Suggestions for Candidates Doing Remote Interviews

Written by
Executive Committee of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages

Jun 5, 2019

Jun 5, 2019 • by Executive Committee of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages

While these suggestions were created for candidates interviewing for faculty positions, anyone interviewing remotely should consider these tips.  


Double-check time zones, including whether or not daylight savings time is observed in your interviewer’s location.



If you are requesting or agreeing to an interview by videoconferencing, make sure that you have the proper equipment necessary: a reliable high-speed Internet connection and either a Mac or a PC equipped with a webcam and microphone. A built-in webcam is simplest, but if you do not have one, you can purchase an exterior one. If you have a headset, you will have better sound quality.

Ask your interviewers beforehand what medium they will be using. Skype is the most commonly used videoconferencing tool. If you do not already have a Skype account, make sure you set one up well before your interview. Communicate your Skype username with your interviewer.


Make sure that you will have uninterrupted service and good connections, especially if you are using a cell phone.

Consider using a headset or headphones with an attached microphone, especially if you are using a cellphone. This will prevent unwelcome noise transmittal, assure more clarity, and leave your hands free for taking notes.


Whether you will be at home or on your campus for your interview, choose your location wisely.


For both telephone and videoconferencing interviews, make sure that you have a quiet space where you know you will not be interrupted. If you have pets, keep them out of the room! Turn off cell phone alerts and alarms.


Remember that it is a professional interview, and you do not want to have clutter or bedclothes strewn about visible on camera. 

How is the lighting in the room you will be using? Make sure there is ample lighting so that you project well to the committee. Ideally, you should be lit from the front so that your face projects clearly. If you sit with your back to a window or a lamp, your face will be dark.


Test your connections to make sure they are reliable. 


Do a mock interview with a friend. Practice answering the call, greeting the committee members, and fielding a few questions. Also practice signing off. An interview telephone call can be more disconcerting than you think, because you cannot see the committee members; it may be difficult to judge the meaning of certain sounds, responses, and silences during the interview. Try not to get nervous. Stay calm, and do not assume that a silence is necessarily a sign of disapproval; sometimes a silence may simply mean the interviewers are writing notes or looking through your documents. If you practice these sorts of scenarios beforehand, you will remain more composed during the actual interview.


If you are new to video calls such as Skype, ask a friend to Skype you so that you can practice answering a videoconferencing call with ease. You should have a sense of how you come across over a videoconferencing call. Again, doing a practice call with a friend can be beneficial.

Know exactly where your webcam is located, and make sure you look directly at the camera as you speak. Do not look down or over the camera—looking at the camera is the equivalent of making eye contact with your interviewers.

Try to keep your body language and facial expressions as natural as possible.



One advantage of a telephone interview is that you and your surroundings are not visible. You can have notes and documents arranged in front of you. You can even use your computer during the interview, if necessary. Don’t go overboard, though. Sound does carry over phone lines, so be careful not to rustle papers around or to type loudly on your computer.


Do not have stacks of notes or documents in front of you. 

Do have a copy of the documents you submitted to the committee in case the interviewer(s) ask you to refer to them (curriculum vitae, teaching philosophy, cover letter, etc.). Have them neatly organized in front of you.

Do have questions you would like to ask the committee should they give you the opportunity.

Do have a pad and pen to jot down any information you may need during the interview.



Of course, since you will not be visible, there is no need to dress up for the interview. However, many interviewees find it helpful to actually dress up for the interview.  You may find that it helps you focus, speak in a more professional tone, and enhance your confidence and enthusiasm.


Dress for the videoconferencing interview just as you would for a face-to-face interview. What you are wearing will, of course, show on camera, but it may also affect how you perform during the interview. Dress comfortably but professionally and be ready to project a confident and competent image of yourself.

These suggestions were prepared by the Executive Committee of the Association of Departments of Foreign Languages in 2015.