Job interviews can be intimidating at the best of times, but a remote interview can bring its own unique set of challenges.
For one thing, it can feel a lot harder to assess a potential job for things like company culture when you are interviewing from the comforts of your own home.
For another thing, you may feel unsure of the impression you’re making when walking into a room, meeting people face to face and generally having body language as an additional social cue are all pretty much taken off the table.
But there are some benefits that come with remote interviews too. For a start, the amount of time it takes out of your day – especially when you have your own job to work around – is greatly reduced.
And while you don’t get to see the office and react to your interviewers’ body language, they also have a limited view of yours, which means you can focus on the words you’re saying rather than worry about whether or not your leg is twitching. With all that in mind, here are a few tips to help make your next job interview a success.
Confirm the details
This may seem like an extremely basic piece of advice, but now that we’re coming into a new era of the pandemic where certain meetings can be done with the correct safety measures, it’s important not to assume an interview will be remote – or in person.
Double-check with your interviewers the time and location, be that in a physical area or on a particular platform if being done remotely.
Also, find out as much information as you can in terms whether or not there will be a second interview and what that might entail so you can be fully prepared.
Going remote? Prepare your space
Depending on where you’re working, getting your interview space ready can be easier for some if they have their own room away from other distractions so try to do your best in this case.
Make sure you’ve blocked off the time and have a quiet room. Give yourself time to check yourself on your camera so that you’re sitting in a good position for the camera and are comfortable enough that you won’t fidget or shuffle in your seat.
Also give yourself time to test the software. Even if it’s your sixth time on Zoom that day, technology is fickle things can suddenly go wrong for no reason so make sure your camera and microphone are in working order. If you have notes, make sure they’re nearby.
Take advantage of an in-person meeting
Like we said, remote interviews have both advantages and disadvantages, so if you are having an in-person interview, focus on the opportunities that presents.
You will get to meet some of your colleagues in person and if the interview takes place in the company building, you may be shown around a little and get a small feel of the company culture.
As usual, the traditional interview advice still applies such as giving yourself plenty of time to get there and find the right location – but if it has been a while since you’ve been going to in-person meetings, it’s always worth a reminder.
Find out about the company during the pandemic
Doing your research on a new company will always be a vital step when preparing for a job interview and any recruitment expert will tell you that this research should go far beyond the ‘About Us’ section on the company’s own website.
However, beyond the usual research about the company, what it does, it’s core values and its vision for the future, you should also try to find out how the company dealt with the challenges of the pandemic over the last two years.
How did it manage the switch to remote working? What kind of processes had to be changed? How did the company prioritise its staff’s wellbeing?
Many companies have proudly written or spoken about how they adapted to Covid-19 on social media or on their own blogs. If you can’t find the information, don’t be afraid to ask these questions in your interview.
Talk about your own pandemic experience
The last two years brought professional and personal challenges that none of us wanted to deal with. However, the need to adapt and possibly upskill during Covid-19 may have given you a unique selling point as a candidate.
Ahead of your interview, think about the skills you had to learn, how your role has changed or how the company you’re currently working for had to face its own set of challenges and how they were dealt with.
Focus on your soft skills too. How you learned to communicate more effectively while working remotely, how you strengthened your collaborative skills, how you took initiative on a new project or even how you organised your company’s virtual social party. Many of these will highlight skills and traits you never needed to use before and will show your adaptability.
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