Tips to Excel in Remote Interviewing
COVID-19 has undoubtedly challenged all aspects of our lives. And, the recruiting environment is certainly not an exception! Despite millions of professionals being furloughed or laid off, there are several organizations still hiring and business continuity/ crisis management professionals are in high demand! In fact, many of our clients have communicated the need to create new contract/ direct-hire job opportunities once things settle to address the gaps exposed in their crisis management plans and/or assist with recurring BC/DR planning initiatives that have fallen short while responding to the pandemic. Additionally, we’ve been tracking a surge in new Business Continuity/ Crisis Management job advertisements globally. Since COVID-19 shut down most of the world in March, there has been an average of 42 new jobs posted per week compared to 35 per week (data between 2019 – 2020). In fact, three times post COVID-19 we counted over 55 new jobs per week!
Companies have quickly adapted their recruitment strategies and protocols and inevitably this means the entire recruitment process has gone virtual – even the final interview. There are several benefits to remote interviewing, though. First the virtual framework allows for more flexibility and it saves time for both the candidates and interviewers. Instead of driving to the office and taking 2-4 hours for an in-person interview, potential job seekers are now scheduling multiple 30 – 60-minute interval Video Telephone Calls (VTC) from the comfort of their home. This flexibility has also sped up the process too, which is especially helpful for those organizations scrambling to quickly hire a Business Continuity professional. As an example, we recently assisted one of our clients in scheduling 8 interviewers over 6 VTCs in 5 business days. The first VTC was within 2 days of presenting the candidate’s credentials. Now that is record breaking! It’s unclear if COVID-19 will change interviewing as we know it, but here’s to hoping there will be a blended approach in the future.
With VTCs taking over the interview process and, likely, playing a larger role in the future, what helpful tips should you be aware of to fine-tune your remote interviewing skills?
Tip 1: Be familiar with online meeting technology – Educate yourself on online meeting apps. Be sure to test your headphones and mic in advance and practice with friends. Practice looking into the camera and maintaining eye contact. Similar to an in-person interview, be sure to log onto the meeting early and allow for enough time in case you need to download an application or open a link. Become familiar with all the online meeting tools in case you need to share your screen.
Tip 2: Stage your virtual meeting room – Consider yourself your own producer. Choose a quiet, well-lit room. Be aware of your surroundings and select a background that isn’t distracting. Make others aware in your household that you’re beginning an online meeting. Position your camera so you’re not looking down or cutting off your forehead.
Tip 3: Dress to impress – Absolutely dress to impress! Not only will dressing professionally from head to toe have a positive impact on your demeanor, but you’ll also be covered if, in that rare chance, you have to get up and close a door or window. You’d hate to be caught professional on top and then sweats on the bottom.
Tip 4: Start off with an ice breaker – Are you nervous in front of the camera? Relax and try to put yourself at ease with an ice breaker to initiate some “non-interview” conversation. It could be as simple as letting the interviewer know that you have young children or pets that might make noise. Or you may have found an interesting fact when researching the company?
Tip 5: Stand out from others – Even in the midst of COVID-19, you still need to focus on why you’re different from all the other candidates? Show case your talents and create a virtual presentation or video. How can you contribute to the team and add value? Always use positive, uplifting communications.
Tip 6: Don’t stress! Everyone is human – Interviewing is always a bit of a test, but now with VTCs there is an element of the unplanned interruptions. Devise a backup plan in case your Wi-Fi goes down or your computer loses power or tries to run an update. If something does happen, don’t fret! Hiring managers are especially understanding during these trying times. Besides, remaining cool and collected says a lot about your character and handling pressure.
Be sure to utilize all of these helpful tips and, above all else, remember to be patient. Although many companies are hiring, others are pausing their recruitment activities until COVID-19 loosens. We’re here to help you in meeting your career aspirations in any way that we can.
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