Online interviews in the age of remote working | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, September 18, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:24 AM, September 18, 2020

Online interviews in the age of remote working

The lockdown following the global Covid-19 pandemic has shrunk the office space from a shared space saturated with buzzing colleagues to largely solitary confinement in a room with a laptop, pencil, notepad, and yes, the most important accessory, good internet connectivity.

As the office has become largely redundant in the age of social distancing, work from home has easily become the new norm alerting everyone to take proper adjustment measures to work accordingly as such. In the months that the lockdown has started, people are still being hired with a good lineup of fresh graduates and young professionals ready to boost their careers. With the grace of technology, many local and multinational companies are arranging virtual internships, workshops, competitive case studies and interviews. An interview is a constant in the hiring procedure of any employer and in the age of remote working, both the employer and the job candidate have to be coordinated with working from home taking adequate steps to ensure the interview goes smoothly. Here are the following tips to prepare and ensure an online interview goes well:

Vigilance is paramount

When taking or arranging an online interview, one must make sure back-ups are put in place just in case of an emergency. Interviews happen with a dedicated time slot, which the employers and job candidate have to tread on closely. Time certainly has its distinctive charm during the pandemic as all the workload has to be done from home. One should keep a close lookout at all times.

Always have a notepad beside with a pencil or pen to jot down notes, it seems odd to write while the interview goes on.

While checking whether the internet connectivity is at check at all times, video conference tools such as Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts Meet, and Microsoft Teams have to be downloaded beforehand on both the laptop or PC and the phone as well. In case of any technical disruption from either end, one needs to be ready to resume the interview and carry it on another device. No option should be kept out to run the interview. Mobile data must also be taken into account in the case of any fluctuations on the internet. If the hiring firm is based abroad, management has to be done accordingly from the candidate's end. Time is the key to ensuring all goes smoothly with a plan B always in the sleeve.

Negotiating your surroundings

Like all meetings and classes, which take place online, there should be little to minimize the noise in the background. Online job interviews usually go on as long as the employers want and in certain circumstances where there is an overwhelming number of applications, they put the time of ending in the mail as well helping the candidate to prepare accordingly.

The information about the time allocated for the interview must be relayed to other members in the house helping to eliminate any chance of distractions. We surely do not want to end up like the poor American professor in the BBC. Whether the hiring firm is based at home and abroad, precautions need to be heeded. Clear the space, close the door, and make sure the background looks neat and tidy. Once the setup is nailed in unison with calmness in your mind, the interview will take it due course.

Job interviews usually happen with the camera on. Both parties must make sure the camera is working beforehand. All equipment must be switched on 15 minutes beforehand, the light and camera angle should be set up in the right angle, and microphones tested. Phone and push notification should be kept silent or simply turned off and put away. The interviewer and interviewee have to look straight into the camera. Given the physical space has been shrunk to the screen, the candidate must try his or her level best to keep calm and maintain composure as the interviews are gruelling and challenging at the same time. Clothing must be done accordingly with formal wear preferred. Physical or not, a job interview must be treated as such. Candidates must be mindful of their facial expressions, tones of voice and speech patterns. Visual and linguistic cues need to be taken into account by both parties allowing the untrammeled flow of questioning and answering to take place.

Have a test run

Online interviews often seem to be a daunting task for many of us. Not everyone is tech-savvy or well connected with the world of the internet. It is always better to have a good test run with friends and family to get a hang of the conferencing tools rather be stuck and confused amid the interview running time. Gain some vaulted confidence before heading into the interview itself. Online interviews just like physical interviews at times have one to three interviewers at time.

One should not overlook the fact despite the remote meeting happening in personal space; they are still formal meetings and should be treated as such. With a steady influx of artificial intelligence tools that source and filter candidates especially in times like these, candidates and employers have to take adequate steps in ensuring a proper formal online job interview is conducted. 


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