Along with a new decade came the pandemic, changing how we work and live our everyday lives.
Although technology has greatly assisted us, getting accustomed to working from home and communicating in different and varied ways can still remain a challenge.
As a recruiter, I have had to change the way I meet with and interview candidates and establish new methods to maintain the interview experience. It is the subtleties that have changed. No more handshakes, small talk walking to the meeting room or chatting with the receptionist.
However, what is gained is the convenience! No longer do candidates have to come to the office after a long day of work, commuting through our busy city. This may have been leading to a passive decline in candidates, many of which simply did not have the time to attend interviews.
How do we work towards a successful meeting for both the candidate and the interviewer?
The first step is to be responsive and punctual. Respond promptly to the meeting invitation and set yourself several reminders such as entering it on your calendar and setting an alarm on your phone 30 minutes prior as this is your “get ready” time.
Dress professionally and have your resume in front of you to refer to. You should dress and act as if you are in the interview room in person. Do not get too comfortable!
Ensure Zoom is properly installed and working; test your microphone and your camera. Learn how to access the mute button, and use it as required; silencing pets, kids and deliveries. Virtual interviews often have slight transmission delays or connection lags, so be sure to slow down and speak clearly. Resist using virtual backgrounds as they often work poorly and can be a distraction. Instead do a camera test and ensure your background is clean, tidy and professional, even though it may be your home.
It is more challenging to create a personal connection over a screen, therefore you need to somewhat over compensate. Ensure you know where the camera is on your device and that you are looking into it, even though this may mean you are not looking directly at your screen. You want to appear friendly and professional as well as knowledgeable, confident and genuine.
On camera you need to enunciate more concisely. Make sure you are not mumbling, especially as your microphone may be several feet away. Try to maintain eye contact and smile. You want to be comfortable but not casual. It is easy to get distracted and start to slump in your chair, look at your phone, pet the dog; but remember this is a business meeting.
Be prepared for questions regarding your ability to work from home and your willingness to return to the office. You should be ready to discuss how you are able to transform yourself (as required) into a work from home employee and how you have adapted and remained motivated and connected to your team.
In closing, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take the time to prepare.
I highly recommend if you are new to interviewing on a screen that you have a couple of practice runs with a friend to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.
And, always remember to thank the interviewer for their time!