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10 Tips to Nail Your Remote Startup Interview


You perfected your resume and cover letter, crushed networking, and landed a remote interview with your dream startup. Congrats!

In this post, we'll cover the ten highest-leverage tips to make sure you stand out from the competition in your next remote startup interview.

Let's dive in! 

πŸ‘” Dress The Part 

Dressing appropriately is important because the first judgment an interviewer makes will be based on how you look and what you're wearing. 

Most people automatically choose formal attire for an interview, which will never hurt you. However, if you’re interviewing at a startup with a casual dress code where all the employees wear hoodies every day, you may look and feel out of place.

You’ll want to make sure you’re dressing in a way that feels comfortable to you, and that is also in line with the company’s culture. Search a site like Glassdoor to see if you can find discussions from employees about the company’s dress codes and general office culture. You can also take a look at the company’s career page to see if they have any photos of employees in the office or watch interviewers with the company’s founders to see how they dress.

We’d recommend dressing a step up from what is typical at the startup. For example, if people generally wear T-shirts and hoodies to work, a button-down or a collared shirt would be appropriate for your interview.

Choose your outfit in advance and make sure it looks good on camera. Avoid any distracting patterns or accessories. You should also make sure that your shirt doesn’t blend into your background.

🧘 Find a Quiet Place Without Clutter or Distractions 

The best place to take a remote interview is in your home office, where it's quiet, has few distractions, and a clean and decluttered background.

If you’re interviewing for a hybrid or remote role at the startup, the interviewer will be paying close attention to your work environment to get a sense of how productive you’d be on a day-to-day basis if they give you an offer. This is your chance to show that you’ve already perfected your work-from-home setup so you can be as productive as possible.

Choose a room in your home that is clean and professional-looking, and remove any clutter from your background. If it’s not possible to completely declutter your interview space, a virtual or blurred background may be preferable to a cluttered background that will pull the interviewer's attention away from you.

If you are taking your interview from home, make sure that you are in a space where your kids or pets are unlikely to disrupt the interview and ask them to avoid making any loud noises while you’re conducting your interview. If any unavoidable distractions do occur during your interview, take a quick pause, stay calm, apologize to the interviewer, and get back on track as quickly as possible.

If possible, avoid doing your interview in a public space like a coffee shop. If this is your only option, make sure you are up against a plain background like a wall (instead of in the middle of the dining area) or in a quiet conference room. 

You’ll also want to turn off all notifications ahead of the interview. It’s best to put your cell phone and computer on do-not-disturb mode to ensure you don’t receive any unwanted notifications during the conversation. 

πŸ“… Stick to Your Normal Routine & Take Some Time for Yourself 

On the day of your interview, stick to your normal routine. Eat the same breakfast you normally would, get a workout or some stretching in, avoid consuming too much caffeine, etc.

Block off 20-30 minutes before the interview to get yourself into the right headspace. This might be meditating, doing some breathwork, taking a walk outside, listening to your favorite playlist, or playing with your child or pet. Anything that will calm you down and put you in a positive headspace is a great way to spend the 20-30 minutes ahead of your interview.

🌎 Confirm the Timezone and Show up on Time 

Double (and triple) check that you have the correct timezone. Review any prior communication you've had with the recruiting team and make sure you fully understand all instructions they've shared. Don't hesitate to ask for clarification if you have any questions. 

Once you’re sure that you have the correct time on your calendar, log into the video call 5-10 minutes early. Showing up early is one of the easiest ways to start the interview off on the right foot. It’ll give you time to do one last check of your audio, video, and lighting, and a few moments to put yourself in a good headspace before the interviewer joins.

πŸ’‘Perfect Your Tech Setup

Test your entire tech setup beforehand. This includes your audio, video, lighting, internet connection, video chat software, and devices. 


Make sure your audio quality is excellent.

If you have a newer computer, the built-in microphone will often be sufficient – just make sure you aren't in a room with a lot of echo or background noise. 

For most people, headphones will provide better audio quality than the built-in computer mic and will do a better job of limiting background noise. Noise-cancelling headphones will also help you stay more focused throughout the interview. 

If you don’t love the audio quality of your laptop mic or headphones, there are several Bluetooth mics, like the Blue Yeti (~$60), that will provide high-quality audio for less than $100. If you'll be working remotely and spending a lot of time on video calls, a good USB mic is absolutely worth the investment. 

