Interview Tips for Lockdown
Lessons from Lockdown
The best learnings we have had from clients and candidates about interviews during Lockdown.
There is so much written and available freely on the Internet about what to prepare for and how to present at interview that it is really in your gift to get prepared.
We have written a number of pieces over the years with Interview techniques and tips. So, in this lockdown world we thought we would distil Feedback we have had from clients and candidates to present you with a few topics for you to think about.
We have had candidates having up to 8 interviews for a specific position. Whilst it is easier to attend a Zoom or Teams interview rather than a physical one, it is understandable that a level of fatigue can set in. Even over familiarity. This process should be seen for what it is to give both parties every chance to get the fit right. We ask you recognise the diligence of a process and see it as a positive. They want to get the right person and it also allows you to meet those who will influence your career path . We are also very keen for the process to be a two way street Are you right for them? But also are they right for you?
Virtual Interview Preparation
We are learning as we are going along with this. All of us have had to think about lighting, camera positions and distractions. We have written our top ten tips for video interviewing..But our priority feedback is not to be prepared in the way a candidate was “They did really well and we will progress, but perhaps you can suggest they don’t sit with a mirror behind them, we could see they had only dressed the top half 😊.” Instead practice with a friend or family member - ask them if they can see you, how the camera should be positioned, whether they can hear you etc.
It still baffles us on occasion that Feedback includes the phrase lack of preparation. “They didn’t know a lot about us, they hadn’t tested our products.” Please ask yourself why are you there? They want to see you have researched them, but they need to know you are keen on their opportunity, business, culture, product plans, vision – however you address it, you need to understand what the opportunity is, who they are and why you would be interested. Oh and know where the interview is whether it is a video or face to face in person interview and always be on time. If via video make sure you have checked the connection etc at least 10 minutes before the meeting.
“He had researched the company and the role but what stood out was his ability to show his skills and enthusiasm for the role over a Teams meeting – virtual face to face was no barrier.”
“Good knowledge and no problems with putting him in front of customers. He knew exactly what was expected of the role.”
We always suggest as an interviewer you should make sure the candidate speaks for 75% of the interview. But we do get lots of Feedback from candidates saying "I only had about three questions in an hour and didn’t get chance to show them my relevance.”
It's imperative you try and control your time. Closed questions sometimes need to be opened up if appropriate to show your relevance and desire to be there.
Take us through your CV
“I was born in 1979 and was 8lb and healthy” – is not a way to start an interview, but a close contact of Focus did just that.…he went right to the start. Thankfully, our candidate was playing a risky game and was joking – it worked on that occasion..
Our advice though is DON’T do this, you have finite time, talking about your first role for 4 minutes and having 30 seconds to talk about your current and most relevant position is not the best strategy. Ensure you are discussing the most relevant and recent experiences. You are always welcome to touch on or refer to lessons learnt at the beginning of your career but remember that the interviewer wants to see who you are now not who you were 5 /10 / 20 years ago.
Be prepared to ask questions
Most interviewers will ask if you have any questions. Well the good ones will, as this shows that you have thought about your role within the business and are interested enough to have some questions prepared. Please do not lead with what is the salary / package. Try to show what you can bring to their business questions like - What is the companies 5 year strategy? What plans do you have for progression of this role? Have you thought about.....? My advice - Be bold, stand out from the other interviewees, for great reasons. Standing out from the crowd of interviewees is hard enough to do in person let alone on a video interview, so make sure you are remembered for the right reasons. Be the candidate who really understood their business and was passionate about where it could go.