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Preparing for online interviews and remote working

As the world changes to social distancing, here are some pointers for employees to think about

Not so long ago you might well have had a stage or two of the job interview process conducted online and considered asking if you could work some of your week from home, but now that employers and interviewees have had to adapt to the world of social distancing, it’s all change and here are some pointers to think about.

  • Check what kind of software your interview will be conducted in, download it well in advance and have a practice session, perhaps with your recruitment consultant, to make sure it is working properly. This is a good opportunity to test that your camera and microphone are working correctly.
  • Make sure your backdrop does you credit, or at least won’t cause you embarrassment. Does it convey the professional set-up you want it to or have you got a month’s worth of ironing piled up in view? Tip: ensure that there won’t be any screaming toddlers, loud washing machines on a spin cycle or barking dogs close by that will create background noise on the day.
  • Ignore those who say you only need to be dressed for an interview from the waist up and make sure you are in business attire from top to bottom. The last thing you want is to have to get up and cross the room for some unavoidable reason, only for the interviewer to get an eyeful of your pyjama bottoms. Or worse.

In the current climate, starting a new job while working from home is going to be a necessity for many people in the healthcare communications industry and while some of us are used to and enjoy working from hom, for many it has been a baptism of fire. Clearly this subject is inevitably going to come up at interview.

“We’re fortunate in that we’re still hiring for a variety of roles. We’re not looking for anything different for these roles in terms of skills and experience than we were before the country started self-isolating,” said Stacey Stoba at W2O. “All we ask is that potential employees are set up with decent wifi and room for a suitable work station. Despite starting the role at home, we ensure our new starters continue to have a thorough induction, booking virtual coffee meetings so they can meet the team and introduce themselves via our all-agency video call, allowing everyone to put names to new faces. We also have a thriving Workplace community that contains fun posts to help connect into the wider global team. It’s certainly a different induction but we’ve adapted quickly to ensure no step is missed.”

Like many employers, W2O will courier IT kit to new employees so they are properly set up in time for their start date and virtual induction.

As an interviewee, you would be well advised to check that a new employer can provide the technological support you need: will they pay for you to get wifi if you don’t already have it, for example? Ask about the virtual induction process, when it happens, who conducts it and what is involved, as well as making sure you know what sort of access to management you will have once you start: will you have a daily call with your line manager and regular team updates, will senior managements be involved too, etc? Find out what your employer’s expectations are and make sure they are realistic, so that you are not pushed into working beyond acceptable hours. And finally, make sure you have a clear understanding of what happens when all this is over, whether you will be office-based five days a week or still home-based some or all of the time, as it is important to get these things discussed up front.

If you are looking to hire staff and conducting interviews right now, Rupert Wallis, MD at Media Contacts said it is important to explore a person’s time management skills and find out if they have any previous experience of working remotely. What is their self discipline and self motivation like, have they got examples to back up their assertions and have they demonstrated flexibility in general in the past? You might also want to check that their living arrangements are not going to cause untenable distractions. “Think about target setting and how you are going to measure whether a day’s work has been successful or not,” said Rupert. “Ask them what they believe the difficulties of working from home might be and see whether they are self-aware enough to have thought it through.

Article by
Julia Walton, Director, Media Contacts

8th April 2020

From: Marketing

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