Remote Interviews: The Do’s and Don’ts for Candidates 

 

When mobile videoconferencing is being used to interview face-to-face with a firm’s hiring manager, candidates avoid traveling to the firm’s office. While this seems like a great time saver, more time preparing for a remote interview is then likely needed. To help candidates avoid miscalculating the time and effort that remote interviews require, Lex Recruiting Group has compiled a list of items that candidates should consider for each phase of the interview process.

Preparing for a Remote Interview

Many legal professionals do not recognize the importance of testing and familiarizing themselves with the mobile videoconferencing technology that a firm’s hiring manager will be using. They anticipate being evaluated based on their experience and expertise, overlooking the fact that having technical competency speaks volumes about their own professionalism and ability to adapt.

To put your best foot forward, ensure that you have the right equipment and conduct a trial run of the mobile video conferencing technology to confirm that it works properly on your computer. This will help you avoid technical issues while giving you an opportunity to see how the tools within the platform work.

Your remote interview should be joined from a MAC, PC or laptop using the full application—not the mobile app or browser version. While mobile videoconferencing is designed to work on mobile devices like an iPad, tablet and even a cell phone, mobile devices or use of the mobile app version curtails the platform’s full functionality, including access to files sent through the chat. You’ll want your computer to be equipped with a webcam and high-speed Internet. Many mobile videoconferencing platforms allow the audio to be accessed either by phone or using the microphone and speaker on your computer.

Your trial run should include:

·         Testing your webcam to ensure that it is working and properly positioned.
Your webcam should be placed at top your computer and centered. Your computer should be positioned far enough back that you can be seen from the chest up. Closeups should avoided.

·         Checking the lighting.
Your face should be evenly lit, with light coming from the front to avoid stark shadows.

·         Setting the audio.
While the microphone and speaker on your computer may be used, a good headset is recommended—as is having a cell or landline phone immediately accessible. Avoid earbuds and be sure you know how to switch to phone audio should you experience bandwidth issues like dropouts or severe video lag.

·         Securing a proper Wi Fi connection.
You should be sure that you have proper bandwidth. Having an ethernet cable handy can prevent you from having to reschedule due to connectivity issues.

During your trial run, take time to familiarize yourself with the features and capabilities of the remote interview technology. Candidates should know how to send and share files within the remote interview technology as well as how to highlight information on screen. You may also need to know how to use the white board to help facilitate your discussion. You should be prepared to walk the hiring manager through highlights and may wish to prepare a few slides highlighting this experience and expertise.

For your interview, you’ll want to have a neutral background. Many mobile videoconferencing technologies allow for creating a customized background. When creating a background, be careful to avoid colors, designs or images that can be distracting or gimmicky. If you choose not to create a customized background, clear the area within the view of your webcam so that it is free of clutter, distracting objects, and personal items. When possible, restrict pet access to the area where you are interviewing.

Because you will be unable to “experience” the firm first-hand, plan to ask at least some questions that will help give you insight on the firm’s core values and culture beyond what you are able to glean through your online research. And just as with in-person interviews, have your resume ready to share on screen and related talking points handy. It’s also good to have a list follow-up questions within eyesight along with a reminder to have clarity as to when and how you can expect to hear back.

 

Finally, plan to join 10 minutes early, fully and appropriately dressed.

 Before Joining the Remote Interview
If you’ve properly prepared, being able to jump right into the interview should easy. But before joining, you will still need to:

 

1.       Clear your desktop screen of any files that you do not want show the hiring manager;

2.       Turn off any notifications or alerts on your computer, including chat messages and ring tones;

3.       Close out of any applications, folders and/or files that you will not be using;

4.       Open on your computer any files that you may want to share;

5.       Have a glass of water within reach;

6.       Ensure that your face is fully and evenly lit;

7.       Frame your webcam so that you can be seen from the chest up;

8.       Remove any distractions to make your environment as interruption-free as possible;

9.       Put away all other devices; and

10.   If joining by phone, follow the dial-in instructions that display within the application. Using the phone number provided in the invite results in separate phone icon display.

During the Interview
Remember that the same rules apply as in-person interviews—and more! Here’s Lex Recruiting Group’s Experts List of pointers to remember:

 

o   If there’s any challenges with audio, switch from your computer audio to your phone;

o   Keep your eyes on screen–avoid looking down to check text messages;

o   Share your screen or use whiteboards to fully engage with the hiring manager;

o   Avoid extreme facial gestures;

o   Go off screen to cough;

o   Avoid interrupting the hiring manager;

o   Stay focused; and

o   Avoid clicking around in the videoconferencing platform

 After the Interview
As with any meeting, timely follow up is key.  A simple thank you note expressing your appreciation for the hiring manager’s time and consideration is appropriate. While a handwritten thank you is more personal, an email is more immediate. If a recruiter helped facilitate your interview, be sure to thank this person as well.  Don’t have the hiring manager’s email address?  Search online resources like the firm’s website and LinkedIn.