The COVID-19 pandemic has changed life in a manner not experienced before. When it comes to working, one of the most significant changes has been the shift to working and communicating remotely - hello, Zoom! As employees work safely from their homes, organizations are also focusing on interviewing prospective candidates remotely.
Although remote interviews can be overwhelming, don’t let that ruin your chances of scoring your dream job. Instead, see it as an opportunity to grow and accept the challenge. Online interviews have plenty of advantages, but in order to put your best foot forward and leave a positive impact, you must be authentic, comfortable, and prepared.
Test the technology
The interview could be held on one of many different platforms, including Zoom, Skype, Google, or Microsoft Teams. Start by downloading the program onto your laptop and make sure it’s compatible and works seamlessly with the internet connection. It’s also important to set up your profile in advance, fill out all the necessary information, and pick a professional profile photo if required.
Test out the platform ahead of time and make sure you know how to share screens, manage audio, and navigate all the tools. Charge your laptop beforehand, and keep all other notifications and tabs closed.
Curate your space
Create a comfortable yet professional setup for where you will be seated during the interview. It’s best to be in a quiet space with no distractions. The background should be simple and the laptop should be placed at eye level or higher with the screen tilting down. So preferably, make sure you’re sitting at a desk and not the majlis! For optimal lighting, direct your source of light from the front onto your face—natural light is best. Make sure your desk is not cluttered and that the necessary documents are within arm's reach. Specifically, have your CV, portfolio, and cover letter on-hand. Better yet, open them as tabs of a website in case you want to walk an employer through your work while on the call. We also recommend having a notebook and a pen ready for any notes you might need to take or want to remember for later.
Just like you would dress professionally if you were going to have a face-to-face interview, you must do the same for your remote interview. You should look perfectly presentable and fit the role. Even if the company style is more casual, dress smartly—clean and minimal. Stay away from the temptation of wearing your comfortable loungewear.
Ladies, make sure you dress modestly. For those wearing a hijab, consider keeping it in place so you don’t have to worry about it constantly.
Gentlemen, if you’re wearing a thobe, don’t forget to complete your traditional attire with your neatly folded ghutra or shemagh.
Online etiquette to remember
It’s respectful to be punctual so log onto the interview a few minutes before the set time. This will help you feel more settled when the call starts. During the call, wait for the interviewer to finish their question before you answer. Online calls can often have a time-lag and this can be confusing, so don’t speak until it is your turn. It’s also important to speak slowly and clearly, so they can hear you properly.
Engaged body language
Try not to move your hands too much or shift the position of the camera or your body during the interview. These sudden movements can be distracting for the interviewer and could also work against you. Your phone should be kept on silent and don’t be tempted to check it at any point during the interview. Sit upright with your shoulders back and maintain eye contact with the camera throughout the call. This will give the interviewer a positive impression by indicating that you’re engaged and attentive.
Research the company
Treat a remote interview just as seriously as an in-person one. Research the organization in advance and be familiar with the role you are interviewing for—learn about the company, its culture, and expectations—and come prepared with your own set of questions. Go through potential questions they could ask and be ready to answer them to the best of your ability. If you have any questions or concerns for the interviewer regarding the job or company, keep those handy as well, and if time permits, make sure to ask them at the end of the interview.
Stay upbeat, confident, and be yourself throughout the interview (you can do this!). If you encounter any unexpected glitches, such as your connection dropping, make sure you have a backup plan and can immediately contact the interviewer to reset. Do not get stressed out, relax, and stay focused. Remember, we are in the midst of a pandemic and people understand that circumstances are anything but normal!
Once the call is over, do send your interviewer an email thanking them for their time. If you think it is relevant, make references to the conversation and talk about the positives you took away from it. If you have been asked to share additional information or files, make sure to send those promptly after the call.
If you want to be better prepared for interviews, build a better CV, or gain more networking tips, the Career Readiness Program is the ideal platform for you.
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