You’ve been invited to interview… congratulations! With up to 3000 applications per role this is particularly significant and very exciting. This is time to celebrate — yes! Celebrate! — and to crack on some pretty serious prep so you can contribute to the interview, not just respond to the questions of the hiring manager or hiring team.
Whatever the format or structure of the interview, whether it’s audio or video and whether you’re familiar with the platform of communication or not, how well you prepare for the first interview will feed your energy & their perception of you as a future remote teammate.
Prepare like a mofo and bring contagious confidence to the next round of the hiring process. In this episode of Thriving Empire podcast we’ll talk about:
- Why the first interview is sometimes the 4th or 5th stage of the hiring process
- How to confidently & spontaneously talk about the company, vision & mission in answer to every interview question
- How to master their choice of communication platform, whether you’ve used it before or not.
Get the Podcast Study Pack 3 and receive a worksheet, guide or checklist workbook for every episode, so you can make your remote career & transition a reality ASAP.
Your application was received, read, LIKED! and you’ve made it to the short list!
Even though there might be a few stages in-between, once you get an invitation to interview everything switches gear and it becomes a lot more personal. Until that point you’re just a name and bunch of qualifications on a page — maybe even a 3min video if you included that as part of your application — but now YOU will be front and centre and you get the chance to suss each other out for opportunity and fit. Finding the perfect role is about YOU choosing the role, not just waiting to be chosen.
And just quickly…
… what do I mean by ‘stages in-between’?
Well, there seems to be a lot more stages to jump through these days before you get an invitation to interview. A while back I got through three rounds of questions & quizzes with a company before the Coronavirus hit and they decided to put the role in hold for a while. After the initial application they sent an email with 10 follow up questions which they requested a response to in 48 hrs. Just in case you’re wondering, here’s what they asked:
- What was the most successful campaign or project you ever worked on? What made it so successful?
- From start to finish, describe your process for launching a new campaign.
- How do you leverage the latest tools and technologies to produce the best results?
- Please share your ideas on how to execute a successful Evergreen Funnel.
- How do you structure your workday, particularly as it pertains to working virtually?
- Are your hours of availability restricted to specific times of the day? Would they fluctuate day-to-day, week-to-week?
- How do you approach and combat challenges of managing projects and communicating with team members remotely?
- How do you handle team members that are missing deadlines?
- Are you able to commit to and attend a regularly scheduled weekly 90-minute meeting on Mondays at 10a EST without fail?
- How many hours per week are you currently working (with clients, within your own business)?
As you can see they’re quite detailed and require thoughtful responses. Once I got through that round they invited me to the next stage in their process: a free Myers Briggs assessment, the results of which quite frankly were ridiculous and led me to questions the company’s approach to hiring and perhaps other aspects of their approach to business. But that’s another story.
Regardless, once you’ve progressed through all the stages and finally been invited to interview, celebrate and get ready!
There are 3 steps to prep, one is making sure you’ve done some great research about the company so you can liberally, spontaneously & flawlessly pepper the conversation with your intel about their business, market & mission, another is making sure you feel super comfortable and confident with the comms platform you’ll be speaking to them on, whether it’s Zoom or BlueJeans of something else, and the third is preparing right questions to bring to the conversation that demonstrate you’re an ideal remote candidate, which we’ll cover in the next episode or this one would be way tooooo long!
Ok, so let’s get started.
Step 1: Do Thorough Research
What research do you need to do before the interview? Back in Ep #68: 10 Things To Do Before You Apply To A Remote Company I recommended doing a number of things before you even apply to make sure it’s the right career opportunity and culture fit for you, so head back to the episode for more detail and I’ll summarise right here (and it is really just a 20-min scan tho it sounds like a lot at first):
Head over to the company website:
- Look at their about page and look for their story
- Navigate around their website
- Look at their careers page
- Look at their blog
- Check out their media page – if they have one
- Check out customer reviews
- Buy their product or service
- Head over to the company page on LinkedIn
- Check out their social media
Essentially you’re looking to go back to those areas with a slightly deeper dive and take more notes so you can begin to formulate questions & draw your answers from what you know about the company when you’re answering theirs in interview.
You want to make sure you have a clear handle on the following (or being able to ask questions that clarify the following if it’s unclear, showing that you’re super interested in understanding more about them and what they’re trying to do:
- Company values, vision, mission
- What they say in the media & how they’re spoken about by the media & their audience
- Read their blog, note down questions or significant news you can mention
- Check bios and LinkedIn profile of interviewers, note down commonalities
- Culture fit, culture add, careers page etc, look at their blog posts, company culture articles etc
I usually spend about an hour on this step pre-interview. Then you’re ready for…
Step 2: Prepare the tech!
The hiring manager will clearly specify details of the call including who will be present, what format or structure it will take, how long it will last and what platform, system or tool you’ll be using for the call.
There are so many, and many you’ll be familiar with and some you will not be familiar with, but all good, you’re going to practice whether you’re familiar with the tool or not. Complacency is NOT your friend.
Whether it’s an audio call or video call:
- Think about where you’re going to do the call, and I recommend doing it where you’ll be working anyway when you have the job. That’s so you can see how easy it is to use where you intend to work, as this will be the platform they use for all calls & meetings company-wide (it’s very rare that this is not the case). You’ll also see how your bandwidth stands up to this platform usage and whether you need to get a boost from your interview provider.
- Download the system or tool ASAP, don’t leave it ‘til the last minute. You may have download issues, or need to clean your laptop to make space etc.
- Check the system requirements so you make sure you have the right bandwidth. E.g. Zoom System Requirements are as follows: Minimum bandwidth is 600kbps (up/down) and recommended is 1.5 Mbps (up/down). Check your Internet bandwidth using Speedtest. Which you can download as an app on your phone or as a web app on your laptop.
- Practice. Practice with your Mum, with a friend. Make sure you can run an audio or video call easily and flawlessly from start to finish. Make sure you’re visible and audible. Simple but so easy to get wrong on the call.
If you’re preparing for a video call:
- Design your background. Tidy up. Make sure it represents you (which is a problem if you’re messy but anyway!), think about what you want/ don’t want in the background that represents who you are and what you’re like to work with.
- Light yourself up. Make sure you can be easily seen. Don’t hide in a dark corner. Be visible, well lit. If you don’t have a window in front of you and behind you, make sure you have a blue hue lightbulb in a lamp in front of you so you can be clearly seen.
- Make an effort to look your best. Wash your face, highlight your best features (video is supremely unforgiving), brush & floss your teeth, wear your best clothes. Iron your shirt if you’re wearing one, accessorise,… give them a real experience of who they’ll be working with. This matters. It all contributes to the experience of what it will be like working with you.
And then you’re ready for…
Step 3: questions to ask in a remote interview, which we’ll talk about in the next episode!
I hope this helps you confidently & diligently prepare for your audio or video interview. Crack open the checklist & notepad — called worksheet 22 — in the podcast study pack.
If you don’t have the podcast pack yet don’t worry, head over here to get your copy there.
That’s it from me this week. See you next week on Thriving Empire Live!
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