All interviews have gone remote - how do you know if you're doing well?
The current ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruptions to the global economy, forcing many countries to lockdown their citizens and closing businesses. Inevitably, the job hiring process has also been heavily disrupted by the volatile situation.
And in the light of the "new normal" of social distancing, traditional face-to-face interviews are no longer a valid option for hiring managers. Increasingly, recruiters will resort to using remote and virtual platforms such as Skype, Hangout or Zoom to conduct their interviews. That makes it harder to rely just on your "gut feeling" about how the process is going.
So- which signs can you still rely on? How do you know if things are headed in the right direction during your virtul interview?
The office tour
The traditional office tour to show you where your desk is or where you can go for a coffee break, meant to help you visualize your typical day in the office is no longer an option. Usually, an office tour is a good sign that you are in the running for the job as the recruiter is also trying to help you make a good first impression with your potential colleagues and understand the company culture.
Eye contact as a good sign
Maintaining eye contact as a good sign, however, is not as reliable in a virtual interview as it is difficult for anyone to look directly into the camera and not the screen for a prolonged period of time. An incoming email or reminder might divert the recruiter’s eye away from the camera and give you the wrong impression that they're not interested. (when in fact, you might be a finalist for the job)
Look out for the right body language and facial expression.
It is rather challenging to notice the right body language over video. But something to pay attention to, and great signs to look for, is when the recruiter is leaning forward towards you when you speak or begins to mimic the way you sit over a virtual interview.
Since you're limited in what you can see on video- shift your focus to the face. of the interviewer. Watch out for facial expressions such as a smile or a nod of the head when you are responding to the recruiter’s questions.
Team members meetup to team project discussion
Like the office tour, the act of physically pulling potential team members into the interview room to meet you is now impossible. However, it is a good sign if you're offered follow-up video calls aimed at meeting team members at the end of the interview. The recruiter probably feels strongly about you and wants to validate with the team before an offer.
You might be invited to join the team in an on-going project discussion to gauge cultural fit. Here, the hiring manager would probably introduce you to the team virtually and would invite you to provide your input from time to time. This is increasingly common in virtual interviews nowadays.
From more interviews to more psychometric assessments
Most big tech companies would require you to undergo at least one logical or technical design challenge once you have passed through the first round. If you do well enough in those challenges, you would be invited for an onsite loop, heavily designed around gaging cultural fit. However, in the current hiring process, the follow up second or third interviews could be replaced by additional psychometric assessments; such as personality questionnaire. This is still a positive sign that the company is interested and usually one. of the last steps.
More interview questions on "ability to work independently"
In these crazy times, companies are looking for people who do well with minimal direction and almost no supervision. So, if the hiring manager is interested in you, expect to get asked more questions in these areas. Remember to provide concrete examples for any behavioral based questions - you will also get bonus points for having routines or frameworks you can share with the interviewer.
Recruiter starts to talk about the pay package and perks
When the recruiter begins to talk about the pay package and benefits + perks, chances are you have the job in the bag. Reason being, the recruiter is attempting to fit you within their budget. You may be asked to give them a salary range - something you should avoid to maintain your leverage in negotiation later.
The hiring manager asking for a start date
A surefire sign that the hiring manager is keen for you to come onboard- they will ask about your availability and start date. This is not something the hiring manager would bring up unless they are serious about onboarding you.
Recruiters asking for references
A reference check is highly indicative of the end of a successful job interview. It's a great sign that you are their top contender! This is normally the final but yet critical step of the hiring process - make sure you have a few folks ready for the company to call. Background checks are usually only extended when a hiring decision is made - you should be seeing a formal offer soon and it's just a waiting game before you can start your new job.
In the current state of business, virtual interviews are the new normal as more and more companies are transiting to the Work From Home (WFM). Your recruiter could be calling you from the comfort of her home or from the basement of his house. Do not be surprised, if the job interview ends with a private tour of your recruiter’s home; and now that’s another great sign that the job is in the bag, virtually :)
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