The pandemic has prompted employers to consider remote interviewing options, to connect key decision-makers and candidates. Graduates of an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) program should be prepared for this style of interviewing to go into the working world with confidence.
Here are tips to ace your next remote panel interview.
What Should You Do Before a Remote Job Interview?
Know the format. When an invitation to interview is extended, ask which platform. Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams are all common and widely available, although each has its own learning curve. Create an account and spend some time familiarizing yourself with the various features of the platforms.
Choose the perfect spot for the video call. Consider the day and time of the interview and if anyone else shares your space. Is a significant other working from home? Do you need to arrange childcare? Will any animals or pets be distracting? Establish a plan that provides a quiet, well-lit spot free from interruptions. You may need to sit comfortably, with good posture and framed by a stable camera, for an extended period.
Decide on your background. Virtual backgrounds can be a fun option and a great way to express your personality, but think carefully about your audience when selecting one. Pass on busy patterns that are distracting as well as any that include potentially controversial images or wording.
Allow for a malfunction. Technology is not foolproof, so it's wise to have backup plans. Keep a charged phone and laptop or tablet ready, and confirm if there is a secondary platform the interview should transition to if the initial one fails.
Do your research. Learn the company's history and the background of each interviewer. Know the specifics of the position you want and think how your career history and skill sets will contribute to success in the role. Also, be prepared to address any gaps in employment.
What Should You Do During a Remote Job Interview?
With your preparations and research complete, it is finally time for the big day. Many typical face-to-face interviewing tips still apply. However, a few additional suggestions will help you shine through a screen.
Amplify your emotions. Depending on the quality of the participants' audio, it may be difficult to hear the inflections in your voice, undermining your ability to nuance. To combat this, speak clearly and slightly accentuate your vocal tone and body language. Make eye contact regularly, as if you were speaking in person.
Address panelists by name. Some panel interviews rely on a lead person to ask most of the questions. Other formats allot each participant time for questioning. Regardless, make sure you address panelists by name and take time to connect with each one. This sort of personalization clarifies who you are responding to and demonstrates respect and an effort at building rapport.
Skip a beat. Even the most advanced video conferencing applications experience audio delays and lag time. To prevent unintentionally interrupting a question, wait before responding. A simple three-second pause often is enough time to confirm that the speaker has completed her thoughts and is not simply searching for a word or taking a breath.
Ask follow-up questions. A panel interview is an ideal time to ask any questions you may have. One or two insightful questions reiterate your interest and overall preparedness and deepen your engagement with panel members.
What Should You Do After a Remote Interview?
Within 24 hours of the interview, write a thank you email to the individuals you spoke with in the interview. Express your gratitude for their time and opportunity to apply for the job and remind them that you will wait for further communication from them. It's also a helpful to jot down notes from the interview, details they shared with you and follow up questions you might have.
Effective virtual communication is a key asset for today's job seekers, especially as more interviews shift online. With some preparation and focus, you can avoid being overwhelmed and nail your next panel interview — remote or not.
Learn more about the University of North Carolina Wilmington's online MBA program.
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