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How to get into the right mindset before a remote job interview

It’s normal to feel nervous before a job interview, especially if it’s a job you really want. In today’s world of work however, it’s understandable that you may be feeling an even heightened sense of nerves because your interview is also being conducted remotely. 

Perhaps you’re afraid you won’t present well or sell yourself well over video. Or perhaps you’re worried about possible technical glitches. Regardless of what’s bothering you, it’s important to remain positive before your job interview.  

After all, succeeding in a remote interview isn’t that different to succeeding in an in-person interview – provided you keep your nerves and negative thoughts at bay. Maintaining a positive mindset really is vital if you are to present yourself well and show how your skills and experience make you the most suitable person for the job. 

Here’s how to get yourself into the right mindset and remain optimistic and confident for your next remote job interview. 

1. Reframe the way you think. If you have a tendency to drown yourself in self-limiting thoughts, such as by telling yourself that another candidate will be better suited to the job, or that you won’t come across as well on a video call, the chances are that you will start to believe it. 

Instead, reframe the way you think and try to appreciate how far you’ve come in your career. Remember, you’ve already been accepted for and invited to an interview, which is something to be proud of. So, approach your remote interview as you would one in person – as a conversation about your skills and experience. Remember, no one else in the interview process will have the option to meet the hiring manager in person either, so there’s no need to let the fact you’re not as experienced in telephone or video interviews put you in a negative headspace.

2. Don’t let imposter syndrome get the better of you. Instead of thinking “everyone will be better than me”, remind yourself of your uniqueness and of your worth – and take that self-belief into your job interview.

Many people suffer from something called imposter syndrome, “an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be”. Essentially, this is the feeling that you have somewhat fooled others into thinking you’re better at something, or more capable, than you really are. Or that you don’t deserve the success you’ve experienced so far.

Due to the current climate, lots of people may well be suffering from self-doubt. This might be making it more difficult to remember all the things you’ve achieved so far. But it’s important that you turn this limiting mindset on its head by telling yourself that your success is ultimately down to your own competence and effort, not luck. 

3. Don’t overthink it. A job interview is, of course, a very important moment in your life. It could open countless doors for you, should you be offered the job. But thinking too much about the significance of the interview itself could put an unnecessary amount of pressure on yourself, therefore negatively impacting your frame of mind during your preparation. So, take a step back and think about this for what it truly is: a conversation with someone about a job you’re interested in and a chance for you both to get to know each other. That’s really the basics of it, so try not to get ahead of yourself and overthink its significance – just keep things in perspective.

4. Do your preparation. Thorough preparation isn’t only good for improving your chances of landing the job in the first place; it’s also great for your mindset, helping you to relax in the knowledge that you have done all you can and whatever happens next is inevitable. If you feel prepared, you feel confident, and your frame of mind is therefore more likely to be positive.

To help you prepare for your remote interview, we share these 10 tips

5. Psyche yourself up. Remind yourself of all the amazing feats you’ve achieved in your career to date and your qualifications and experience. 

At the same time, make sure you use optimistic language, such as “I’m looking forward to the interview” or “I’m sure it will go well”. Remember, this could be the opportunity of a lifetime – but even if you don’t get the job this time, that simply means something even better is going to come along.

6. Approach this interview as an opportunity for growth. Rather than seeing this interview in black and white – as either an opportunity to get the job or not, with nothing more to be gained from the situation – approach it as an opportunity to learn. 

If you’re living through a difficult period at the moment, it may be tough to adopt this mindset. But try to use this interview as a learning opportunity. For example, you might even emerge from the interview with a clearer sense of what you want and don’t want from your career, and where your present strengths and weaknesses lie – and therefore, what you need to focus on next to get ahead in your career. And those are great outcomes in themselves, aren’t they?

You could even view this as a chance to learn how to use unfamiliar technology or conduct a professional meeting remotely – perhaps things you’ve never had to do before. Such experiences will only help you to become a more well-rounded professional. 

7. Speak to your recruiter and support group. Do you have a relative or friend who is great at giving advice? If so, a quick call about how you’re feeling could go a long way to enhancing and sustaining your positive mindset.

It’s also well worth having a good relationship with your recruiter, given that they are the experts in this field, and will have an existing relationship with the interviewer. Perhaps you could organise a video call with them? This would be a good chance to test out your technology. Also, if you have any lingering doubts or uncertainties in your head about the role or interview process, a friendly conversation with your recruiter can help to dispel them, thereby improving your state of mind ahead of the big day.

You might ask your recruiter questions like: “Is this a newly created position?”, “What will the structure of the interview be?” and “Do you have any tips for a telephone/video interview?” This will help you to feel as prepared and informed as possible, so that you can enter the interview with positivity, confidence and poise, able to eloquently answer whatever questions the interviewer might throw at you.

8. Don’t become too absorbed. Yes, it’s important to prepare well for any job interview, but even when an interview is looming, you should still make time to relax away from the world of work. Go for a walk, do a puzzle, work on a hobby or watch a movie. This will help to reduce your levels of stress and ensure you don’t overthink or worry about the bigger picture.

9. Feel excited! At the end of the day, a job interview is a great opportunity to be introduced to new people and could open the door to taking the next exciting step in your career. Now is the time, too, to think about all the things that attracted you to this role, including what it would be like to do the job itself, and the opportunities it could open up for you.

Allowing yourself to feel excited, and visualising what it would feel like to work in this new role, will help you to feel more confident and maintain a positive mindset throughout your preparation.

10. Pick the right outfit for the interview. Even though this is a video or telephone interview, it’s still imperative you dress as if you were meeting the interviewer face to face. In fact, the seemingly smallest touches, like wearing your best shoes, despite the fact they won’t be seen, can make a difference to how positive your mindset is ahead of and during the interview. Dressing sharply, and in tune with the position for which you are applying, will help you to feel self-assured on this all-important occasion.

A positive mindset can make all the difference

These tips should help you approach your next interview with a positive and constructive mindset. Although we’re living through testing times, there is reason to be positive – after all, you’re most likely reading this article because you have an interview lined up. So well done!

It’s now up to you to decide which approach is going to have the best consequences for you. Will you prepare for the interview thinking: “I’m so nervous”, “I hope they like me”, or “What if they ask impossible questions?” Or will you instead affirm to yourself that you are capable and prepared for success?

The power of a positive mindset really could make all the difference during your next interview. You’ll feel confidence in the fact that you deserve to be there, with the knowledge that you stand just as much chance as anyone else of being offered the job.

With this positive mindset in place, you will also be able to enjoy your interview more and portray your authentic self from start to finish – a person who is confident, articulate and fully deserving of this wonderful opportunity. Ultimately, that’s who you are, so don’t doubt for a moment that you are anything else.


About this author

Adam Shapley, Managing Director, Hays New Zealand and Hays IT Australia & New Zealand, began working at Hays in 2001 and during this time has held significant leadership roles across the business including responsibility for multiple specialisms in various locations across Australia & New Zealand.

In 2018, he was appointed to Hays ANZ Management Board and made Managing Director for Hays New Zealand.

Adam is also responsible for the strategic direction of the Hays Information Technology business across Australia & New Zealand including driving growth across Digital Technology, Projects & Business Change and IT Operations & Support.

Follow Adam on LinkedIn