The Remote Interview Checklist
This checklist is designed for remote meetings / presentations / job interviews in a post-COVID19 world. Please feel free to reuse and send comments to email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before the Interview:
- Setup your desk so your face is well-lit.
- Make sure the background is not too cluttered.
- Make space for food, water, stationery and any reference material you may need.
- Have slides backed up and ready to go on another machine.
- ︎Choose a LAN cable over Wifi. If you have multiple WiFi connections, connect to the right one.
- ︎Connect to multiple external displays, if available.
- ︎Check camera + microphone + speaker quality. Disable microphones you will not use (Control Panel> Sound)
- ︎Check that the monitor displays the entire presentation without cutting anything off.
- ︎Log out of other communication apps + Disable notifications.
- Keep smartphone away or on ‘Do Not Disturb’. Microphone may pick up interference if your phone is around.
- ︎For group meetings / interviews, have a designated person monitor chats/ questions.
- ︎If you plan to record the meeting, take explicit permission from everyone attending.
- ︎If using Zoom, enable the optimize for videos option when sharing screen.
- ︎Adjust the position you want to be seen in [Example].
- Postpone Windows updates!
- Optimize slide colors for video. Use bright colors / big fonts (24+ if teaching using a big display).
- Minimise animations. Check if existing animations work as expected.
- Check the pointer. Do not dance with the pointer on the screen.
- Proof-read more than usual!
- Use the primary display to call.
- Place the camera slightly above the primary display. Other callers must be visible on the primary display.
- Slide notes on secondary display.
- Optional: Presentation on a tertiary display (if not, then presentation on secondary and notes on primary).
- Consider using a TV as a backdrop display (You get to point and gesture).
During the Interview:
- Alternate between looking at your audience, and your notes.
- Swivel your chair around, stay active or stand up.
- Blurring backgrounds consumes bandwidth and looks unnatural. Hide unsavoury things with plants/books.
- Jokes may fall flat. Accept, laugh at yourself and move on.
- You may lose track of what to say. Keep a notebook handy and make notes before you have to respond .
- Connections may get interrupted. Take a mental note and restart from the slide/sentence you were cut off,
- A bad connection is a safe opportunity to buy some time to think.
- If you teach/train online extensively, consider investing in a DSLR camera +collar microphone.
When not speaking, turn off speaker.
Example Setup 1:
If you are lucky to have plenty of space at home, convert a section of the living room into a mini-office. This one is set in the living room of Srinath with a beefy machine that could simultaneously run 3 displays.
This is a mini-office and a talk setup. The TV and bookshelf on the left make the backdrop for the presentation. You stand next to the small bookshelf when presenting/teaching and sit on the chair for interviews/meetings. You stand on the right and project slides on the TV. (We used the TV’s speakers throughout the interview since the quality was great). If you sit facing the two displays, you see callers on the right display and notes on the left. The camera and microphone are located above and to the left of the displays respectively.
Example Setup 2:
If you do not have the luxury to setup a dedicated office, use your console, dining chair and garden furniture to setup a temporary speaking desk.
A modest makeshift setup using furniture from around the house, 2 displays and an optional TV display. The table was aligned diagonally to make use of the sunlight. The callers and slide notes are projected on the laptop and the monitor is used to share slides. Since, there was no LAN connection, this was the closest location to the WiFi router and TV.
Some items in this checklist were adapted from various folks who shared their experience on Twitter and the Computer Science Research and Practice channel on Slack