This guide does NOT offer advice on the choice or use of different IT programs. The principal systems currently in use are Zoom and Skype for Business. Information on these programs is abundantly available.
This guide concentrates on the way in which candidates can most efficiently deploy their professional skills in communication and persuasion in the new working environment.
It aims to distill existing experience into a set of principles that we hope will enable everyone to approach a remote interview with confidence and do their job effectively.
It is, of course, acknowledged that not everyone will have multiple devices, additional IT equipment or a private home office during ‘lockdown’ and candidates may therefore need
to adapt this advice to best fit their circumstances.
Understand the Software that you will use:
- Test the technology before the interview, including the camera, microphone and sound settings.
- Know how to turn the camera on and off, how to mute the microphone and to adjust the volume.
- Be aware that sometimes the camera/video can be turned off by the interviewer and the sound muted by default when you join a hearing electronically.
- Decide how many screens you intend to use during the hearing. You may use two screens: one for video connection and one for notes and prompts.
- Join the interview in good time before it is due to start to resolve any technological issues.
- If something does go wrong (the interviewer drops offline, for instance, or some connection fails) pause until it is sorted out.
- There are some distractions, like people joining and leaving calls, that you may have to ignore. But you should not be afraid, if that happens, to go back and repeat a point or a question.
- Should the technological problem concern the internet or Wi-Fi connection, it is helpful to have an alternative method of communication that is not reliant on either like 4G.
- If there is a technical failure that cannot be fixed send an email to the interviewer and explain the situation.
Prepare yourself and your room/office for the interview.
Avoid setting your device to the highest volume, since this is likely to cause feedback when you are speaking.
- Maintain eye contact with the camera. This will ensure you appear to be looking at your audience.
- The thumbnail image of the person you are speaking to may be at the bottom of the screen when the camera on your device is above the screen.
If so, this will give the appearance that you are looking down or away from your audience.
- Ensure that you are clearly visible by maintaining a reasonable distance from the camera, to show your head and upper body.
Too close and your image may blur and fill the screen, too far and you will appear distant and detached from the hearing.
- Some cameras zoom in and out depending on the movement of the subject. This should be avoided.
- Advise everyone to be mindful if using Skype for Business, that the camera records a wider area than one sees on one’s own screen.
- If you are using the camera on your laptop, typing will be visible to participants and may cause the camera (and your image) to shake.
- Remember that others are watching even if you cannot see them.
In cases involving multiple participants, thumbnail video images may appear on screen, but these thumbnails often move off-screen to allow participants to see the face of the person talking.
- Observers may also be present. As such, often there are people present at the interview who are not visible.
- Ensure that you are well lit by natural or artificial light. Avoid sitting with your back to a window or other light source. This can result in only your silhouette appearing on screen.
- Ensure that your background is appropriate for a hearing. A neutral background is best.
- Avoid revealing personal or distracting items, such as photographs, ornaments and paintings. The camera may show more of the room than you expect.
- Close the door to the room in which you are appearing. This will prevent unwanted visitors, sights, and sounds from interfering with the interview. This and the use of the mute button will suppress the noise of coughs, sneezes, doorbells, coffee machines, dishwashers, dogs barking, typing, the rustling of papers etc.
- Dress professionally
- Limit yourself to a glass of water as you would when appearing in an actual interview.
- Organize your workspace carefully in advance. Clear it of anything that is not related to the hearing.
- As far as you can, turn off or close any communications channels that are not related to the hearing you are conducting(email, SKIS, WhatsApp etc).