As the coronavirus outbreak changes the way many of us conduct our professional lives, it’s definitely impacting the overall hiring process for businesses across the world and here in Kansas City—including how you interview for that next position. Yet, instead of delaying the process, many companies are moving forward by simply taking those in-person candidate interactions virtual.
Phone and video interviews have, in some industries, been a standard step in the process, but moving fully digital can sometimes feel a little nerve-wracking for a candidate. But it doesn’t have to be scary. Here are some best practices to help you embrace these new methods and feel confident ahead of your phone or videoconference interview.
Test your technology
Check your connection or setup prior to your actual interview to familiarize yourself with the process. Some programs will require you download certain software or adjust your device’s settings, so login to all systems and make sure audio and video function properly. Remember to have a charger handy or plugged in. (Nothing worse than a dead battery right in the middle of an interview!)
Catharine Strauss elaborates in an interview with Glassdoor:
“Try to prepare for common technical issues with sound or background noise by mentally rehearsing how you would handle them, what you plan to say, and what backup communication you have to reconnect or reschedule. Privacy and attention are important, so make sure you’re meeting in a location where you won’t be disturbed, and turn off notifications on your phone or background applications so you aren’t reading them during your interview.”
Prepare your space
Phone or video, definitely choose a quiet spot to take your call. For video, of course, make sure your space is well-lit, clean and without distractions for both you and your interviewer. Test your technology from the place you intend to conduct the interview to check your camera angle and space.
Even though both parties will likely be connecting from the comfort of their homes, it’s important to still dress as though you’re interviewing in person. Plus, what you wear can influence your confidence and performance, which is just one more reason to look sharp on screen.
Take notes and focus
Focus on the camera, not the screen—it’s the direct eye contact of a virtual interview. Otherwise, it may appear that you’re distracted. Take note of your body language and posture— sit upright in your chair, be yourself, be confident and friendly. Also, one perk of virtual interviewing is you can have notes at the ready: As you do research beforehand, make a list of questions or key pieces of information to bring up. Plus, feel free to jot notes as you go, which helps with preparation as well as your follow-up communication and thank-you note.
Finish strong and be patient
As the interview wraps up, be sure to ask what the next step is. If the interviewer isn’t accustomed to a virtual process, they may not close the loop, so take the opportunity to reinforce your interest in the position and enthusiasm for moving forward. With enthusiasm must also come patience. It’s important in any interview process to exercise patience, but even more so now as many adjust to remote-work dynamics. A hiring decision typically requires input and approval from multiple parties, which can take longer without the ability for everyone to physically be in a room together and collectively agree.
Remember, the best rule of thumb is to overprepare for an interview, and this is especially true right now.
If you’re searching for a new job opportunity, don’t feel like you must put it on hold in light of circumstances around the pandemic. The companies we’re working with are still interviewing, placing and onboarding candidates for telework during this time, and we’re helping our job seekers and clients through the process every step of the way.
Check our open jobs and reach out to a Morgan Hunter recruiter to learn more.
Pam Finnell, SHRM-CP, is a recruiting manager for the Human Resources division at Morgan Hunter, serving Kansas City-area employers to help them meet a range of hiring needs, from temporary staffing to direct-hire placements. Share your thoughts on Facebook, LinkedIn or on Twitter @MorganHunterCo.