Written Monday 4th May 2020

Nailing The Remote Interview In The Time Of Coronavirus

Remote interview

As the worldwide lockdown to combat the Coronavirus pandemic continues, hiring managers have been forced to get creative to meet the challenges posed by the social distancing measures. 

While some companies have chosen to freeze the recruitment process altogether during this period, with no end to the lockdown in sight (particularly for professional workers), it is clear that this is not sustainable in the long-term. 

With millions of us unsure when our normal working lives will resume, many employers, especially in tech, are finding ways to take the hiring process fully online. 

Many of the biggest industry leaders like Google, Apple, and Netflix are continuing to actively recruit new talent using platforms like Zoom, so it is important that candidates have the tools to impress when it counts. Video call interviews can be stressful at the best of times, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic! 

Here are some tips to ensure that you are presenting the very best version of yourself:

Dress the Part

The lockdown has certainly encouraged us to all dress a little more casually than usual, especially as the temperatures have soared, but it is important that candidates treat their video call interview exactly as they would a face-to-face one. Ensure that you are sat down ready to talk ahead of time, dressed formally (at least from the waist up!) and looking presentable. This also applies to your environment. As much as you can, choose a place in your house which is quiet and free of noise or visual distractions. Unexpected interruptions definitely have the potential to go viral, but it is the last thing you want when you’re in the middle of answering a question. 

Zooming Ahead

As far ahead of time as possible, confirm how the interview will be conducted and which specific platform you will be using. The popularity of teleconferencing apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams has exploded in the wake of Coronavirus, with many of us now using them for the first time. Although they are all very user friendly, make sure that you take the time to familiarise yourself with the specifics of the app ahead of your interview, avoiding any potential awkwardness on the day. Both Zoom and Microsoft Teams let you make test calls to ensure that your camera and microphone are fully functioning, which is always good for peace of mind! Resources for making test calls are listed below:


Microsoft Teams

Making A Connection

We all know how incredibly annoying it is when the wifi drops out while we’re watching Netflix, let alone trying to land our next job! To minimise the risk of connectivity issues mid-interview, make your call close to the wifi router, or plug your device in directly via an ethernet cable. If you live with others, kindly ask them to hold off from streaming or downloading anything until you are finished to free up maximum bandwidth. If you still encounter problems, please don’t be hard on yourself. The interviewer will probably be experiencing exactly the same WFH challenges that you are.

Embrace the Unknown

Throughout the whole process of application and interviewing, keep in mind that none of us are simply working from home right now. Coronavirus is forcing us to dramatically rethink how hiring and working will be possible going forward, and we are all in the process of figuring it out.  A Zoom call lacks the personal touch of interviewing in-person, but it presents other opportunities. Keep preparatory notes or case studies of your previous work to hand, take your time when answering a tricky question. Equally, accept that the hiring process may be slower than usual and that the interviewer may not immediately have all the resources to hand to answer your more specific queries. 

The impact of the Coronavirus outbreak is truly unprecedented. The most important thing right now is still that we stay home in order to keep ourselves and each other safe. In these strange and uncertain times, we can afford to be a little easier on ourselves and each other. 

If you’re struggling with the uncertainty, we interviewed a registered mental health nurse about how to protect your mental health during COVID-19. Read Amber’s tips and advice here