With the covid-19 pandemic still ongoing, online interviews are now par for the course. With approximately 11.4m job roles furloughed from 1.3m different employers and around 1.6m people actively seeking new roles – it’s fair to say the job market is more competitive than ever, so it’s even more important to get your interview etiquette spot on!
Social distancing and ‘stay home where possible’ is still very much in play, and many companies are now opting to use virtual meetings to interview and assess potential candidates. It’s a step up from the traditional telephone interview and there are a few bits to tick off to make sure it runs smoothly.
If you work in the automotive industry and have been asked to interview, here are our top tips on how to ensure a successful online interview.
Treat online interviews like face-to-face interviews
Treat online interviews just the same as you would going into an in-person interview.
Just because you’re at home, it doesn’t mean you should act any differently. You’ll still need to be formal and professional – in both personality and appearance.
Even though it’ll only be your top half on view, make sure the bottom half is suitably ‘dressed’ just in case you need to get up during the meeting.
Do a test run
Ensure your computer has battery, you have the right software loaded and you have the meeting details to hand. Skype, Zoom, Teams and Google all have different ways to join, so be sure you’ve familiarised yourself with which one your interviewer will be using.
Internet connection can sometimes be patchy so it’s worth having a back-up plan. Keep your phone charged (and on silent) in case you need to switch to mobile data.
Something that is often overlooked is your username used to log on to meetings, make sure this hasn’t been left as ‘Billy the Poker King’ from your online hook up with the boys last week!
Be prepared and keep focused
When you’re at home and not sat face-to-face in an interview room, there’s a lot going on and it can be easy to let your mind wander. Make eye contact with people in the meeting by looking at the camera when you’re talking – and listening.
Have a glance over your CV beforehand as inevitably the interviewer will want to run through your work experience and history.
Jot down some company-specific questions to ask your potential employer; it shows you’ve taken an interest in finding out more about them. You might want to consider questions such as the companies’ long term plans, where they see this job role going and also team culture. To help with specific questions, visit their website (paying particular attention to the ‘About’ ‘Products/Services’ and ‘News’ pages) and their social media platforms.
Whilst technology has been a lifesaver during the pandemic, we’ve all seen the news stories where children, dogs and nanny’s run into shot…or been on a call where someone can’t get their video off mute.
Online interviews, from home, aren’t a natural scenario so it’s a good idea to ask your family or housemates to go out for a while so you’re home alone, pop a note on the door so you don’t get your local delivery driver banging the door down and get yourself settled in a comfortable space.
Set the camera screen so you’re not taking up the whole picture but your head and shoulders are in central view. Think about your surroundings too – remove any mess or clutter from the room and check the walls for posters or incriminating photos. You can use a background that comes with the meeting software, if you choose to do that, just pick a standard colour or a ‘living space’ scene as opposed to anything distracting.
Without the initial handshakes, the informal ‘how was your journey, did you find us ok?’ or ‘would you like a tea, or coffee? milk, sugar?’ it’s quite tricky to gauge personalities and therefore slightly harder to form a connection.
Body language has never been so important, so sit up in your chair and don’t slouch or hunch over, make an effort to look at your screen when listening to your interviewer and look into your camera when answering questions.
The ongoing pandemic hasn’t been easy for anyone. You may be feeling anxious about going back into a job after some time off, or you may have been made redundant from a long-term role and you’re nervous about starting somewhere new. Try to keep those worries out of it, think of this as the opportunity for a fresh new start, a new challenge.
Be friendly, chatty and upbeat, but remember not to lose focus, and always make sure you stay professional!
Here at Renzo Automotive, we’re always on the end of a phone to offer tips and advice ahead of your interview – whether that be face-to-face or online.
You’ve been called forward to interview as the prospective employer see’s something in you, make sure you sell yourself and share any interesting and unique career moments so they don’t forget you…and lastly, if it’s a role that we’ve put you forward for – be sure to give us a call after and let us know how you got on!
Are you a company looking to hire automotive candidates? Read our key questions to ask specialist automotive recruitment agencies.