Mastering the Online Interview

May 27, 2021 – Global executive search firm Kincannon & Reed has been working remotely for more than 35 years facilitating video interviews long before it became a necessity. The firm recently shared with Hunt Scanlon Media some best practices to help clients and candidates prepare to engage remotely, present their best, and ultimately determine if this is someone you want to work with.

According to the search firm, both the interviewee and interviewer need to find a quiet, private space with appropriate lighting and, most importantly, low risk of interruption, according to Kincannon & Reed. “Consider the background as well. Remove any background items that distract the eye, relocate them or move yourself to a setting that better allows for you to focus on each other,” the firm said. “If you have children at home, a significant other or even pet, choose a room that can’t be disturbed or take other appropriate steps to ensure privacy. Maintaining complete focus in this new interview medium always delivers the best outcomes.”

Kincannon & Reed says you should not let a subpar internet connection or your unfamiliarity with technology stand between you and a good impression. “If you are using conference software you haven’t used before, download the application and troubleshoot well before your actual interview,” the search firm said. “Test your webcam with others. Thoughtfully considering the camera angle and asking yourself (and others) if it’s projecting you at your best. If not, adjust accordingly. And if you aren’t accustomed to being on video, or familiar with the technology, three words of advice: practice, practice, practice. The more you do, the better you’ll get with both the technology and the art of video interviewing.”

Related: 5 Tips for Evaluating, Interviewing & Onboarding in a Virtual World 

Be Early and Entirely Undistracted

Always sign into an interview several minutes in advance. Kincannon & Reed says not only is punctuality appreciated, it also gives you time to address any last-second technical challenges. “Again, to avoid all distractions, be sure to close out of any other application and silence your phone,” the firm said. “No one wants to hear chimes in the background or see you peeking at a text message. Since this is an entirely different medium, it pays to pre-prepare in every way possible.”

Even though we are all remote, you will want to present your professional self as you would if you were there in-person, according to Kincannon & Reed. “The good news is, unlike a phone call, a video call still allows you to display and interpret body language—and that goes both ways,” the firm said. “Just as you would in a face-to-face interview, think about your choice of clothing, your posture and how you hold yourself. Also, keep in mind where your eyes are focused, this means look directly into the camera, as uncomfortable as it may feel. If possible, adjust the conferencing software application so the individual you are talking with appears right below the camera to help you maintain the eye contact.” Most importantly, always be yourself. Expressions, hand gestures and even smiling are all great ways to let others know you are engaged.

And, finally, Kincannon & Reed says to remember to follow up with a quick email thanking everyone for making the effort to connect. “Following these simple tips will help ensure a better outcome and, importantly, will let you know if the person on the other end is someone you want to work with,” the search firm said.

Kincannon & Reed is an executive search firm exclusively focused on food, agribusiness and the related life sciences. Founded in 1981, the company serves clients throughout the world from locations in the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Related: Mastering the Online Interview has Just Taken on New Importance

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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