Surviving your First Remote Interview As an Africa-Based Freelancer: Tips & Techniques

Remote Interview
Remote Interview
African working remotely. – ( Photo Source: Pexels)

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we live and work, causing companies globally to shift towards remote work. As an Africa-based freelancer, it’s essential to adapt to this new norm by mastering the art of remote interviews and equipping yourself with the necessary skills and tools to succeed. In this blog post, we will explore practical tips and techniques specifically relevant for Africa-based freelancers to survive their first remote interview. 

1. Understand the Basics of Remote Interviews:

Remote interviews can be conducted through various methods such as video calls, phone calls, or instant messaging. They can also be synchronous or asynchronous, depending on the nature of the job. To prepare for a video interview, ensure you have a phone with a camera, internet, and a quiet, well-lit room.

It’s important to understand the basics of remote interviews and their technical demands. For video interviews, you need a good-quality camera, high-speed internet, and a quiet, well-lit room. Your device should also have the necessary software installed. Test your technology at least one hour before your interview to ensure that everything is working correctly. Some tools that can be used for video calls and phone calls for the interview include: 

  • Zoom 
  • Skype 
  • Google Meet 
  • Microsoft Teams 

Also Read: The Potential of Freelancing: Opportunities for the African Diaspora to Connect with African Talent

2. Research the Company and the Role Before Your Remote Interview: 

Remote Interview
African preparing for remote interview. – ( Photo Source: Pexels)

 Your interview preparation goes beyond brushing up your skills and polishing your resume. Research the company and the role you are applying for. Familiarizing yourself with the company will give you an idea of how the company operates and what to expect during the interview. Understand the company’s mission, culture, and values to get an idea of how they operate and what they expect in the interview. Consider preparing questions to showcase your interest and engagement with the company and the role. 

As an Africa-based freelancer, you can research companies and roles before a remote interview by following these steps:  

  1. Visit the company website: Go to the business’ website and find out about what products or services they provide. Learn anything you can about the company culture, too. Click buttons like “About Us” or “Meet Our Team” when you’re on the company website.   
  2. Search Google News for Recent Company Developments: Look for a company’s name and see what turns up. You may find out the company’s tactics, recent news releases, or plans.  
  3. Review the Company’s Social Media Accounts: The majority of companies are present on social media. Look for the company’s social media accounts and follow them to learn more about the company.  
  4. Research the company’s mission, culture, and values: Familiarizing yourself with the company will give you an idea of how the company operates and what to expect during the interview.  
  5. Learn about the skills the company requires: Research the role and the skills required. Be clear on the expectations and how you’ll meet them.  
  6. Check on the Company’s Financial Health: Check the company’s financial health to understand its stability and growth potential.  
  7. Browse Social Media: Look up competitors on LinkedIn by seeing what recommendations you get if you click on the interviewing company’s page. Some other tools that can be used to research the companies include: 
  • LinkedIn 
  • Glassdoor 
  • Company websites 

Also, research the required skills for the freelance role you are applying for and demonstrate how your skills align with them. Examples of skills to consider may include excellent communication, time management, adaptability, and familiarity with remote collaboration tools like Trello or Asana. Reflect on your achievements and find ways to connect them with the role you are applying for. Prepare thoughtful questions that demonstrate your interest in the company and the role. Be clear on the expectations and how you’ll meet them. Reflect on your achievements and how they align with the role. Prepare some questions to demonstrate your interest in the company and the role. 

3. Dress Appropriately Before You Begin Your Remote Interview: 

Remote Interview
African freelancer dressed in a suit. – ( Photo Source: Pexels)

Although remote interviews are generally less formal, it’s important to dress professionally and appropriately for the role and company. Choose attire that aligns with the role and the company culture. Dressing professionally showcases your seriousness about the interview and the job opportunity. In an Africa-based context, appropriate dressing might include wearing a smart and presentable outfit, considering the cultural norms of the region. It is crucial to dress in a manner that makes you feel confident and represents your style during the remote interview.  

For men, appropriate dressing for a remote interview could mean wearing a well-fitted suit or a dress shirt paired with slacks. Make sure your clothes are clean and wrinkle-free, and don’t forget to pay attention to hygiene details like grooming your facial hair, if applicable. Paying attention to these details will help you exude confidence and professionalism during the interview. 