If you decide to use an external mic, just make sure you adjust the audio settings in your video conference software to ensure the mic you want is connected properly.


For many people, the built-in camera in your laptop will work great for a remote startup interview. If you choose to use your computer's built-in camera, make sure your computer is on a level surface that won't move and that you have it set up at a good angle. If you think the angle is too low when your laptop is on your desk, you can buy a laptop stand for ~$15, which will ensure your camera is level with your eyes and generally provides a better angle.

If you want to increase your video quality, you can purchase an external webcam for around $100. The Logitech Brio and Lumina are both very high-quality portable options. A high-quality webcam is a great investment if you plan on spending a lot of time on video calls, especially if you're speaking directly with clients. 

No matter which camera option you choose, remember to clean your camera before your interview! 


The biggest thing to pay attention to with lighting is to make sure you don’t have any distracting shadows or dropoffs on your face. If you are happy with the lighting in the room you plan on doing the interview from, you don’t need to worry about any external lighting.

However, if you won’t be in a room with lighting you’re happy with, there are some great options that will make your lighting look great. The cheapest option (free!) is to let some natural light into the room. If this isn’t possible, a ring light can help a lot with brightening up the room and reducing shadows.

Lighting yourself from the front is key. If your only light source is behind you, especially if it’s coming from natural light through a window, you will have a lot of shadows that are likely to be distracting to the interviewer. If you’re near a window, it’s best to turn around to make sure the light is coming from in front of you.

Internet connection

A poor internet connection will be distracting and will lead to poor communication in your interview. To ensure your internet connection is fast enough, do a simple Google search for “internet speed test.” Ideally, you will have at least 10 Mbps of download speed and 1 Mbps of upload speed per person connected to the internet.

If your internet has caused issues with video calls before, we’d suggest taking the interview from somewhere with higher-quality WiFi or using a wired connection. 

Video call software

A majority of startups will use Google Meet or Zoom for their remote interviews. You should be able to see which software the startup uses in your calendar invite, so log into the software in advance, make sure you don't have any issues logging in, and double-check that your audio and video are connected to the sources you want. Both Google Meet and Zoom will typically default to your built-in camera and mic, so if you’re using an external camera or mic, you’ll want to make sure those are connected by default.

You’ll also want to make sure that your full name is being displayed instead of a nickname or generic username like “iPhone 2” that the video call software might default to. 

Remember to make sure that you are off-mute any time you are speaking! Nothing worse than launching into your elevator pitch only to hear, "Uuhhhh, it looks like you're muted." πŸ˜‚

Make sure your devices are fully charged

If you’re using a laptop, make sure it’s fully charged and plugged in before starting the interview.

Have a "plan b" in case things go wrong 

Glitches and hiccups happen, no matter how much you’ve prepared in advance, so knowing that you have a backup plan will help you remain calm in case things don't go as planned. 

You should have a backup plan in case there’s a disturbance in your internet connection. If your internet goes out, we’d suggest using your cell phone as a hotspot so you are able to reconnect using your computer. We’d also suggest having the meeting link on your smartphone handy so you can quickly switch to your mobile device in case something happens with your WiFi and you aren’t able to reconnect using your hotspot.

If you have young children at home or pets that are likely to make noise or pop into your shot, think about how you’ll react to the situation. If an unexpected distraction happens, it’s best to handle the situation as quickly as possible, offer a brief apology,  make light of the situation, and then get right back on track. 

πŸŽ₯ Conduct "Mock Interviews" and Record Yourself 

Run through a few mock interviews with a friend or a family member ahead of the interview. While it may be awkward, this will give you a chance to recognize any mistakes and correct them before the interview.

After the mock interview, ask your friend for honest feedback. Were your responses complete and succinct? Were there any areas where you were too long-winded? Did your background and setup look and sound professional?

In addition to soliciting feedback, ask your friend to conduct the interview remotely and record it. After you’re done, watch the recording and take notes on anything you want to improve in the actual interview. Focus on anywhere you have verbal ticks, are not making eye contact, or providing answers that are overly long-winded.

Do this a few times, and you’ll feel much more confident heading into your remote startup interview. 

