Too often I have sat with a prospective employee and had him or her do nothing but answer questions. This told me nothing more than the person is good at responding.
Instead of yes or no answers, turn your answers into long-form ones that can spawn other conversations. Getting into a real conversation with the interviewer shows how great it would be to work with you. It also gives you a chance to feel out the manager to see if you would work well with him or her.
When the manager asks you open ended questions about yourself, like what makes you a great remote employee, don’t give some ho-hum “I am dedicated” response. Show the manager why you’re dedicated with examples and situations you’ve been in. I, for example, like to bring up that I have been with the same remote client for nine years and another for four years. This is a quick way to show that I am both dedicated and trustworthy.
Finally, use your body and eyes to your advantage. Never sit cross-armed and looking away from the manager during an interview — this gives you a nasty aura. Keep your arms at your side or rested on your legs and use them to show you are animated — of course, try to avoid any Kramer-style flailing. As for your eyes, I recommend 75-80 percent eye contact during the interview. Anything more is just creepy, and anything less makes you seem distracted or insecure.
If your interview is on the phone, make sure you wait your turn before speaking. Give the interviewer a full second before replying to any questions just in case he or she has more to say. Use your voice as your body language by changing your tone and sounding energetic. And avoid “um” and “uh” like the plague. If you are stumped by a question or need a sec to gather your thoughts, fill the dead space with other things, like:
- “Wow, great question.”
- “No one’s ever asked me that.
- “That’s something I never had to think about.”