Online Interviews

16 September 2020

Over the past six months Friisberg & Partners International has interviewed many candidates remotely.

With coronavirus infections rising again, working from home looks likely to continue for a while longer - and so will online interviews.

Recently Mary Keane and Lorri Lowe, both Partners in Friisberg, spoke about this shift.

They discussed the advice we now offer to candidates:

Mary Keane, Partner Friisberg Czech Republic:

  • Even if we are by now used to virtual meetings, interviewing is very different from any other professional conversation, so make sure you prepare. By mitigating technical, camera and body-language-related factors, you improve the odds that the interviewers will focus on the substance of your answers and what you could do for the company.
  • Body language and eye contact is very important during a in-person interview and to convey similar connection during a video, it is important to avoid the instinct to look directly at the image on the screen, instead you should look directly to the webcam when speaking.
  • With prompt start and end times to online meetings, there is less opportunity for small-talk, so make every question and answer insightful and relevant, be clear and concise but friendly and optimistic. Smiling is contagious and can relax the mood of the interview.
  • In addition to the usual research you’d do about the company investigate what the firm has done / is doing in response to Covid-19 and ask about the onboarding and induction processes in a WFH world – it really matters now.

Lorri Lowe, Partner Friisberg UK:

  • I am often asked about the dress code for video interviews. Dress as you would for an in-person interview – most people feel most authoritative, credible, and competent when wearing formal business attire. However, I would suggest choosing a neutral background for your interview – amusing virtual backgrounds are rarely appropriate!
  • It is worth remembering that during the interview, you won’t be getting the same level of non-verbal information from the interviewer and there’s lots of research that shows when we don’t have feedback, we tend toward a more negative bias. So for the same reason, you want to practice being relaxed during the interview. Your goal is to appear natural and entirely at ease with the circumstances.
  • The crisis has made people more eager to connect with colleagues on an emotional level and your interviewer may have a higher expectation about how much warmth you convey during the interview. It’s more difficult for the interviewer to understand your enthusiasm through the screen, so make sure you’re expressive when answering questions.
  • Ultimately, preparation is vital - from ensuring the technology works, to conducting adequate research before the meeting, sitting down at your computer poised and ready for any and all questions  - these are the basics to help set you apart from others.


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