About the author

Darren Cronian, the author of this guide, has spent eight years securing remote jobs and building a successful freelancing business. His goal is to help people escape the office. Read more >

Remote job interview anxiety is a common experience, and it can be even more pronounced when navigating the unfamiliar territory of a video interview.

The absence of physical cues, the potential for technical glitches, and the inherent isolation of a remote setting can exacerbate stress.

However, there are practical ways to manage this anxiety, ensuring you present your best self to the hiring manager.

Here’s a deep dive into overcoming remote job interview anxiety.

Overcoming Remote Job Interview Anxiety: 13 Tips for Success
Pre-Interview Preparation

Rehearse, Don’t Memorize

One common mistake is memorizing answers word-for-word, which can make you sound robotic and increase anxiety if you forget your lines.

Instead, jot down key points you want to cover for each potential question and practice speaking about them naturally.

Technical Dry Run

Remote job interview anxiety often spikes when something goes wrong. Test your camera, microphone, and internet connection a week before the interview. Log in 15 minutes early on the interview to ensure everything works.

You might find having a practice interview with a close friend helps reduce the anxiety a few days before. Use the same video call software used in the interview to become familiar with it beforehand.

Create a Calming Environment

Set up your interview space to make you feel calm and focused. Small touches, whether a favorite plant on your desk or calming instrumental music playing softly in the background, can make a big difference.

The Two-Minute Rule for Quick Confidence

Before the interview, take two minutes to adopt a “power pose” — stand tall, hands on hips, and feet spread apart. Research by social psychologist Amy Cuddy suggests that such poses can increase feelings of power and confidence, potentially reducing anxiety.

Pre-Question Strategy

Before the interview, prepare a question you can ask early on, such as, “Can you tell me more about the team I’ll be working with?” Asking a question can shift your mindset from being the interviewee to being an active participant in a conversation, reducing feelings of being scrutinized.

During the Interview: Mindfulness and Control

Pause and Think Method

If you tend to freeze up, permit yourself to take a moment before answering a question. A simple “That’s a great question, let me think for a moment” can give you the time to collect your thoughts. Interviewers appreciate thoughtful responses over rushed answers.

As you pause to think of your response, make sure you breathe. Refrain from answering the question straight away.

The Tangent Monitor Strategy

For those who talk too much when nervous, be your own “Tangent Monitor.” If you are veering off-topic, pause and say, “I realized I went off on a tangent; let me refocus.” Acting in this way shows self-awareness and the ability to self-correct.

Sensory Reset Approach

Have a cup of warm tea, coffee, or hot water nearby. If you find yourself becoming overly anxious, take a sip. The warm liquid can serve as a sensory reset, pulling your focus away from your anxiety and back to the present moment.

Posture-Check Reminder

Good posture isn’t just for appearances; it can also affect your mental state. Sit in a way that allows you to be both relaxed and alert.

Every so often, do a quick posture check to ensure you’re not slouching or tensing up, which can exacerbate anxiety.

Body Language: The Unspoken Dialogue

Nod and Smile Technique

In a video interview, your face is front and center. Nodding and smiling at appropriate times can show you are engaged and trick your brain into feeling more relaxed. Smile naturally, though, do not make it look fake. Build a rapport with the interviewer and make the conversation feel two-way rather than an interrogation, and this can quickly deal with any anxiety.

Sticky Note Reminder Trick

Place a sticky note with a smiley face or a calming word (“Breathe,” “Relax”) near your webcam because it serves as a visual cue to maintain positive body language and can help ground you during the interview.

Post-Interview: Reflect and Reward

Three Things Exercise

After the interview, write down three things that went well and three things you’d like to improve because this can turn the experience into a learning opportunity and reduce the tendency to stress on perceived mistakes.

Reward Yourself

Regardless of how you think the interview went, do something enjoyable afterward to create a positive association with the interview process, making you less likely to dread future interviews.

Emergency Kit for Unexpected Anxiety Spikes

Keep a small emergency kit next to you during the interview, including a glass of water, a stress ball, or a written quote with encouraging words.

If you feel an unexpected spike in anxiety, a quick sip of water or a glance at your note can help you regain composure.

Interview anxiety is a challenge, but it’s not insurmountable. By incorporating these practical tips into your preparation and execution, you can navigate the unique landscape of remote interviews with greater confidence and poise.

Remember, the goal isn’t to eliminate anxiety but to manage it effectively so your skills and personality shine through.

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