Figuring out if a role is right for you when interviewing remotely requires research and asking the right questions, writes Hays’ Marc Burrage.
Whether you’re interviewing remotely or face-to-face, it can be hard to judge if an opportunity is really the right one for you. You might wonder if your skillset and future goals align with the role, whether or not it’s financially viable, or how it will help you progress further.
Of course, all of these things are incredibly important. But, when it comes down to it, you’ll often get a gut feeling. Your intuition will help you decide whether the opportunity is the right one for you.
It’s much easier for that instinct to kick in when you’re interviewing face-to-face. However, it is possible to do it remotely if you keep these six things in mind.
1. Do your research
Analyse the language used in the organisation’s job adverts. What can it tell you about what it might be like to work there? Is the language they use inclusive, accessible and relaxed? Are the role responsibilities clear, focused and succinct? Reading between the lines of job descriptions can really help you build a clearer picture of the opportunity than what you might realise.
It’s also essential that you review the organisation’s website, finding out more about its vision and purpose to see how well they align with your values. Visit its YouTube channel too; many organisations will create videos that will give prospective employees an idea of what it might be like to work there.
Other techniques you can use include reading Glassdoor reviews and searching Google News for any recent news coverage. Aside from scrolling through its social media channels, it’s also a great idea to research current employees on LinkedIn as their activity may give you clues into their company culture.
If your recruiter or the hiring manager sends you any company material, such as blogs or reports, ahead of your remote interview, be sure to read them.
2. Try to learn more about the company culture
Keep a lookout during your remote job interview for any other clues about the company’s culture. Is there anything about the interviewer’s background or environment on the video call that indicates what it would be like to work there? Or anything that gives you a feel for what it would be like to have that person as your manager?
If they’re in the office, what is the design and branding like? Or perhaps they’re at home where you can see and hear their children – demonstrating their flexible and relaxed approach.
3. Pick the right questions to ask
Remember that all interviews, whether they are conducted in person or remotely, are a two-way process. They don’t just give the interviewer the chance to find out more about your suitability for the role, but they also give you the chance to assess the role’s suitability for you.
Therefore, the questions you ask the interviewer and the answers they give, especially during a remote interview, can be extremely valuable in helping you to decide if this is the right opportunity for you.
There are certain questions about the role, team, interviewer, company and learning and development opportunities that will give you a better idea of what it would be like to work there. You could ask your interviewer to explain a typical day in the role, or how they define success.
It’s also worth thinking about whether you’d like to ask the interviewer questions surrounding Covid-19. These can give an insight into the company’s key learnings from the pandemic and how it supports its employees.
4. Assess your potential new boss
During the interview, analyse your potential manager’s communication skills. As your interview progresses, assess their clarity of thought, how they communicate their expectations for the role and for the successful candidate, and whether they seem to be listening to you. This will give you an idea of what it would be like to work with them.
Do you think this communication style would suit you and help you form a strong relationship? Be mindful, too, of the language used when your questions are answered, and throughout the interview. If they use ‘I’ rather than ‘we’ when speaking, that could suggest a non-collaborative approach.
Also assess whether the interview feels more like a conversation than an interrogation. If it feels natural and almost effortless, and the two of you seem to share many of the same motivations and values when it comes to your career and the workplace, then these are signs that you would get on well.
5. Pay attention to body language
While this is not as easy to do remotely as it would be in a face-to-face interview, it is still possible. After all, you can see whether or not the interviewer is smiling while you’re speaking, as well as what their posture is like and whether their arms are crossed or open. The interviewer’s gestures and vocal pitch can also tell you a lot about how invested they are in you as a candidate.
In fact, communication expert Mark Bowden shared some really valuable advice with me on reading your interviewer’s body language. “Watch for big changes in body language when you are speaking to the interviewer, rather than individual gestures,” he said.”
“If you see anything that stands out as very different in the interviewer’s posture, face, movement or behaviour, then ask them what their thoughts are on what you have been saying. This helps you check in on the significance from their perspective of what you are saying. It may give you a good opportunity to better understand how well your ideas, views or even personality fit with theirs as well as that of the organisation.”
6. Take some time to reflect
Assess how your interview process, from start to finish, has been handled. Does the company appear to be well organised? Are you, as a candidate, at the centre of the process? Has communication and feedback been prompt and detailed?
All of these things, paired with your knowledge and experience of the company to date, are signals as to whether it’s the right opportunity for you.
By Marc Burrage
Marc Burrage is managing director of Hays Poland. A version of this article previously appeared on the Hays Viewpoint blog.