24 Mar Tips For Successful Remote Job Interviews
The coronavirus pandemic continues to have far and wide-reaching impacts across the world. Every person and business have been affected in some way. Companies, governments and organisations are all changing practices to help reduce the risk of infection and minimise the economic fallout. Along with working from home (WFH), remote job interviews have become a common recruitment practice.
There is no doubt that these changing practices will have a lasting impact on the way we go about our lives. From greeting people with a kiss on the cheek or a handshake, to coughing in public – once typical behaviours will become redundant as the world adapts.
As well as changing social norms, many other common practices have been temporarily put on hold to help businesses stay in the black. Many companies have cut staff and imposed hiring freezes as they attempt to batten down the hatches and revise business forecasts. Economic commentators are predicting huge job losses and global recession – if not depression – as a result of COVID-19.
At Pacific Investment Management Co (Pimco), global chief economic adviser Joachim Fels says the US and Europe face the “distinct possibility” of a recession. And as we all know – in the economic sense at least – when the US sneezes, the rest of the world catches a cold.
There are, however, certain industries and companies that are seeing strong growth and increasing hiring. Amazon is reportedly aiming to hire 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers thanks to a surge in online retail. According to LinkedIn, government, healthcare, biotech and the pharmaceuticals industries have also doubled job postings in the past month.
For those fortunate enough to be in an industry experiencing an upswing, the recruitment process looks different to what it did pre COVID-19. Greeting your prospective manager with a firm handshake in the confines of an enclosed interview room are no longer acceptable – nor practical given large swathes of the workforce are WFH.
As with so many problems posed in the modern age, the solution to hiring when social distancing is the norm is technology. Though it has been around for more than a decade, remote interviewing is becoming more commonplace. Tech giants Google, Amazon and Facebook, as well as recruiters PageGroup and Robert Walters, are among the global companies to announce a move to online job interviews for the duration of the outbreak. Video conferencing apps, including WeChat Work, Zoom and Slack, have risen nearly fivefold since the start of the year.
Given the convenience of remote interviewing and the prevalence of it during the current pandemic-affected climate, it seems that this is a recruitment trend likely to stay around. So how do you make the remote interviewing experience a successful one? Here are our top ten tips for both candidates and interviewers:
5 tips for candidates
1. Test your equipment – ensure your webcam and microphone are working and that you are familiar with whichever tech platform has been chosen for the interview.
2. Look the part – this includes paying attention to how you are dressed, as well as your interview surroundings. If in doubt, opt for a blank wall over questionable decorations or clutter.
3. Remove unnecessary distractions – log out of emails and other unnecessary programs and make sure your phone is on silent and out of sight.
4. Look at the right place – make sure you look into the camera, rather than the interviewer as this will be your best shot at making virtual eye contact!
5. Have your CV handy – a great advantage of remote interviewing is that you can have your CV and any notes set discretely next to the screen, helping you remember key points.
5 tips for interviewers
1. Be prepared with a strategy – as with any interview – virtual or not – it’s important to have a plan which includes prepared questions and a timeframe.
2. Communicate openly – given the technology barrier, open communication is important in establishing rapport and making a candidate feel the process is fair and equitable.
3. Remove distractions – meeting pop-ups, emails, Teams messages – make sure these programs are all closed.
4. Reinforce employer brand – ensure interviewers at all stages of the recruitment process convey a consistent message about the company’s mission and values.
5. Give the candidate time – pause to ensure the candidate is done with their response, before moving onto the next question to account for time lags and lack of usual social cues.
In summary, though the coronavirus will pass – hopefully sooner rather than later – it is sure to leave some lasting legacies. One of these is the increasing reliance on technology to enable social distancing. And when it comes to recruitment, this means remote interviewing.
Make sure you’re placed to get the most out of remote interviewing, whichever side of the virtual desk you happen to be on.