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Top Tips for Interviewing from Home

Geoff Denton CAREER ADVICE

With an increasing amount of the workforce now working from home, technology is being utilised more than ever for interviews. In fact, it is often the case that the interviewer as well as the interviewee will be at home during the course of the interview process.

As the interviewee, the work you do before the interview is arguably the most important part of the whole process. An interview is like an exam; preparation is paramount.

  • Make sure you know the interview time, and who you will be meeting.  This sounds like basic common sense and easy to do, but often people are scrambling to login to their email confirmations to get dial in details and are late for the interview. First impressions count – don’t be late.
  • You should hopefully have a job description (these are not always available), plus some information about the business you are interviewing with. Review the material available.
  • Research the business, look up their website. Read the news. Familiarise yourself with the type of work they do and some major recent transactions they have been involved in. Look up the profiles of the interviewer(s) and familiarise yourself with the type of work the team does.
  • Refresh your memory regarding your own employment history. If there are any gaps in your CV, be prepared to explain them.
  • Your interview may include competency-based questioning, particularly if a member from the HR team is going to be present. Think about what skills might be required for the role and examples that you could talk about to demonstrate these core competencies.

VIDEO CONFERENCE

Pre-interview:

  • Make sure you are online at least 10-15 minutes before your scheduled interview. This will allow you the time to become familiar with your surroundings before the interview and sort out any log-in issues that may be arise.
  • If interviewing via your computer/laptop, be sure to adjust the camera and volume if necessary.
  • Don’t be nervous about the technology. Should a technical glitch occur, there’s always a solution.
  • Practice! Give a friend or family member a call via the video function on your phone. Familiarise yourself with what it looks and feels like.

General guidelines:

  • Dress appropriately as you would do for an in-person interview.
  • Make sure you’re alone, and if you’re at home with others in the house, ask for them to vacate that space for the anticipated time the interview will last (a good rule of thumb is to allow at least one hour).
  • Have your mobile phone on silent and put it out of the way. You wouldn’t want to be disturbed by calls/texts during a meeting in-person, interviewing via VC is no different.
  • Noises that you may not notice in a personal interview can become distracting in a video conference. Avoid tapping on a desk or shuffling papers. Modern microphones are designed to pick up even the softest voice and so any disturbance can be heard. If you have children/pets at home, flag it to the interviewers early so that there aren’t any surprises later if you need to excuse yourself temporarily. Don’t be worried if you need to do so.
  • Be natural. Try not to move around too much. You could move out of view from the camera, and in addition, the video may seem ‘jumpy’ if you are constantly moving. You will come across as far more confident and relaxed if you remain fairly still (but not a robot) rather than nervously shifting in your seat.
  • Look directly at the monitor as often as possible when speaking. Be yourself, speak naturally and think of the participant at the other site as being across the table from you.
  • You will notice there can be a slight delay when using the video conference. Be aware of the transmission delay and pause for others to comment. Do your best to be patient and wait until the interviewer has finished speaking before you begin to speak.

TELEPHONE INTERVIEWS

Pre-interview:

  • Prepare for a phone interview just as you would for a regular interview.
  • Compile a list of your strengths and weaknesses, as well as a list of answers to commonly asked questions. We have a long list of examples we can provide you with to assist.
  • In addition, plan on being prepared for a phone conversation about your background and skills.

General Guidelines:

  • Keep your CV in clear view, so it’s at your fingertips when you need to answer questions.
  • Have a short list of your accomplishments/recent transactions that you have worked on available for review.
  • Have a pen and paper handy for note taking.
  • Put your phone in do not disturb mode so your call isn’t interrupted by texts/incoming calls.
  • Clear the room – evict the kids/parents/spouse/pets as best you can. Ensure the room is quiet and close the door. Expect the room to be this way for one hour.

During the phone interview:

  • Don’t smoke, chew gum or eat.
  • Do keep a glass of water handy.
  • Smile. It doesn’t matter that they can’t see you doing so. Smiling will project a positive image to the listener and will change the tone of your voice.
  • Speak confidently and enunciate clearly.
  • Don’t interrupt the interviewer.
  • Take your time, it’s perfectly acceptable to take a moment or two to collect your thoughts.
  • Give short, precise answers.

AFTER THE INTERVIEW

  • At the end of the interview thank the business for the interview. Be polite.
  • If interviewing via video, hit the mute button and end the meeting via the appropriate button on screen.
  • Take notes about what you were asked and how you answered, also think about any questions or issues the meeting raised.
  • Speak to your consultant as soon as possible and give them detailed feedback on the interview. We will always want to hear your feedback before going back to our client – not the other way around.

 

Interviewing when at home doesn't have to be difficult. If you need help getting set up, just ask us - remember we are here to help you.

Our clients are still very much hiring for talent. Some are trying to set up as many conversations as possible with a view to having a start date TBC. 

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Please do feel free to get in touch with Geoff Denton for a confidential discussion around your own situation and what jobs are available for you - I think you may just be pleasantly surprised.