Interviewing Online – Tips from CCI Executive Search
Embrace the opportunity
Online interviews can seem daunting to some. Fear of technical difficulties or unfamiliar environments can mean that people often put off the opportunity to interview digitally. Given the current challenges due to Covid-19 and the required flexibility and ever-growing need to adapt to differing schedules, we would encourage both candidates and employers to embrace this changing recruitment market. Online interviews allow both candidates and employers flexibility to operate in a remote working environment. No longer is a face-to-face interview a prerequisite for finding your ideal job or candidate!
Create an interview environment
If you’re interviewing from home, it is important that you take your surroundings into account. Ensure that everything that is visible on camera is appropriate for a potential future employer to see. Avoid any online or in-person interruptions; turn all computer notifications off and close any unnecessary tabs. If you live with other people, make sure they are aware that you are taking part in an interview in order to prevent interruptions.
Employers should think ahead regarding interview panel format. Are you going to meet in a boardroom in the office and video-call from one account? Or do you need to plan a conference call or use multiple online accounts? Answering these questions ahead of time, and agreeing specific times, locations and accounts, will ensure a more professional interview environment.
Given you are interviewing from the comfort of your own home, you don’t have to worry about the commute or being there early to make a good impression. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan ahead. Make sure you give yourself enough time to wake up before an early morning interview. Time differences or scheduling differences can often occur when interviewing from home, so aim to get on the schedule of the organisation you are meeting with to avoid any bleary-eyed conversations. Ensure you have water and any notes you might need close to hand.
When scheduling a call or online interview, the employer should make it clear which email address the account is connected to, who is making the call and what to do if there are any technical difficulties. Having back up conference call capabilities will ease everyone’s minds.
Remember it is still an interview
Whilst online interviews can seem a little more relaxed, remember to dress appropriately for the organisation you are meeting with. While shaking their hands is not an option, good eye contact is still important; ensure you look straight into your camera rather than down at the screen or at your notes. Format your screen to help you; if looking at the image of yourself distracts you, minimize the box. Speak clearly and audibly. Online technology is great, but it can be muffled at times. Make sure you have tested your microphone and video software before the interview starts.
Employers should make an effort to respond both verbally and nonverbally to what the candidate is saying, otherwise a quiet screen can be quite intimidating. Both parties should create dedicated interview or messaging profiles. Ensure that the username is suitable for interviewing and that the purpose of the account is professional. Interviewers should still remember to highlight a time frame for the call. Whilst the call may be happening within the candidate’s home, they may still have work or a daily schedule to return to.
Whilst online interviews offer ease of scheduling and the technology behind them is constantly improving, there is a possibility that technical issues will interrupt your interview. Planning ahead and ensuring you are in the best location for a strong internet connection is important. Familiarise yourself with the software being used for the interview. It is easy to get side-tracked when speaking about your employment history or passion for a role, however if your call were to get disconnected it is important you know where you left off so that you don’t miss the opportunity to sell yourself. If the call is disconnected for a lengthy period of time, ensure you have a backup method of contact. Once the connection has been re-established, ask the employer where their notes ended and resume where you left off.
During technical issues, employers should give the candidate extra time to answer questions. Remember there are fewer visual cues and often there can be lagging or a time delay, so forgive your candidate if they accidentally speak over you.
Hopefully if you follow these simple tips, you will ace your online interview and employers will equally develop a confidence that they can still recruit great new staff in a digital environment! Please email [email protected] with any queries