• Pooja Salian

How to Handle Remote Interviews

If you are facing or in the process of facing a remote job interview in the near future, you would not be alone. You would be a part of almost half of the global workforce currently facing this challenge due to COVID 19 – either due to lay-offs, hiring freeze or actively seeking a job change. No matter what the situation, the current scenario changes everything – the way you approach a job search, find open positions, prepare a cover letter or a resume and finally prep for the interview.

Here we give you a few tips and tricks to prepare you for any obstacle that you could face while giving potential remote interviews through platforms like Skype, Ms Teams, Google Meet or Zoom.

Set a speaking pattern or rhythm

Since you no longer have the advantage of body posture, gestures or eye contact, it is important to modulate the voice, set a speaking rhythm and maintain a steady conversation pace, with adequate pauses, adapting a concise and confident tone. You need to come across as compelling, confident and honest to differentiate your voice from the many others who would also be interviewing for the same position.

Create a comfortable setting

Your home may be the best place to take the interview instead of a café, etc. where you are unable to control the background noise. You could choose a quiet room; lock yourself in to avoid any disturbances and ensure there is adequate lighting without any sun glare, also ensuring there is no echo when you speak. While you need not wear a suit, dressing in formals will give you the needed professionalism in a home setting. In addition, you may want to try to stand while facing the camera and talking, this helps in throwing your voice and coming across as more animated sometimes.

Check your computer, camera and mic

It is always advisable to do a dry run, with a known person prior to the interview to be sure how your image and voice carry across the screen. Also, ensure that your computer and interview software are both update to avoid any unwanted crashes mid-interview. Avoid taking an interview through a smartphone; however ensure you have a decent pair of external headphones with a mic, instead of using the computer audio for the call. A decent bandwidth through a Wi-Fi connection is a must, potential employers are also seeking to understand if you have the necessary capacity to work from home.

Interview process

The preparation process for a virtual interview remains the same – read up and research about the company, ensuring that you rehearse your answers to most commonly asked questions, elaborating more on your skills than what’s mentioned on your cv and having a set of questions handy for the interviewer to showcase your seriousness and interest for the role. The difference in a virtual setting is the need to convey warmth and honesty while interacting. Take the lead of the interviewer, always reciprocating with personal questions around well-being if asked, answering factually as much as possible to come across as authentic. Remember that everyone is saturated in these times, and looking for an emotional connect in a virtual world. Follow up the interview process with a brief thank you email for the interviewer’s time, showing consideration as well as seriousness for the job.

Some specific pointers for remote situations

Ensure you ask the interviewer questions around how the on-boarding and induction process would work in a remote environment were they to consider you for the role. Also make sure to ask relevant questions in today’s remote work environment – what are the working hours, do they have any specific allowances in place, what communication / collaboration tools do they use, what kind of work strategies has the company put in place for such times, etc.

Assuming the interview goes well and you are selected for the role, ensure you are able to convey with confidence to the interviewer you capability to hit the road running and being productive in a remote working environment.

Good luck!

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