Just when you thought that you might be getting the hang of this whole interviewing for a new job thing, the world went sideways. Interviewing (let alone interviewing well) is already challenging enough on a good day. So how, exactly, are you supposed to go about remote interviewing—and getting hired—in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic?
The answer is: You adapt. That’s what recruiters and hiring managers are doing, and they’re hoping you will, too. As the ground continues to shift under our feet, companies are working to adjust their recruiting, interviewing, and hiring processes to fit the circumstances. Which means hiring is going to look a little different for a while.
These days, you can expect most interview processes to be remote from start to finish—no surprise. And when you get hired, your onboarding experience will probably be virtual, too.
While this isn’t ideal, there are some advantages. “We’re missing in-person interaction, which is so valuable, but switching to virtual interviews has allowed for more flexibility and saved time for both interviewers and candidates,” says Liz Keyes, SHRM-CP (Society of Human Resources Management-Certified Professional) and Director of Human Resources at Coalmarch, who is actively looking to hire digital marketing specialists and account managers. “Rather than reserve a conference room and have candidates commute to the office, we can easily schedule a video meeting from the comfort of everyone’s home.” This increased flexibility could serve to accelerate an interview process if a company has an urgent need.
That said, you can expect familiar interview patterns, as hiring managers are sticking to what already works. “We still break up interviews into half-hour sessions with various team members so we can get the best idea of who the candidate is and how they work with others,” Keyes says.
Some organizations are adding more calls to their typical interview process to make up for the missing in-person piece. “I’m interested in really getting to know the people I interview, and since we can’t meet face-to-face, I’m willing to invest additional time over video calls so that we can go deeper and have real conversations,” Binder says. “That might mean we schedule an additional call or ask a candidate to put together a virtual presentation so that we can get a better feel for their experience, what they’ll contribute, and the impact they’ll make if they join the team.”
So if a hiring manager asks you to join one last call, don’t be discouraged. It likely means that they’re really trying to get to know you, which is a good thing for everyone. The more information you have about your prospective employer, manager, and coworkers, the more likely you are to make the right decision for yourself, too.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the process. Getting clarification on what to expect is always a good idea, but will be especially helpful now. So toward the end of a call when a recruiter or hiring manager asks if you have any questions, remember to ask things like: “What does your interview process entail?” “What is your timeline for making a decision?” “What are the next steps?”
In the midst of all this uncertainty, certain skills and traits have shot to the top of every hiring manager’s wishlist. “We’re looking for people who are self-motivated, have the ability to collaborate digitally, and communicate effectively,” Keyes says. “These are strengths that we look at for any potential hire, but it is increasingly important while we are working remotely.”
“Interviewing via video is a bit of a test,” Binder adds. “How well does this person handle calls? How do they keep participants engaged? Do they utilize creative communications tools like whiteboarding on an iPad to get their point across?”
In addition to reflecting on your most relevant strengths, you might also want to be ready to discuss your strategies for dealing with challenging situations.
“I’m especially interested in how people are navigating through this,” Binder says. “Positivity and resilience are important traits, especially during difficult times. As a hiring manager, I’m curious to learn about how applicants have overcome past obstacles and how they see that experience impacting the way they approach the coming months. There will always be twists and turns, so I want to be sure I’m hiring people who are ready for the challenge.”
Be prepared to share stories about that time you overcame a personal hardship, faced conflict at work, navigated a stressful situation, or used your creative thinking skills to solve a complex problem. These are known as behavioral interview questions and you can answer them effectively using the STAR method.
For many companies, an entirely remote hiring process is unprecedented. Which means they’re doing their best to make it work as they go along. And hiring managers know you are, too. “The key is to be open and honest throughout the entire journey,” Keyes says. If you’re new to remote work, that’s OK. If you have more questions than you normally would, that’s fine. If your cat walks across your keyboard in the middle of your virtual presentation, just roll with it. Things are different right now and everyone is doing their best to make it work.
With uncharted territory also comes uncertainty. Which means there are some things that you just won’t know. So you’ll need to be adaptable, patient, communicative, and proactive—probably more so than normal.
The whole point of an interview process is to find the right fit for everyone involved—including (and especially!) for you. That hasn’t changed. So as you get to know a potential employer, you should be thinking about not only how to impress them, but also whether they’re a match for your goals, priorities, and work style. You’ll want to be ready to ask questions and discuss your preferences when the time comes.
The coronavirus pandemic has changed all aspects of our lives almost overnight. And there’s no use in pretending that everything is OK when it’s very clearly not. But the good news is that there are some things you can control—at least when it comes to interviewing. Just as hiring managers are doing their best to be flexible, you can work on adapting your interview skills to better fit with the new remote format. Invest more time in your pre-interview research, practice showcasing your strengths, and work on flexing your communication skills. Things might look different, but with a little preparation and creativity, you can still shine in an interview, and ultimately land a new job.
Good luck, and stay safe.
Article Provided By: The Muse