As we approach nearly a year of working remotely, for many the prospect of conducting an interview from home can still feel daunting. We’ve all seen the viral horror stories of inappropriate objects turning up on bookshelves; or not being able to remove the image of a cat from your screen! For some of us, the fear of embarrassment is enough to turn our webcams off and leave our chosen video software well alone.
What happens then, when you’re in the process of searching for a new job and the interview stage arrives? Our experienced recruitment team at RyderSlade have put together a helpful guide of how to conduct the perfect interview, remotely.
Be honest with your interviewer. Whether it’s a live interview or a pre-recording, there are some factors that you simply cannot control. If you’re aware of background noises that you can’t mute or minimise, mention it. The same goes for unexpected interruptions – if you’ve got family, kids or pets at home, flag this to your interviewer so that if a head pops around the door, it’s not such a huge distraction. Ultimately, we’re all in a similar position and everyone can empathise with background noise or disruptions cropping up at the wrong time. Pre-warning the person on the other end shows honesty and integrity on your part and will put you at ease, allowing you to embrace it, rather than hide it.
Think about the space you’re conducting the interview in. If you’ve got a wall directly behind you, make sure it’s vacant of anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see. Instead, treat it as an extension of you and use it as a canvas to show off your personality or interests. The same goes for shelving or a mantel – why not use it to display trophies if you compete in sports? Pictures of travels if you’re an explorer or a collection of books if you’re a keen reader.
Make sure your desk or table is neat, with materials you may need in easy reach and ensure the room is well lit, be it naturally or via lights and lamps. Your employer is going to see this as your potential workspace if the role involves home working so they’re going to want to know that it’s professional, functional and fit for purpose- an unmade bed in the background is a big no-no.
Focus on how you should dress. Whilst employers may not mind you being more casual when working from home, you should treat an online interview the same as you’d treat an interview in person. Wear clothes that make you feel comfortable, confident and empowered. Don’t forget to make sure your attire is top-to-toe and not just what’s immediately in the frame. A spilt cup of coffee, plugging a charger in or a knock at the door; can cause you to jump up and mean you may be more visible than you originally planned for. Don’t let your future employer see you in tracksuit bottoms (or worse!), and make sure you’re prepped for every eventuality, focusing your energy on the interview and the interview alone.
Make sure you still arrive early. Even if it’s just five or ten minutes that you use to go over your CV or re-read the job description. You’ll be able to see if anything’s missing and familiarise yourself with the sound and feel of your surroundings. Just like a regular interview, being on time is not only going to help you feel calm but will also resonate with your interviewer. Your potential employer definitely isn’t going to be impressed if you’re late to a home interview. If the worst does happen and you can’t be on time, make sure you treat it with the same courtesy you would a regular interview and call ahead.
It might help you to dress up, leave the house and “commute” to the interview, via car or on foot. The five or ten minutes away from the house can give you the needed headspace to prepare and clear your head before the interview.
All that leaves is for you to apply for that dream job, the interview’s already in the bag!