As lock-downs around the world ease, businesses have started to adjust to the current environment. Strictly imposed social distancing restrictions have prompted organizations to run business operations remotely. With recruitment being one of them, recruiters have now shifted to conducting remote interviews.
Remote interviews can be efficient and time-saving. However, not being physically present to gauge the interviewer’s expressions can be a little nerve-racking for the candidates.
To take some of that pressure off, let’s have a look at three major aspects to be mindful of when preparing for remote interviews.
Set up a separate space before the interview to avoid unnecessary distractions such as background noise or people coming in and out.
If the interview is a video call, be mindful of the background and lighting. I would suggest plain walls and adequate lighting so the interviewer can clearly see you.
Tip: Set-up where the internet connection works best, the last thing you would want to do during the interview is taking your laptop along different places at home looking for wifi signals.
Set up a hot spot connection as a back-up just in case your wifi starts acting up.
Install the teleconference tool used by the interviewer for conducting the remote interview (Zoom, Skype, Webex, etc).
Most applications allow you to log-in a few minutes before the meeting, try to do that to avoid last-minute connectivity issues. You can always mute yourself until it’s time for the interview to start.
Dress yourself up! Remote interviews at home do not mean you show up for the interview with unkempt hair and sweatpants. If you are still confused about overdoing it, dress smart casual.
P.S: Keep your pants on, we have seen way too many incidents over the internet of people flashing their underpants accidentally.
Research a little about the company always leaves a good impression.
Study about the role you are being interviewed for and note down any questions you might need to ask at the end of the interview.
Not sure what questions to ask? Here’s a list to go through.
You might also want to prepare for any anticipated questions, it boosts your confidence and reduces the time you might need to think before answering.
Here’s a list of questions to help you be prepared.
2. Acing the Interview
Most interviewers tend to start the interview by asking you about yourself, it’s intended to break the ice and get the conversation going.
It is also a great opportunity for an ‘Elevator Pitch’. However, often I find interviewees flustered and fumbling to answer that.
To simply put it, an elevator pitch is a summary of yourself, focusing on selling yourself as a professional. It’s named for the time it takes to ride an elevator, so it should be brief.
I believe this can be a very good opportunity for interviewees to focus on their areas of interest and overall leave a very good first impression.
If you are writing a pitch for the first time and are not sure where to start? Here are a few tips with examples to help you start.
Track of Time:
As discussed earlier, preparing for any anticipated questions can save time. In any case, try to keep your answers concise and clear.
If you do feel like you are running out of time and wish to elaborate more, you can always address your interviewers that you would love to talk more about it.
They would be happy to give you more time if needed.
After going through some of the questions you already prepared to ask, If, you have the liberty of time, ask the interviewer/s how the interview went.
Most of them would be happy to give an honest opinion. (Be open to criticism)
You can also ask when can you expect to hear from them?
Thank you Note:
Be sure to drop in a Thank you note to the interviewer/s after the interview. It not only leaves a good impression, but you can use this as an opportunity to reinforce why you are the best fit for the job.
I would suggest keeping it short and concise. Be sure to cross check the email addresses and write a good subject line.
You can look up tips for writing good Thank you notes if you wish to.
Job Status follow-up:
Ideally, it takes a week in case of the first interview or 10 days in case of the second or third interview for the recruiter to get back to you. However, a lot of candidates either spam their recruiters or don’t follow-up at all just to not come off as too desperate.
There is no harm in reaching out to your recruiter if you do not hear back from them after the already mentioned deadline. Reach out periodically without being overbearing and know when to give up.
If in case you do not make it, revisit the conversation you had with the interviewer at the end of the interview. Reflect on any comments, try to improve on any shortcomings, and look for further opportunities.
Job hunting can be difficult especially in the current circumstance. My advice to all the candidates hunting jobs or preparing for remote interviews, be patient, and be prepared.
Nahal Khaskheli is HR professional with experience in working leadership role in Tech industry.