On this page, we're addressing a popular question: "How do you interview remotely?" We're also curating a list of questions that we at GitLab appreciate hearing answers to from others in remote organizations.
Whether you're wanting to learn how to hire remotely, or just wanting to know how to get hired for a remote position, it helps to know how you should prepare for a remote interview. You only get one chance to make a first impression, so keep these tips in mind.
Remote interviews are similar to in-person interviews in many ways: You're still trying to make a good impression and communicate your strengths, you're just not doing it from the same room. One thing is certain: preparation is just as important in a remote interview as an in-person interview.
For a remote interview, being able to easily navigate a video call is vital. First, consider how you want to present yourself visually by choosing a camera quality:
Wearing headphones can create a more positive video experience for all. If you're using a dedicated microphone, you may prefer comfortable studio-style headphones without an in-line mic. If you want to reduce the amount of hardware you're using, headphones with an in-line mic will be more appropriate.
Some prefer in-ear headphones rather than over-the-head headphones, and it's important to consider long-term comfortability for those who may find themselves in video calls for multiple hours per day.
Bluetooth headphones can be problematic due to limitations of microphone quality, latency, and battery life. If you opt for Bluetooth headphones, it is recommended that you use a separate wired microphone. Bluetooth headsets can easily jump between devices, thus it is recommended to only pair one set per device to avoid unexpected disconnects during video calls.
"When audio quality is high (vs low), people judge the content as better and more important. They also judge the speaker as more intelligent, competent, and likable. Messages that are difficult to process are less compelling." This research, conducted by Norbert Schwarz at the University of Southern California, reinforces the importance of investing in equipment and atmosphere to generate the highest-fidelity audio in a remote setting.
When possible, avoid doing a job interview in a room with other people or in a place with heavy background noise. If you have a pair of Bluetooth or wired earbuds with an in-line microphone (like the ones commonly included with most smartphones), use those instead of the built-in microphone of a laptop, phone, or desktop monitorg. These microphones tend to be of low quality, and do little to stop background noise.
You can have great technology, but if you fail to connect or stay connected during your interview, it can make it difficult to have a productive conversation. Be sure to reset, check, and test your internet connection especially prior to an interview.
If you have challenges with connectivity in your home office, consider asking your interviewer or recruiter whether the company offers interview accommodations such as reimbursing the cost to rent a private office or call booth for the interview.
Conducting a remote interview is all about preparation, and most importantly, setting expectations for the person being interviewed. You also have technical considerations to make since the person joining the video/conference call is using a different setup than you, or they may not have interviewed remotely before. Be clear about how to join the interview and the technical requirements. Make sure the process and/or email templates are documented internally so that others can communicate this process to future interviewees.
Before a remote interview, check your front-facing camera or webcam to ensure you are well lit and can be seen. Maintain eye contact with your screen/camera and allow yourself to smile and react naturally–the same way you would for an in-person interview.
Pick a neutral location that is quiet and comfortable. That way, neither you nor the interviewer will be distracted by your environment. We encourage you to display your quirkiness and personality, but for an interview, it's best to avoid chaos.
To help make a great first impression, prepare by researching the company and reviewing their handbook and values. Practice answering some sample interview questions live with a peer or by recording yourself or practicing in a mirror.
During the interview phase, it's vital to get an understanding of how a potential employee understands and plans to participate effectively in remote work. To be a great remote worker, potential hires should be:
With many companies embracing remote work and hiring remotely, it's important to highlight your remote skills just like you would your other qualifications for the role. You can certainly incorporate this into the interview process, but you also may want to consider updating your resume.
Remote interviews expand the possibilities for recruiting a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Remote gives your company a competitive advantage by opening the recruiting pipeline to unlimited geographic regions and sourcing employees from any location.
Not only does this create a more competitive hiring process by reaching a more diverse set of candidates, but it also allows your organization to hire great people not limited by the basis of salary.
For hiring teams, one of the most common challenges associated with remote interviews is gaining insight into the candidate's personality.
To answer this question, you first need to unlearn a bit, and change your frame of mind. A hiring manager should not aspire to assess culture fit. Rather, you should aspire to assess values fit.
For many, it is assumed that culture is simply the aura, energy, or vibe one gets when walking into an office. This is largely driven by decor and personas in the room. It is dangerous to allow company culture to be dictated by such factors, as this will create an oscillating culture that changes depending on mood or socioeconomic conditions.
A company culture is a company's list of values. Culture is an assurance that each employee respects, admires, and feels invested in a company's values, and that leadership works to ensure values are not violated. As GitLab, an operating principle within our Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging value is "culture fit is a bad excuse."
Remote interviewers should link a company's values during the interview and have a conversation to assess a candidate's alignment and understanding of those values. Particularly in a remote setting, values serve as the north star, guiding every business decision by people you cannot physically see and shaping how colleagues treat one another.
When you're searching for a remote career opportunity, it can be daunting to know where to start. We've curated a list of companies and job boards to help narrow your search, as well as a list of qualities to look for as you're evaluating a potential employer.
GitLab seeks to learn from others who are embracing remote work. This list of questions is directed at other peers working within a remote organization. Some are aimed at executives and hiring managers. In this video on the GitLab Unfiltered YouTube channel, Sid asks the below questions to InVision Chief People Office Mark Frein.
We are working on a submission process for remote companies who want to engage in interviews with GitLab to share their perspective on these questions and more — stay tuned!
Below is an archive of past interview guests, answering the above questions and discussing remote work with GitLab team members.
Learn more about scheduling a GitLab Pick Your Brain series.
GitLab's all-remote culture empowers team members to live and work where they are most fulfilled, and to structure their day in a manner that suits them.
If you have yet to work within an all-remote environment, it can be difficult to fully understand the potential. Each individual is able to approach all-remote differently, leveraging the autonomy it enables to improve one's life.
In the GitLab Unfiltered video above, two GitLab team members share their experiences on working in an all-remote setting, providing a glimpse at what's possible when embracing this style of work.
To provide insight and transparency into the lives of GitLab team members — and give those considering remote work ideas for structuring their own lives — we ask the below questions in a video interview. While GitLab's entire team is remote, there can be great diversity in answers.
Explore answers from GitLab team members in the Remote Work playlist at the GitLab Unfiltered YouTube channel.
GitLab team members interested in being interviewed should message @dmurph.
Return to the main all-remote page.