How To Assess Company Culture During A Remote Interview

When you interview in person, it’s easy to get a vibe of the office. You can observe how people interact, listen for the chatter around the water cooler, and maybe even interview with additional team members. Remote interviews make it challenging to assess company culture, although not impossible! Here’s your comprehensive guide to evaluating company culture during a remote interview.

Decide what’s most important

Company culture is a pretty broad, over-arching term. So, as you’re evaluating companies, it’s essential to start with what is most important to you. Which company values are non-negotiable for you? Are there cultural aspects that you can’t sacrifice? Consider common company culture facets such as work-life balance, collaboration, communication, career development, dress codes, and diversity hiring. We recommend nailing down three pieces of company culture that are most important to you before diving into your job search.

Be a web sleuth

Now that you’ve narrowed down what’s most important, you know what to look for! Now it’s time to do some digging. Of course, start with their website. Most companies will detail their mission and values there. Then, head to social media to see if you can find proof of those in their postings and photos. Next, check out their reviews on social and sites such as Glassdoor and Indeed. Remember to take reviews with a grain of salt, but look for indications of company culture. Additionally, you should seek out how the company responds to reviews – both positive and negative. These responses can reveal a lot about what they prioritize and how they handle controversy.

Ask specific questions

When it comes to the actual interview, you need to ask behavioral questions, but in reverse. So, instead of “what is the company culture like?”, get specific with what you identified as important earlier. For example, “diversity initiatives are very important to me. How has your company reacted to recent shifts in equality and calls for a more diverse workforce?” When you ask specific questions, you can get direct answers about what is most important to you.

Remember, it is possible to unveil a company’s culture during a remote interview. Not only that, but it’s also necessary to determine if it will be the right fit for your values and career goals. Looking for more interview and job search advice? Explore our candidate resources here!

5 Video Interview Mistakes to Avoid

Ah, the dreaded video interview. You might have nightmares of answering a question while still on mute, having your computer freeze mid-elevator pitch, or your cat walking across your keyboard as you try to explain how detail-oriented you are. And while virtual interviews present a unique set of challenges, they don’t have to be anxiety-inducing. Keep reading for five video interview mistakes you should avoid and how to do so professionally.

Having A Messy Background  

One of the detriments to interviewing over video is that you are exposing your personal space. With a traditional interview, you’re traveling to their office and thus don’t have to worry about presenting an organized and professional environment. Keep your area clear of clutter, make sure there’s plenty of natural light, and limit the amount of stuff in the background.

Dressing Unprofessionally  

You’ve seen the horror stories of people not wearing pants on Zoom calls. Don’t be that person! Make sure you are dressed professionally from head to toe (even if you think you’ll only be on camera from the waist up.) Additionally, consider how specific colors and patterns look on camera. A good rule of thumb is to stick with neutrals and clean lines. A blazer with a plain shirt underneath is always a great bet!

Not Practicing Beforehand  

No preparing before your interview is one of the biggest video interview mistakes you can make. With all of the complications that technology can bring, you do not want to be caught off guard! Test out your video camera (don’t forget to check your background while you’re at it!), make sure your audio works okay, and most importantly, find a spot in your house that gets excellent Wi-Fi. Most employers will be understanding if you have technical difficulties. Still, it can throw off your confidence if you have to repeat things or move locations to find better Wi-Fi in the middle of your interview.

Not Limiting Distractions  

When video interviewing from your home, this is a big one. Put the dogs outside, find something to occupy the kids, and turn your phone on silent. Now, we understand that some interruptions are inevitable. The mailman might set off your dog, or your kid desperately needs fruit snacks at the most inconvenient times. In these cases, it can be helpful to be upfront about your environment right when the interview starts. For example, say, “Before we get started, I did want to warn you that my 3-year-old is in the next room. I explained to him that I had an important meeting, but we all know how that goes!” Interviewers will appreciate your honesty and communication.

Not Taking Advantage of the Benefits Video Interviewing Offers  

Last but perhaps most importantly, do not miss an opportunity to take advantage of the benefits of video interviewing. That’s right, along with all the challenges, there are good sides to a virtual interview! Unlike an in-person interview, you can surround yourself with tools to help guide you through an interview. Think of answers to tough questions like “what is your greatest weakness?” or some quick notes on recent accomplishments the company has gained. Another great thing to have handy is some questions to ask when you get to the interview’s final minutes. These can all be transcribed in a word document on a second screen, jotted down on sticky notes surrounding your laptop, or even just written out in a notebook on your desk.

