Working From Home 101: Interviewing Remotely
All of my teammates are currently working from home, which means that our team is facing an entirely new set of day-to-day challenges. Step by step, we’re figuring out how to stay productive, engage our teams, and find the silver linings in this situation.
People who are looking for work right now face an entirely different set of challenges. These people may be wondering how to put their best foot forward when interviewing for a role virtually, rather than in person.
At the same time, recruiters are being forced to get creative and work around usual processes such as interviewing candidates in our offices.
Interviewing remotely may seem daunting to both candidates and recruiters who have never done it before. Even for those that have, there are best practices that can help take your interviewing skills to the next level.
Below, I’ll share my top tips for remote interviewing to help you make the most of the interview, put your best professional foot forward, and ultimately accomplish your goals in these challenging times.
Eye contact is key
We all know how important it is to make eye contact during an interview. This is much tougher to do via video.
When you’re speaking to someone via video conference, your eyes naturally want to focus on their face. Depending on where that face is on your monitor and the location of your webcam, this can cause you to appear as if you are looking down or away.
You can avoid this by resizing and moving the window with the person’s video image. Move it up or as close to your webcam as possible. This will give the closest approximation to real human eye contact.
Backgrounds are important
A neutral background is your best bet—the name of the game here is to avoid anything distracting or embarrassing. It’s also a good idea to avoid having a mirror reflection show up on camera. A plain wall, a screen, or bookshelf is just fine.
If you’re really concerned about background or there are elements you can’t control, find out whether the video conferencing software you’ll be using has the option to use a preset background. If this isn’t available, try hanging up a sheet or curtain behind you. If you go this route, make sure to keep at least two feet of distance between you and the background to avoid shadow.
Technology is unpredictable
Because technology can fail, it’s a good idea to check up on all your technology at least an hour ahead of your video interview. Here’s a quick check-list:
- Clear your interview space of extraneous things, and make sure you have your resume and a notepad at the ready.
- Check your lighting.
- Make sure your webcam works and is well-positioned.
- Check that your mic is working and remove any noise-making devices from the room.
- Check your clothes and face and how they look on your webcam.
- Close out of any other programs that might interfere with the webcam—some webcams can be temperamental and won’t work with more than one type of video software at a time.
- Make sure your internet connection is strong.
- Place a short video test call to a friend, family member, or roommate.
- Close out of extraneous browser tabs.
- Position a bottle of water nearby.
Interviewing remotely may be daunting, but don’t forget: so is interviewing in person! There’s plenty of preparation you can do beforehand to minimize your stress. Take a deep breath, smile, and open up that laptop—you’ll be great.
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