Don’t fret! We can totally help you and you’ll be very pleased to know that over the last couple of months, we’ve successfully placed a number of people into senior roles where they haven’t physically met their new employer. These candidates have either been on the other side of the world still, or in their quarantine hotels.
Often, these people are competing for roles against other candidates who are here in NZ already and therefore are able to go to an interview. Unfair advantage? You bet, but it doesn’t mean you give up!
Clearly not being here is a disadvantage, but take it in your stride and work around the issue. We have a number of happy people about to start roles (once they’ve cleared quarantine!) - they did it and so can you!!
Here is some of the secrets to their success:
When you are restricted to zoom meetings, you must ensure your communication is exceptional. Think about the following:
Time differences between parties mean that often one is in their evening time and one is in the morning (with neither being at a standard working time!) - this means that zoom calls are restricted in their length. If you are in a ‘normal’ face to face interview and it is going well - there is more capability for it to go on for longer. Time restrictions on zoom mean you need to make the most of the time you have to either get the information you need or to convey the information the client needs to understand why you are great for the job.
Internet connection issues and ‘working from confined spaces’ issues* are things to be aware of. Make sure your internet connection is good prior to the zoom call and make sure that you have contained the troops as much as possible before the interview! (there is a definite cause for bribing the kids with crunchie bars here!).
You’ve likely got less time and certainly being on the other end of the internet and not in person means you’ve got less ability to form relationships than in person. Make sure basic things like your body language, your posture and what you are wearing convey how serious you are about the role (ie this is not the time for an old t-shirt and goofy screen background!).
You need to manage your energy and enthusiasm. If you are interviewing at 6am or 9pm ensure that you still come across as fresh and keen and enthusiastic. Remind yourself that the candidate who got to meet them in person at 10am that morning certainly was.
Your questions need to be exceptional, so make sure you’ve done the homework. When you meet your client on site - so many questions have been answered for you already (what is the environment like, how is the office set up, what is the general vibe etc) - so you’ll need to ask better and smarter questions so you get the information needed.
Because the quality of your questions need to be better - make sure you are spending some time researching the role, the company and the people you are meeting with so you are organised with a good list of questions. (Of course one of the brilliant things about a zoom interview is that you can write stuff down and have a list of questions sitting in front of you - so you really have no excuse!).
It’s also good to ask questions about the office, the environment, how people are located etc. Asking about how the lockdown process works and its impact on remote and flexible working is also a good thing. Just probably don’t ask all this at the start of the first interview - it should be kept for later stages of the process.
Go Beyond The Normal.
One of our candidates secured his role from his isolation facility. He knew he was at a disadvantage as other candidates could meet the client in person and therefore had more chances to make an impression. So he did a swot analysis of himself - basically, he analysed himself from the potential employers perspective and then sent it on to us to give to the client.
The client was super impressed. Not only did he go beyond expectations, he also managed to get across a number of other things: his understanding of the role and what the client was looking for, his ability to produce a good looking report, his ability to communicate effectively in written form, and his understanding of why he was actually great for the role and why the role was great for him. He preempted questions that the employer would have had and answered them already - the client was super impressed.
Interview done - job secured!
Ask to Include Others.
As a candidate - it can be nerve-racking accepting a job without physically meeting the employer or seeing the office - so it's a good idea to ask to have someone walk you around the office with their laptop and explain how things work. We’ve moved to include this as part of most processes for those ‘digitally present’ and it is working really well for both parties. It’s also a really great opportunity to meet another person and ask them some great questions about their experience with the company.
All in all - the move to zoom interviews plus offering and accepting jobs without physically meeting each other is a new thing - but it is so great to see how companies and people are adapting to what is a new normal.
Putting the effort into ensuring that your online interviews are exceptional is definitely worth it.
Give us a bell or drop us a line if you need a hand or have a great story to share!
* Defined as being either working from home with young kids, noisy dogs, builders next door or being stuck in an isolation hotel with your extended family!