Don’t be intimidated by these video interview mistakes

In the end, you don’t have to be intimidated by video interviews. While they do come with a unique set of challenges, they also present a few opportunities to show your personality and prepare ahead of time. Are you interested in more interview advice? Explore our library here!

Why Remote Interviewing is Here to Stay

Almost every company that was hiring throughout the pandemic was forced to shift to a remote hiring process. Employers were making difficult hiring decisions without even meeting a candidate face-to-face. As we continue to recover from the virus and return to our old ways, many companies will maintain remote interviewing practices that they adopted last year. Of course, some employers will return to the office, and it will be “business as usual;” however, remote interviewing is here to stay, at least in some facets, for most companies. Here’s why.

Less geographic barriers

In a traditional face-to-face interview, there are limitations on talent pools. You will receive the majority of your candidates from your local market or others that are nearby. But with remote hiring processes, an employer’s candidate pool is vastly different. You can essentially interview candidates from across the country. Employers can hire anyone from anywhere! With larger talent pools, employers can fill their vacant jobs faster and tap into groups of talent that would otherwise be unavailable. Less geographic barriers result in better hires and fewer turnovers.

Increased flexibility

Also, with remote interviewing, there is a tremendous amount of flexibility for both parties. For candidates, this means you don’t have to squeeze in an interview during a lunch break, call in sick, or rush after work to throw on your interview outfit. For employers, you don’t have to block out a massive chunk of your day or even week to host a group of candidates. With more flexibility, employers have more time to focus on their other responsibilities or even schedule additional interviews to expand their talent pool.

Easier on the budget

Remote interviewing is also easier on the budget. You no longer have to fly out candidates to spend an entire day or afternoon interviewing, going out to lunch or dinner, and parading them around the office or job site. With virtual interviewing becoming a staple, you no longer have to pay for a candidate’s airfare, hotel, meals, and other expenses. Of course, there will be circumstances where you will need to fly a candidate in, maybe for a leadership role. However, most candidates don’t need an all-day interviewing event before an employer can make a decision.

Supports diversity and Inclusion efforts

A big push for many companies is an emphasis on diversity and inclusion programs. Employers are diligently working towards fostering a more inclusive hiring process and working environment. Remote hiring can aid these efforts by eliminating hiring biases. Hiring professionals tend to gravitate towards candidates that mirror their own backgrounds. As a result, recruiters and hiring managers may overvalue hard skills instead of considering a candidate’s interpersonal or soft skills. With remote interviews, a candidate’s skills have the opportunity to speak for themselves instead of allowing unconscious biases from affecting a hiring decision.

Need to prepare for an upcoming remote interview?

So, these are just a few reasons why remote interviewing is here to stay long after the pandemic. If you are looking for resources to help you prepare for your upcoming virtual interview, you’ve come to the right place! Please take a look at our interviewing tips, tricks, and insights here. Good luck!

How to Prep for An Interview in 2021

A new year is often a symbol for a fresh start, and for many people, that means a career change. 2020 was a rough year for many of us, and a new job opportunity might be a much-needed spark. If you are planning on hitting the job market hard during the new year, here is how to prep for an interview in 2021.

Be physically and mentally prepared

The best way to prep for an interview in 2021 is to be physically and mentally ready. To physically prepare, have a notepad ready to take notes throughout the interview; this will help you craft the perfect thank you note or ask thoughtful questions later on during your interview. Additionally, you should take the time to research the company, its mission and values, and the hiring manager. Proper research will help you confidently answer interview questions and tie them back into the company or the role.

To mentally prepare, get a good night’s sleep before your interview. If you are sleep-deprived, it will be difficult for you to be on you’re A-game. Also, try not to work yourself up too much. Interviews can be stressful, especially if you are out of work. To mitigate this stress, do something that relaxes you beforehand. Go for a walk to clear your mind, drink your favorite tea or coffee, read a book, or whatever it is that will put you in a calm mindset. If you enter your interview with a load of stress on your shoulders, it will come through during your meeting.

Brush up on common interview questions

Another great way to prep for an interview in 2021 is to brush up on some common interview questions. Every interview is different, but most hiring managers will ask you a set of fundamental questions. These questions can range from “what is your biggest weakness?” to “tell us about a time you overcame a failure.” Lucky for you, we have compiled a list of the most common job interview questions with tips on how to answer them successfully (and with examples!).

Take a look at them here if you really want to ace your interview.

