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Finding a Quarantine Job: Impressing an Online Job Interview

On the one hand, remote interviews are cool: you don’t have to go anywhere, meet a bunch of strangers and get lost in the corridors. On the other hand, it is not clear how to behave correctly on them. Authors Burninghut We talked with an HR specialist and found out what features online interviews have and how to prepare for them.

Photo: Shutterstock

Just a couple of months ago, online interviews were conducted only in some cases: for example, you have applied for a dream job in another city (or even country) and are ready to move. Or get a job, which in principle does not involve visiting the office.

Now everyone who is faced with the need or desire to change jobs during a pandemic is forced to prepare for an unusual format. Even special services for conducting online interviews began to appear. And some companies have already reported that after quarantine they will allow all or few employees not to return to the office.

“Previously, employers wanted to see the applicant live right away: they had no habit of communicating and evaluating people online, it seemed an uncomfortable and inferior format. Now the picture has changed dramatically: not only do all interviews in adequate companies take place online, the employee is also hired for staffing, his introduction to the position and, in fact, the work itself. The case is unprecedented for both sides. Because of the compulsion, almost all companies entered this game and have already managed to get used to it, ”explained Yana Zarifulina, manager of the recruiting agency RealHR.

Online interviews are convenient, but for everything to go smoothly, you need to prepare the equipment and take into account the nuances that may arise when talking through a webcam.

Technical part

Check with your HR specialist in advance about how long the conversation will take. Arrange with your home so that at this hour and a half you do not interfere and do not make noise. If there is a room in which you can safely close, this is ideal.

Check the quality of communication, the level of charge on the devices, camera and microphone. To avoid echo, it is better to use headphones. You can also install the background noise suppression application. And do not forget to turn off the sound not on the phone, intercom and other devices.

Prepare the workplace. If you have a laptop, put it on the table to make it convenient for you to speak. Take away scattered clothes or other unnecessary things that might fall into the frame in the background. In some services for phoning, you can blur the background on the video or replace it with a picture.

Make sure you are clearly visible. It is better not to sit with your back to the window if it is a sunny day, otherwise in the video you run the risk of becoming a dark spot. But you should not sit right in front of a window or a lamp - in this case, on the contrary, your face may look too overexposed.

Ask your HR specialist what service the interview will go through. After that, test it in advance with a friend or relative - this will minimize the likelihood of technical failures.

Put a notebook with prepared cheat sheets and questions next to it. The format of the online interview gives you a better chance to peek in the notes if you forget something. But you shouldn’t take electronic notes during the call - the keypad will distract the interlocutor.

“I see many advantages in online interviews. This conversation is easier for the candidate: he remains in a familiar and safe environment, he has a certain “shield” in the form of a screen, and if he wants, he can hide his sign language by pointing the camera only at his face. And this format can be easier to rehearse with friends or acquaintances. These factors clearly reduce stress levels, ”said Yana Zarifulina.

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Communication part

Do not wear home clothes for an interview. Even if this is an online meeting, clothes still affect the formation of the first impression of the interlocutor. If you put on one of the sets in which you usually go to the office, you can feel more confident before talking with a recruiter and quickly tune into the working mood.

During phoning, try to look at the camera, not at your image. So you will maintain eye contact with the interlocutor, and he will understand that you are listening carefully.

Prepare a glass of water. A conversation sometimes lasts more than an hour, and at some point you may get stuck in your throat, it will become difficult to speak. Water will help solve this problem.

Try not to make sharp gestures, do not straighten hair, do not touch your face. This in private meetings is distracting and may indicate your insecurity, and during an online call, you also risk "freezing" in a strange situation.

If you are very worried, you can pre-record a short self-presentation on video. So you look at yourself from the side, hear your voice, notice hesitations, parasitic words and you can then work on the mistakes.

“At the interview, you can safely discuss whether the company plans to fully or partially transfer employees to a remote location when the restrictions on self-isolation are lifted. Will technical resources be provided or do you need to provide them yourself (for example, if your company has stationary computers, most likely you will need to use your laptop to work from home)? Will it be possible to come to work at will? Will there be any meetings and events to support corporate life? ” - recommends Yana.

Before the interview, ask yourself two important questions and take time to think. The answers will affect your chances of getting a good job both in times of crisis and in calmer times.

On the subject: The world leaves quarantine: when the economy of the countries affected by the pandemic will recover

What conditions can I agree to, and which ones are definitely not?

Be prepared for the fact that during the crisis, the employer will not be able to offer you stable conditions. This will depend on the industry of the company and how long it has been on the market and whether it has survived previous crises. You may be offered a lower salary than the one you are used to. And she may not return to her previous level in the next few months. And in some areas with the salary market overheated before the crisis (for example, digital marketing), they may linger at the current level for a couple of years.

Decide in advance for yourself what conditions you are not ready to agree to in any case. And this applies not only to salary expectations. For example, some companies install programs on employees' computers to track their activities. Are you ready for such conditions, or does it violate your principles of trust and privacy?

What advantages do I have compared to other candidates?

If you were invited for an interview, it means that an HR specialist was attracted to your resume and cover letter. But remember that he is interviewing several candidates per day. Why should you choose? Analyze your achievements in past positions and write down a list of useful skills that did not appear in the resume, because you did not consider them to be the most important. For example, managers who are ready not only to manage a team, but also to do part of the work “by hands” are very valuable now.

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