4 tips to succeed in a remote tech interview
By Alexandre Silva, Talent Acquisition @Xpand IT
Preparing and excelling at interviews is something that most people don’t really enjoy, but it is such an important part when we are taking a new professional challenge.
A big part of the tech industry does a lot of interviews, since it’s a very active market, depending on where you’re working from. Many people already had the experience of working from home. Still, in Portugal, the majority of developers and IT Engineers is now facing for the first time the experience of doing a remote/video call tech interview.
There are a lot of important topics to discuss concerning recruitment and interviews, but today I’m here to approach only one of them: the videocall or remote interviews and how you can prepare and succeed at them.
At Xpand IT, right now we are working from home unless you really need to go to the office for some reason. Therefore, if we are not at the office, but we are still recruiting new tech people as we are — it means we have to adapt the screening of new Xpanders through digital channels. The main goal here is to always create the best experience both for the candidates and recruiters.
So in this article, I’m giving you 4 tips to succeed in a remote tech interview whether you’re a developer or an IT Engineer. You might wonder if it’s any different from a standard interview? Well, it is, in many ways, that we will be discussing further down this post. Let’s do it!
1 — Guarantee the call conditions on your side
This might be the most basic, and most important tip I can give. This is something you usually don’t have to worry when you have a face-to-face interview. Before you start the interview, make sure you have the right conditions like a calm place, with as little background noise as possible. Depending on the platform you’ll be using, you can test your sound and microphone to make sure everything is working correctly. Especially if the platform is new to you, I recommend checking it beforehand.
2 — Having a camera, what for?
This tip I could include in the first one, but I decided to split it in two. Why? Because many people don’t understand why having a camera is so important. I want you to imagine you are on a date, yes, a date, — even if we are not analyzing your physical appearance, there is a connection to be done. How many times someone you know talks about someone else you haven’t met yet and your brain has an itching need to associate it with a face? Associating a person to a face is essential and helps you and the interviewer to connect.
Another point that I value as a recruiter is soft skills. In a remote interview understanding your soft skills can be quite challenging. So, if we can see each other, communication will flow more efficiently for both of us. The point is that details really matter and this is your time to express your uniqueness. Moreover, with a camera, the interviewer can see when you take a while to answer or if you are focused on the conversation and giving the moment your full attention.
3 — Study the position
This tip can be applied to all professional areas for obvious reasons. Before an interview, you must confirm what you are getting into. I will give a real example that happened to me so that everyone can understand. I had a candidate that sent his CV for a Microsoft position, that had all the information on the ad. Unfortunately, when we started our conversation, soon we realized he wanted the position to be 100% remote, which wasn’t the case. He obviously didn’t read the full job description, which mentioned that remote work would be partial. This is a very simple mismatch, but you get the point — read the full job ad and be prepared. You can figure out what type of position it is, what you’ll be doing and if you fit the job. Focusing on reading what little information you can get will always help you find the best match for you. And this brings me to the last tip.
4 — Technical questions right from the start!
Many people think the technical questions usually happen in a 2nd phase of the interview process. Well, at Xpand IT, this is true, but not always. Our recruiters and HR team are familiar with IT technical areas and know-how our teams work, which means they can try to check if your technical skills match the team. Just a week ago, I had someone telling me “I work with SQL Server almost every day”, so since it was a junior position, I fired a simple question about table joins, which surprised the candidate.
Always study what the position requires preparing some technical answers! You will feel much more confident. It’s not that a question will define your expertise, but we have to evaluate you somehow. Being prepared will help you through getting that one job opportunity you want. So, if the position is to develop with a recent version of a technology that you are not comfortable with, check the main differences between the version you know, and the one used in the company, for example. Especially if you are a junior, you might not be aware of every existing language/technology. But if you prepare yourself, it will definitely raise your value for the position.
As you see, remote interviews are not that complicated, but also have a few differences from a face-to-face meeting that you can take advantage of. By following these tips, I hope you can start having remote tech interviews more confidently and get that one job you are looking for! And if it is at Xpand IT, even better! Let’s have a digital chat, shall we?