Interview points in our new world

I thought it might be helpful to run through interview points for the current climate with the caveat that of course, this may change again as we (hopefully) move out of lockdown.

Increasingly people are being offered roles after remote interaction, without having met the interviewer in person or attending the company site. This can feel very odd and yet it seems to be working well so perhaps some of this will carry forward.

Interviewing on screen can be tricky because it can be harder to pick up non-verbal cues and, no matter how many meetings you have now had online, being on camera is weird for most of us. Help yourself as much as you can by preparing, not only for questions but also your environment to ensure you offer a professional picture of yourself.

Get familiar now with the variety of video meeting services – you may be familiar with Teams and Zoom but also think about how Skype or Google Meet would work for you. Many large employers have their preferred in house service so you cannot prep for that but by considering the other options you will be ready to face technology (and when you join your new company, embrace Slack like it is second nature!).

Please do not say you are not tech minded – particularly as it is now an intrinsic part of most business. These services are now easy to grasp and you risk being disadvantaged if you suggest you cannot, or will not, learn the light technology that companies use.

Some quick points

  • Consider the setting – use an office style background if possible. They are neutral and will leave the focus on you, not your bookshelf or lovely sofa.
  • Ensure you schedule a time when you will have no interruptions – a wandering child is cute for politicians but in a job interview, you need to demonstrate you will be able to work with full concentration. Annoying in this day and age to have to press on this but although the employer may not mind in theory – but unconsciously will the interruption worry them?
  • Dress the part. Admittedly a suit may feel uncomfortable in these times – but a smart shirt is good on everyone. No patterns or bright white – they just do not work well on camera.
  • Watch your bandwidth – hopefully, you have a good service but even then turn off absolutely everything else running in the background. Sounds obvious I know but we are so used to having lots running at one time it is easy to forget.
  • Push your computer away to at least arm’s length – and if you want to make eye contact (which would be great) remember to look at the light.
  • Some people will advise using a ‘cheat sheet’ I am going to suggest not to. Yes, it might make you feel more confident initially but it is distracting to the viewer (yes, they will notice) and can hinder being ‘in the room’ for the interview.
  • Have a mock interview with someone and tape it so that you can identify and hopefully manage any fidgeting and speech ticks most of us have.

Through all this, know that your great CV (if we wrote it with you J) is what has got you to interview. Now they are looking at whether you are a good fit. The interviewer will appreciate  hat this is a weird environment and will be kind and want you to succeed.

Just turn up and be yourself  – on your best day of course – but yourself.

You know where we are if you want support around your CV and LinkedIn profile or would welcome so more in depth interview prep or coaching.

Warmest to all


Angela Hackett – Director at Police into Private Sector