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In our world of social distancing, the ‘new normal’ has quickly become remote. Shopping, socialising (Zoom quiz, anyone?), working, and by extension, job interviews. Like all the above, there are some benefits to doing a remote interview but there are also some very unique pitfalls.
Here’s some top tips on avoiding those connection error issues and remote interview best practice to put you on the path to success!
Check your connection
How’s your Wi-Fi connection? Because if it’s bad you don’t stand a chance of the interview running smoothly. A bad connection means poor communication, so test your connection beforehand by using an online platform to call a friend or family member. If it’s not functional consider tethering to your phone if that’s reliable or going elsewhere.
As we discussed in setting up your workspace, no distractions in a shared home is easier said than done, particularly if you don’t have access to childcare. Do what you can to find a quiet space and close the door on distractions, including flatmates/kids/pets. If childcare isn’t possible, don’t panic. Just make the interviewer aware there might be some interruptions. Most people would be understanding – and if they’re not, is that the kind of business you want to work for anyway?
Test your programmes and equipment
Different organisations use different communication tools throughout the interview process. Make sure you’ve been sent all the applicable links and information in your interview confirmation email and download the programmes well ahead of time. Whether it’s Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype or Google Meets, if you find one is incompatible with your laptop you have enough time to sort it out without spiralling into a panic 5 minutes before the interview is due to start.
Have you got a decent camera? Does your microphone work? Will you require headphones to block out the neighbours outrage at Loose Women? All things to consider, test and sort well ahead of time.
Plug in your charger
Imagine this; You’re in full flow of a very articulate response to a difficult question, your interviewer is nodding away in appreciation and then all of a sudden, the screen goes black. This nightmare situation could easily be avoided by ensuring your laptops plugged in. It seems obvious, until that is you realise you left your charger in the car/bedroom/café. It’s easy to get caught out so the simple things bear a mention!
Turn notifications off
Even if your interviewers can’t hear the incessant bing of your latest Wowcher or Groupon email, it doesn’t mean you’re not going to find it off putting. Do yourself a favour and disable notifications.
Put your phone face down out of view
You’d never dream of looking at your phone mid interview in real life, so remove the temptation during a remote interview by turning it on silent and face down out of view. Better yet, in a different room entirely. Much like laptop notifications, if you see them popping off on your screen you’re going to look. Remove the risk of appearing disinterested by putting it out of sight.
Make sure you catch your good side
It can feel unnatural, but when you’re talking, periodically look into the camera to give the illusion of eye contact. Use a stand, or create one out of a pile of books if you’re using a laptop, so you’re eye level with your camera – this will avoid an attractive under chin selfie angle best reserved for toddlers hijacking your phone.
Dress to impress
So, you’re not leaving the house but that’s no reason to stay in your tracky-bs! This is after all, a job interview. Even if you’re suited and booted from the waist up and think board shorts (or less!) is fine for the bottom down – we’d advise against it. Is it worth the risk if you find yourself in a situation where you do have to get up!? Wearing the full shebang will not only get you in an interview mindset it will also save your blushes should fate unkindly intervene.
You also need to be thinking like your own director. What’s the lighting like? Positioning yourself near a window for natural light will be more flattering than artificial lighting, that can make you appear sallow or tied looking. How’s the backdrop? Take a look around and audit what the camera can see. No one wants their prospective new employer to see piles of dirty washing or toys haphazardly scattered around the living room.
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