Remote job interview: Keeping close at a distance

written by Mateusz Ankiewicz

Working remotely now, when business isn’t as usual, is more important than ever before. Until recently a remote work model was favored only in some lines of work, but today companies are trying to adapt their operations to a fast-changing world. So, amid the pandemic in 2020, we found ourselves moving our offices to our homes and embracing remote work options together along with remote hiring.

 

Though some companies froze hiring, the majority continue to recruit to reduce the long-term impact of the current crisis on their businesses. The critical measures aimed at flattening the curve require us to get creative with our recruitment and to turn to virtual methods.

 

So, are there any tricks on how to prepare for a remote meeting from a candidate’s perspective and from the perspective of the person who runs the meeting?

 

How to produce a positive first impression during an interview through the image on the screen?

 

I hope to give you some answers to these questions.

Tips for interviewers

Prepare a strategy

It is worthwhile to call the candidate and ask them what form of a remote meeting they prefer. It is important to consider what equipment the interviewee has at their disposal and whether they have access to a suitable environment in order to be able to talk freely, including videoconferencing. Perhaps it would be better to have a telephone conversation, which can also be attended by several people.

 

Exchange information all the way long

Pamper your candidates with enough information to give them an in-person reception; it’s essential to show them that their time and effort are appreciated. Tell them how long the conversation will last, the details on the topic, the attendees, how the meeting will proceed or if there is something the candidate will need during the meeting; e.g., IDE to present their code writing skills.

 

Create communication channels

Make sure you have the right equipment to create an open and transparent communication channel for remote recruitment, be it a social networking tool, a messenger, an email or video conferencing.

 

Test your tech

Obviously, on the virtual stage, technology holds the most prominent place. So, it’s worth making sure your internet connection is stable and the video conferencing program is all set.

 

Some industry whales like Google or Amazon were among the very first to move job interviews online and proved well that tech is coping with the task. Data shows that business app downloads like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and WeChat Work have increased fivefold since the beginning of the year.

 

Also, unnecessary distractions will disturb your concentration during the conversation.

 

If your computer is picking up sounds from the speakers, connect headphones to your computer to avoid your interlocutor hearing himself through feedback.

 

Opt for the best-suited tools

There are plenty of additional tools that allow you to make remote WebEx, ClickMeeting, Zoom, Join.me, MS Teams, etc. calls. On the Internet, you can find many recommended programs, which are offered in a demo or in extended versions. I generally use two tools for meetings: Hangouts and Skype. I work with GSuite all the time, so from my daily calendar, I can send invitations directly to candidates for meetings on Google Hangouts.

 

Though all the above is important for the candidates, there are a few more specific things you should take care of.

Tips for candidates

Looks matters

Our appearance in front of the camera is supposed to resemble a real meeting, so make sure your camera is well-positioned and the person in front of you sees your face and your emotional reactions. Make eye contact, try not to swing the chair, nor fidget with the hands and be personable to demonstrate your interest in the dialogue.

 

A remote job interview is just like any other meeting. Take care to look your best, but above all, wear a comfortable outfit, which will not hinder your movements. As experience has shown me, the right outfit, no matter if it’s a tuxedo suit or pajamas, will inspire more confidence.

 

Meeting place and timing

The organization of the meeting place is important for both sides. Find a place that helps you relax and be comfortable, connect on time, double-check if you have everything you need at hand. But also, remove all distractions, so that there is nothing that might interfere with your conversation with the person in front of you.

 

What’s next

It’s not news that following up after the interview with an email or on any messenger, on both sides, will not hurt but rather may even strengthen the relationship between the recruiter and the candidate. I have recently read that with remote modes of conversations, it is good to keep following up repeatedly so that everyone can be sure that messages have arrived and we all understand each other well.

 

Finally

Our evolving profession offers new possibilities enabled by modern tech. I encourage recruiters and hiring managers to experiment with the different tools and to make use of ‘online recruitment’ as a new function of job portals. I recommend to all the people who are thinking about a career change to give it a try. Apparently, there is no time like the present.

 

We, at Avenga, are marching on as usual, except for becoming a little more relaxed in this new world environment as we continue to be productive, all the while building a closer relationship with you through increased emails and communication channels, promoting more availability and flexibility, and reaching all over the globe. We keep pressing on, doing our fair share to contribute to a healthy business. We hope to see you in this new virtual reality.

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