an important decision-making factor. And remote interviews have also become the norm for hiring as well. This article dives into some of the fundamental and rudimentary dos and don’ts of remote college interviews and job interviews, which students should read and understand for a successful interview.

The Basics for Remote Interviews

While many experts tell you many valid points about handling remote interviews, we want to start with the basics.

Brush Up on Past Courses

Brushing up on past courses and core subjects is always good to do. It may have been weeks or months since completing the last course, and the interviewer should not get the impression that the candidate has little to no knowledge of the subject matter or relevant topics.

Stay Up to Date

Based on the chosen field of study and the graduate program the student is applying to, what better way to impress the interviewer than by quoting the latest research and current knowledge on the program in question? Interviewees should always stay up to date and amass as much information as possible to give them a leg up and allow them to answer out-of-the-box questions comfortably.

Understand the Program & College

It is also prudent to understand the course or graduate program one is applying for, particularly at the college one is applying to. There is always a chance for the interviewer to pop a question such as, “What do you think this program is all about?” and answering such questions with an air of nonchalance will, of course, impress. Reading up and getting to know the applied college is also equally important. Read the prospectus or browse the college’s website and jot down important points that may come in handy.

Prepare Questions

There is a fair chance that an interviewer may ask whether the interviewee has any questions to ask. If such a situation presents itself, one should leap at the opportunity to ask the interviewer some questions too. Prepare a list of questions that may be of interest or curiosity, such as, “What have the students of this program gone on to become?” or “are there research or internship opportunities available for this program” and so on. Asking questions, but sensible and genuine ones can convey to the interviewer the ‘depth’ of the interviewee coupled with his or her seriousness to pursue the course.

Answer Questions

The main purpose of a remote interview is to ask questions, which is why one should ask oneself a few and answer them to be well prepared. Some of the most common questions asked are:

 

Tell me about yourself.
Why do you want to take up the X program?
Why have you chosen X college for the X program?
What contributions can you make to X college?
What are your interests, hobbies, and pass-times?
What is your favorite book? What book are you reading currently?
What are your future plans?

Do a Mock Interview

Getting a parent, relative, or mentor to conduct a mock interview is always a splendid idea. It gives the interviewee a chance to understand how they have fared by analyzing the whole interview against parameters such as preparedness, confidence, level of knowledge, overall demeanor, etc. This, in turn, can help in bettering oneself in weak areas.

Remote Interviews – Step by Step Guide

Here are s few important steps that students need to follow for successful remote interviews. These steps are useful for job interviews also.

Check the Schedule

Write the date, day, and time of the interview and any other important information there may be on a sheet of paper and stick it in at least two to three prominent locations at home. The schedule of the interview should be ingrained in the mind so that preparations may be undertaken well before time. On the day of the interview, it is best to be a hundred percent ready at least ten minutes before time.

Prepare the Set

Apart from using a comfortable chair and picking a silent room, make sure the background visible on the camera is clear of obstacles, and the overall field of vision from the camera is clutter-free. Moreover, the background should be soothing and simple; avoid loud, bold, or dramatic walls or wallpaper. Choose a room that is well lit either by natural or artificial light but in a way that it does not wash out the video capture. Finally, it is also a good idea to turn on the camera and see how the setting looks, making adjustments that may be needed to ensure a clear, crisp picture.

Check the Equipment

Never take computer equipment or gadgets for granted. Make sure that the device that will be used for the interview powers on has the latest software and updates installed and that the microphone and speakers/headphones work as they should. It is advisable to do this at least a week before the interview so that any repairs or replacements that may be required can be done in good time. Of course, one should also do a final test at least an hour before the scheduled interview to satisfy oneself that all is well.

Dress Right

Although it is only the upper half of the body visible to interviewers, dressing up for the occasion is the right thing to do. Appearing in formal attire not only gives the interviewee a sense of seriousness, dignity, and power, it conveys respect, regard, and sincerity to the interviewer as well. Avoid bright and bold colors and harsh geometric or floral prints. Also, keep in mind the background, making sure not to merge with it!

Nailing the Remote Interview

Here is a quick list to recapitulate the entire remote interview process and make it a success:

 

Pin up the Interview Schedule in at least 2 to 3 prominent locations at home. Mark the date and time on as many calendars are possible.
Choose a room that is quiet and free of outside noise, well-lit and ventilated.
Clear the room of parents, siblings, relatives, and pets.
Switch off the Mobile Phone or place it in another room (on silent mode).
Use a comfortable chair placed at a comfortable angle to be completely visible to the interviewer.
Rid the background of any obstacles or clutter, making sure it is soothing to the eye and not loud or flashy.
Check the device that is to be used for the interview. Install and update all necessary software.
Check the device’s audio/video capabilities by doing a sound, mic, and camera test.
Dress formally for the interview, avoiding loud colors and patterns.
Be ready and seated at least ten minutes before signing in for the interview.
Read and follow the instructions for signing in and sign-in on time!

 

Important: Apart from the answers to questions posed by the interviewer, the purpose of an interview is, more often than not, to assess the interviewee on several parameters. Avoid trying to be or sound cool, speaking out of context or out of turn. Talk knowledgeably about yourself, the program, and the college, while staying calm, composed and attentive.

 

Online Masters Colleges (OMC) fully supports students in their search for successful admission and a successful career. We have compiled a list of resources that students will need for graduate programs, along with the best financial aid guide. Also check out our top 5 tips for online learning using zoom. We wish you a successful remote interview.

Meet The Author

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Cynthia S.

Cynthia S. is an educationalist and currently works as a lecturer at one of the reputed universities on the West Coast. She has a bachelor’s and is currently pursuing an online master’s in education. Cynthia has over ten years of experience in the field of higher education.

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