🀝 Build Rapport With Your Interviewer 

Connecting with someone virtually is naturally more difficult than connecting in person, so you want to put extra effort into building rapport with the person you’re interviewing with. The best way to build rapport is to stay friendly, open, and authentically communicate throughout the conversation.

One of the biggest differences between a remote interview and an in-person interview is the ability to make eye contact. Making eye contact is more difficult during a remote interview, but it’s still just as important. Make “eye contact” during a remote interview by looking at your camera whenever you’re speaking to the interviewer.

You should definitely prepare notes ahead of your interview, but make sure you aren’t referencing them too often or reading directly from your notes. Avoid using an external monitor if possible, since it will appear as though you’re looking away whenever you’re looking at the monitor.

When your interviewer is speaking, stay focused and visibly engaged. Practice active listening by nodding your head, providing affirmations of understanding, and by asking clarifying questions when appropriate.

Here are a few additional tips to keep front of mind to ensure you're building rapport throughout your remote startup interview: 

  • Be excited and show it throughout the interview 
  • Smile and sit up straight 
  • Refer to your interviewer by name 
  • Look up the interviewer before the call and connect on anything you have in common 
  • Ask personalized questions 
  • Be yourself 
  • Take notes (and tell the interviewer you're taking notes so they don't think you're distracted) 
  • Stay calm and poised, especially if things don't go as expected 
  • Don't speak too quickly (pay attention to this during your mock interviews, and focus on slowing down if you know you tend to speak too quickly, especially when you're nervous) 
  • Use hand gestures and positive body language when speaking 
  • Don't get distracted if it seems like you don't have the interviewer's full attention 

❓Come Prepared to Answer Questions 

Come to the interview prepared to answer some common questions that hiring managers at startups like to ask. Prepare in advance by writing out responses to common questions and thoroughly rehearse your answers before the interview. 

Research the startup’s mission, values, recent projects, and any news or updates. The more you are able to incorporate this knowledge into your answers, the more you’ll show the interviewer that you have genuine interest and enthusiasm for the role. 

Some common interview questions that you can prepare for include: 

  • Why do you want this job? 
  • What are your biggest strengths and weaknesses 
  • Tell me about the mission of [startup name] 
  • Tell me about your biggest personal achievement. 
  • What are your goals over the next five years? 
  • What are you looking for at this company and/or in this role? 
  • What are your biggest weaknesses? 

πŸ’­ Come Prepared to Ask Great Questions

Most interviewers will wrap up the interview with a “Do you have any questions for me?” Make sure you’ve researched the company and have some well-thought-out questions to ask that you’re genuinely curious about.

You’ll likely have the chance to ask questions at the end of the interview, so asking great questions is one of the highest-leverage ways to leave the interviewer with a positive impression.

Here are some questions to get you started. Customize these based on the specific startup and role you're applying to. 

  • What does a typical "day in the life" look like for this role? 
  • Where does this role sit within the startup, and what other groups will I regularly be working with? 
  • When reading about [startup name], I found this approach to [solving problem] interesting. Can you share a bit more about [startup name's] philosophy here? 
  • What is your favorite thing about working at [startup name]
  • Can you walk me through the next steps in the hiring process? 

πŸ“§ Send a Customized & Well-Written Follow-Up Email

After your interview, send a thoughtful, customized, well-written follow-up email to your interviewer(s). It’s good practice to send this email within 24 hours after completing the interview, but you should aim to send it within an hour or two if possible. 

If there was something specific you bonded over during the interview, mention that in your follow-up email to further the connection and help you stay top of mind with the interviewer. It may be helpful to jot down a few bullet points about anything you want to include in your email directly after you finish the interview.

Keep the email as concise as possible, but be sure to express your gratitude for the interview, reiterate your interest in the role, and briefly highlight how your background and skills align with the company’s needs for the role.

If you don’t hear back from your interviewer after a few days, you can send a follow-up email to check in on your status. This can help you stay fresh in the interviewer’s mind and also serve as a display of your organization and follow-up skills. 

In Conclusion 

If you’ve followed the steps outlined in this post, you should be in excellent shape heading into your next remote startup interview! 

We want to know what you think. Are there any other tips you’d add? Shoot us a DM on X and let us know!