Women, on the other hand, have more options when it comes to appropriate dressing for a remote interview. You can opt for a smart blouse or dress, paired with tailored pants or a skirt. Just like men, ensure that your outfit is clean and wrinkle-free. Additionally, consider choosing subtle accessories that won’t be distracting and well-maintained grooming to present yourself as a professional candidate. You can visit this post to discover 25 Fashion Fabulous African Style Outfits for Work

Remember, the key is to strike a balance between being appropriately dressed for the role and company while also showcasing your style. Looking put-together and presentable will undoubtedly make a positive impact on your potential employer during the remote interview. 

4. Prepare your Device For Your Remote Interview:

Remote Interview
African-based Freelancer preparing her devices for an interview. – ( Photo Source: Pexels)

To have a successful remote interview, it’s crucial to ensure that your device is fully prepared. Here are some key steps you should take before and during the interview to create an optimal experience: 

a) Charging your device: Since power outages are common in Africa, it’s beneficial to have backup power sources readily available. Consider investing in a generator or keeping a power bank nearby to ensure your device remains charged throughout the interview. 

b) Testing software and apps: Before the interview, take the time to test the software or apps that you’ll be using during the interview. Make sure your camera and microphone are working properly, and familiarize yourself with the features available. This way, you can troubleshoot any technical issues beforehand and ensure a seamless experience. 

c) Closing unnecessary applications: Close all other applications on your device, except for the ones essential for the interview. By doing so, you reduce the risk of distractions and ensure that your device runs efficiently during the interview. 

5. Choose a Quiet and Well-Lit Environment For The Remote Interview: 

Remote Interview
African working remotely in a well lit environment. – ( Photo Source: Adobe Stock)

 d) Choosing the right environment: Select a quiet and well-lit space to conduct your interview. A noisy background can be distracting and hinder effective communication. Make sure the interviewer can see your face clearly by positioning yourself in a well-lit area. Plan for zero interruptions during the interview by notifying others in your household or workspace about the importance of maintaining silence. This minimizes distractions and technical difficulties during the interview. 

6. Be Punctual For The Remote Interview:

Punctuality is vital for making a positive impression. Log in to the interview room at least 5-10 minutes early to address any technical issues, gather yourself, and plan for the interview. Being punctual demonstrates your enthusiasm and professionalism. 

7. Maintain Eye Contact During Your Remote Interview:

Remote Interview
African freelancer. – ( Photo Source: Pexels)

During the interview, maintain eye contact with the interviewer. Look directly into the camera when answering questions to simulate eye contact and engage with the interviewer. Avoid looking at notes or other distractions while in the interview to show attentiveness and focus. 

8. Be Clear and Concise in Your Responses Within Your Remote Interview:

To effectively communicate and showcase your skills, provide clear and concise responses during the interview. Avoid rambling or going off-topic and listen carefully to the interviewer’s questions. Use examples from your past experiences to support your answers, which will demonstrate good communication skills and respect for the interviewer’s time. Be sure to include your payment methods acceptable in your region. You can use payment methods like Deel, Paypal, Payoneer and many others.

Also Read: Top 15 Job Websites For Black Professional In The US

9. Practice with a Mock Interview Before The Remote Interview Proper:

Before the real interview, practice with a mock interview conducted by a friend or mentor. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the interview questions, identify areas where you may struggle, and become comfortable with the technology demands. Mock interviews help build confidence and enhance your preparedness. Some sample remote interview questions the Africa-based freelancer can practice with include:  

  • What inspired you to become a freelancer? 
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses? 
  • How do you manage your time effectively? 
  • How do you handle difficult clients? 

10. Follow-up After the Remote Interview:

Remote Interview
African Making a Follow up call. – ( Photo Source: Pexels)

After the interview, send a thank-you email to the interviewer, expressing your gratitude for the opportunity and your time. Use the email to reiterate your passion for the role and the company, and include any additional information you may have forgotten to mention during the interview. 

Also Read: Leveraging Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Change In Africa

In conclusion, remote interviews are becoming increasingly common, and as an Africa-based freelancer, it is crucial to be well-prepared and equipped to thrive in this new landscape. By understanding the basics of remote interviews, researching the company and role, dressing appropriately, preparing your device, choosing a suitable environment, being punctual, maintaining eye contact, providing clear and concise responses, practising with mock interviews, and following up after the interview, you can increase your chances of success in your first remote interview as an Africa-based freelancer. 

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