Prepare to interview virtually

As you prepare for an interview in 2021, you must be ready to interview virtually. Even as the pandemic winds down, many companies will continue to interview virtually as it is much more efficient. It’s easier for hiring managers to hop on a Zoom meeting for an interview instead of forcing candidates to come to the office or facility to meet face-to-face.

So, to prepare, ensure your equipment is up and running. If possible, use a web camera on a computer as you won’t have to worry about fumbling around with a phone. If not possible, prop up your phone or tablet, so the camera is steady and clear. Make sure your audio is working well and that you have a strong internet connection. Also, dress for success. Even though the interview is virtual, that doesn’t mean you can relax on your dress code. Dress appropriately for the interview to set a good impression. Most importantly, sit in a clean, quiet room with no distractions. The last thing you want to do is display your messy kitchen or have your kids running around in the background!

The Perfect Thank You Note For A Virtual Interview

The thank you note is a tradition as old as time. However, things have changed recently. As more and more companies are doing virtual interviews, your entire job search process may be online. So, as you navigate a remote interview, you still need to send a thoughtful thank you note. Keep reading for a few important tips and an example template to get you started!

Things To Keep In Mind

Be Timely

It is most effective to send your thank you note within 24 hours of your interview. Preferably, the same day. Hiring managers want to get people in as quickly as possible, and they are making decisions fast. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to make a lasting impression through your thank you note.

Keep It Short

Hiring managers have full plates. They are juggling tons of different tasks, and on top of that, they are trying to fill a critical position on their team. Thus, it’s essential to keep your thank you note short and sweet.

Refer Back To Specific Points

Whatever you do, don’t send a generic thank you email. It’s okay to have a template, but you must customize it for each interview. The easiest way to do this is by referring back to specific points that were brought up during an interview. Pick out a few moments that stood out to you.

Focus On The Future

Towards the end, mention the next steps. Show your enthusiasm for the position, and don’t be afraid to say how excited you are. Your interviewer wants to know that you actually want the job!

Customize Each Note

If you had the pleasure of interviewing with multiple people, send individual thank you notes. Customize each thank you note with a personalized reference. Try to remember a specific question that the interviewer asked or something that they described.

Virtual Interview Thank You Note Example

“Hi {Interviewer Name,}

Thank you so much for taking the time to virtually meet with me today. I am incredibly interested in the (Job Title) role, and I loved getting to hear more about (Company) and your team. I’m excited about the opportunity to (how you would add value in this role – be sure to list specific things you talked about during your interview!)

Please let me know if there’s any additional information I can provide. Thank you again for the opportunity; I look forward to hearing from you about the next steps!”

No matter what, don’t fall into the 76% of interviewees that don’t send a thank you note. This one small detail could be the thing that sets you apart from the rest!

Interested in more interview tips? Explore the rest of our candidate blogs here.

How to Make A Virtual Interview Less Awkward

Let’s cut to the chase – we all know video interviews can be awkward. Completing a face-to-face interview unscathed is nearly impossible, and talking with a total stranger (who could be your future boss) can be intimidating. However, here are a few tips for job seekers to help make a virtual interview less awkward.

Check out the interviewers beforehand

Taking a moment to learn more about your interviewers is something we recommend you do before any interview. Once you know who you will be interviewing with, look them up on LinkedIn or see if they have a bio on the company’s website. Looking them up will help you feel more comfortable when you first meet with them virtually and make your conversation a little smoother. Plus, it can even help you identify some talking points to chat about at the beginning of the interview. Knowing who is interviewing you will help make your virtual interview less tricky and help calm your nerves.

Take time to listen carefully

One of the most uncomfortable parts of a virtual interview is the actual conversation. It can be difficult to read body language and know when someone is finished speaking. To combat this, give yourself a few seconds after you think someone is done talking to ensure they have completed their sentence. It is really awkward when people accidentally start speaking over each other and can make you look rude and impatient. By adding a few seconds before you jump right into a response, you will ensure you are not interrupting anyone.

Mute your mic when you are not speaking

When you are not speaking, mute your microphone. Doing so will help you think before you speak, and thus, prevent you from interrupting your interviewers. It will also avoid any unintentional noises or audio feedback that can distract from your interview’s success. With millions of professionals working from home with their children distance learning, there are always unintended noises that you will want to avoid. Muting your mike will help the entire conversation proceed smoothly and help you nail your virtual interview!

4 Virtual Interview Red Flags