We are job searching in unprecedented times. The number of people looking for work is at an all-time high. Our job search, networking, and interviewing now is via Zoom or over the phone.
This “new normal” is changing the way we do things; it will also affect the way we interview.
It’s not as dismal as it sounds. Change is constant. We adapt and move forward. For many, being able to network and interview from home is a relief. No more awkward in-person handshakes, wondering which chair to sit in, or praying your deodorant is doing its job.
However, interviewing from home can go very wrong if you don’t have certain things in place. To ensure a successful interview:
– Check your camera. Do you have a good computer camera? Do a run-through with a friend. Do you look grainy or clear? Amazon has a few good ones you can choose from that offer a pretty seamless setup.
– Which video platform are they using? Zoom? Google Meet? Slack? Cisco WebEx? Find out, go to that website, and watch the video on how it works. On most of these, you can download a week for free so you can play around with it to get the hang of how it works.
– Interior. Wherever you are, make sure the background is spotless. Covid19 has forced many of us to seek out a quiet place from home to work. While you may not notice the clutter, kids’ toys, and stack of plates, your interviewer will. Take 30 minutes to clean up the space behind where you are sitting. Reach out to a colleague and have them view the background while doing a test run.
– Wear pants. Think I’m kidding? How many video clips have you seen of people on TV or in Zoom meetings who didn’t realize the camera shot included their bare legs or worse? Make sure you look professional from top to bottom.
Now that you’ve perfected the interview environment part, you’ll need to prepare for some of the questions you may be asked. They are different than they used to be. Some of the focus now may center on your availability to work in an office. Consider the following from Fairy Godboss as possible interview questions companies may ask now:
“When offices open back up will you be able to work at ours?” They may plan on having people back on the site versus only remote. Will you be able to work at company headquarters?
“Have you ever worked remotely? How did you deal with the challenges?” Not everyone can successfully work from home. Many need or crave the scheduled “9 to 5”. They want to know how flexible you are and how you work without a team around you, especially if they want you to work from home part of the time.
“Do you have the capacity to work from home?” Do you know how to work Zoom or other online meeting platforms? Do you have a camera and a good idea of how to use these tools?
“How do you manage stress?” The pandemic has been stressful for everyone. They may want to know how you’ve handled yourself during this time.
As we stumble our way through this new hiring process, remember to be flexible with your interviewer as well. They are used to interviewing in person, which includes studying body language and developing a level of trust. They are doing things out of their norm as well. They may experience a technical difficulty on their end that causes some delay or a need to reschedule. You’ll need to adapt and be patient with the process. Everyone is doing the best they can.
Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, CERW, CEMC, is a Certified Professional Resume Writer/Career Consultant, and the President of Professional Resume Services, named one of Forbes “Top 100 Career Websites”. Considered an influencer, she is consistently listed as a “Top Career Expert to Follow” on Twitter and LinkedIn.