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Job-Seeking in the New Normal: Acing the Remote/Virtual Interview

In Part 2 of this three-part series, Shawndel Evans, DiversityInc’s strategic lead of diversity pipeline management, shares tips on how job applicants can be successful in a COVID-19-affected job market.

COVID-19 put a record number of people out of work this spring. With many qualified candidates searching for few available jobs, standing out in a crowd is key. However, with remote work becoming the new normal, remote interviews are, too. Appearing engaging, personable and professional is necessary in all interviews, but making connections from behind a screen can present challenges.

Shawndel Evans (Photo courtesy of subject)

Shawndel Evans, DiversityInc’s strategic lead of diversity pipeline management, says preparation is key to appearing calm and competent on video interviews. Although much of the preparation is the job of the interviewer, candidates should be proactive in asking the right questions before the interview to ensure it runs smoothly. Below are Evans’s three tips on how to ace remote interviews.

Related: Part 1: Tips for Entry-Level Professionals

Don’t try to wing it.

In addition to completing your typical interview preparation, ensure you are also aware of who will place the call, what online meeting platform you’ll use and the names of the individuals who will be interviewing you. Ideally, Evans said it is the job of the interviewer to ensure all of this information is made clear, but if they do not, don’t be afraid to reach out and get clarity.

“Clearly communicating the details of the meeting will put the candidate at ease and make the entire process run more smoothly,” he said.

Prepare your technology to avoid glitches.

Glitches during or before an interview can add to your nerves and waste time. “Conduct a technical trial run of your video conferencing platform — common ones include Skype for Business and Zoom — a day or so beforehand, giving yourself enough time to adapt if anything isn’t working,” Evans recommends.

Additionally, be sure to check your camera, microphone and internet connection and be sure your device is charged. Have the meeting number and login information so you’re ready to go at the time of your scheduled call.

Have a backup plan.

Technology can be unpredictable. If, despite all your preparations, the technology still doesn’t work, switch to plan B. Ensure you have your interviewer’s phone number and email, Evans says.

Another issue may be internet bandwidth, which could become an increased issue while more people are at home working from their devices on the same network. “While not ideal, one way you can try to address this issue if it happens is to turn off the video function on the application you’re using during the interview. You’ll still be able to talk to each other on whatever platform you’re using, just without the visuals,” Evans said.

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