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Tips for Remote Interviews

When recruiting in a place like the Middle East where 90% of the workforce consists of expatriates, it’s no surprise that a lot of clients we work with will conduct many of their interview stages (if not all) via remote video platforms such as Skype, WebEx, Zoom etc.

I mean let’s be honest, conducting interviews remotely isn’t a brand new revelation and in fact, even when recruiting local candidates some companies prefer to conduct initial first stages remotely as part of their process.
What really is a surprise however is the amount of times these interviews can go wrong, purely down to candidates not being prepared for this style of interview. With that in mind, I thought it was best to write a few pointers, a check list if you will, in order to help prepare anyone who’s looking to land that dream job abroad that they’ve always been hoping for.

Phase 1 - You’ve secured the interview

Double check the time
Whether you’ve scheduled the interview with a recruiter or directly with the employer, make sure you’ve double checked the time. The last thing you need is to miss your appointment completely. Is the interview at 12pm your time, or is it their time?

Make sure you have the right software
Make sure you’re aware of the software the interview will be conducted on. Again, the last thing you want to do is assume the interview will be done on Skype when the company are expecting you to clock in to their Zoom meeting. This can lead to a lot of unnecessary last-minute panic and completely throw you off your game.

Wear headphones
No one wants that awkward situation where they’re hearing their own voice echo through the speakers in the background. This can make the situation slightly uncomfortable and could possibly draw attention away from your interview.

Phase 2 – The night before

Location, location, location
Whether this is at home, a meeting room or at your local café, make sure you’ve picked your spot. You need to ensure there’s good lighting, the place is private enough so that there’s no background noise and that the internet connection is strong enough to ensure a smooth video interview.

Do your homework
You want to convey to the interviewer that you’re really taking this interview opportunity seriously and nothing helps more than doing your research. Has there been any big news about the business lately? Have you read any articles on the company? Checked their LinkedIn? Checked the interviewer’s background? Checked out the company’s website?

Choose your clothing
Make sure you’ve prepared what you’re going to wear when conducting the interview. Whether you’ve booked the whole day off at home or not, make sure you try to dress professionally (and I don’t just mean the top half!)

Prepare your questions
Make sure you’ve already thought about some questions that you want to know about your potential new employer. Remember, an interview is a 2-way street, this is your chance to find out anything you’d like to know, and it also shows that you’re genuinely interested in the opportunity.

Follow all of the above and make sure you get plenty of rest the day before your interview. This will help to alleviate stress and will make sure you’re not running around trying to sort out the last-minute details.

Phase 3 – The big day

Remove any distractions – Sometimes it can’t be helped, unplanned meetings or events may crop up so try to remove yourself from any situation where this could occur the best you can.

Be on time

Make sure you plan enough time to get to your spot early. This will really help when it comes to removing any distractions and making sure there’s no last-minute distractions that could crop up.

Re-check your internet connection
You don’t want a scenario where you’ve planned all the logistics, but your internet connection lets you down. A weak internet connection can really disrupt the flow of the interview and throw you off your game.

Turn off all notifications
At the end of the day, even if the client isn’t physically present in the room with you, they’ll know when your attention has been diverted. Turn off notifications and put your phone on silent mode so that you’re not distracted from the interview. You wouldn’t be checking your WhatsApp notifications in the middle of a face-to-face interview, would you?

Do a trial run

If you can, do an actual test run of the software with someone trusted in order to make sure everything’s in order. If this isn’t possible, at least do a trial run with your mic/video camera to make sure they’re all working before your interview.

Fail to prepare, prepare to fail.

Naturally, there are a lot of similarities between conducting a remote interview and conducting an on-site interview, but sometimes it’s the basics that are over looked.

At the end of the day, there are some things that can go wrong which really aren’t in your control… But the above are just a few basic measures that you can take in order to help limit the chances of this occurring.

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