As a newcomer to Canada it may seem tricky at first to start interviewing remotely. You may think - how do I create an emotional connection, how do I build relationships, how do I get a sense of the company culture and covid response?
An interview process is often your first experience with a company and it’s important to evaluate the company just as they are evaluating you! Look for cues and signs that this will be a safe, welcoming and inclusive place for you to work at and to fulfill your career ambitions.
1. Pre interview homework:
List your accomplishments/achievements and think about the strategy, implementation, and development behind them and the process used to bring about these results. Be ready with stories and with data where it is relevant.
Look through the lens of the prospective boss – what are the most important qualities for the position they are hiring for?
What are the three most important things that the interviewer should take away from the meeting?
2. Research the company and the interview panel Find out as much as you can about the company, their current situation and plans for the future.
Resources include: Crunchbase, Press Releases, other jobs they have posted, YouTube, LinkedIn Company pages, etc
Research your interviewers - this isn’t creepy, it’s expected! LinkedIn profiles, Twitter feeds - anything that is public could be useful.
If you don’t know specifically who you are meeting, find out from the hiring manager so you’re set up for success.
3. Get your technology set up
Prior to your video interview, try out the video conferencing tool you'll be using (Zoom, Webex, Google Meet, etc.) to become comfortable with the tool.
Test out your equipment beforehand to ensure your audio and video are working.
Use headphones during your video interview to minimize distractions.
Find a quiet space for your video interview so there is no difficulty hearing questions and answers.
Be on time for your interview. No need to join early as the virtual interview room might not be open without the host.
4. Appearance & zoom background
Impressions are made in the first few seconds, so lead with the impression that you are confident, and someone who they can imagine in the role. Perhaps that means that you are presentable enough to be in front of customers, or polished enough to be accepted as an expert and leader.
Clothes should be freshly laundered and well pressed. Don't be afraid to show some personality! The most important aspect is to be confident and comfortable.
Your zoom backdrop should be clean and professional. Ensure you have good lighting so your interviewer can see you without difficulty
Remember, you shouldn't stress if something unexpected happens - someone walking into the frame or a dog barking. We are all human and demonstrating how you can smile and roll with a little obstacle is not a bad thing.
5. Tips to hold an engaging conversation
Balance - Finding a natural conversation flow during a video interview may seem difficult. Try to maintain a 50/50 balance between talking and listening.
Presence - Maintain good posture and eye contact with your interviewer by looking at the camera.
Smile and show that you are interested - even if you’re nervous.
Clarify - Reframe open-ended questions and clarify confusing or multi-angled questions. Focus on what the interviewer would like to know about specifically.
Stay Positive - avoid speaking negatively about your current situation, current manager or boss, or working environment.
6. Practise your story
When we get nervous, we tend to start monitoring ourselves. Since you’ll be able to see your own image as you’re talking during the interview, you’re likely to get distracted and could lose your train of thought. Practise your story in front of the mirror beforehand to get familiar with yourself, use the STAR method to map out a story - Situation, Task, Action, Result.
Be yourself! It’s important to be authentic, an interview can be a bit nerve wracking at first but as you ease into it be real, be curious and don’t forget to have fun! Hiring managers are human too and they feed off your energy and interest.
7. Contextualize your experience
Just as you did for your resume, contextualize your international experience to make it more relevant to a Canadian audience. Give examples with a local context - like you worked as a Product Manager at Upgrad, the Coursera of India that raised X amount, is backed by VC’s like… and went through Z ARR growth while you were there.
8. Convey warmth
We’re all driven by connection and the desire to be surrounded by people that are positive, open and curious. Warmth is a language that translates across cultures and leaves your interviewers with a little “I met someone awesome” glow. Even if this role doesn’t end up being the right fit for you, chances are they will reach out to you down the line when something more aligned comes up.
9. Company crisis response
We’re living in an evolving world and it’s important to get the company’s thoughts on vaccination policies, in office requirements and culture, covid response, what’s mandatory and what isn’t when it comes to attending in person events. Communicate your comfort level and what you’re open to when it comes to spending time in the office, travel etc.
10. Ask questions!
Asking questions shows that you’re interested in the company and the role, it also gives hiring managers insight into how you approach things. Here are some questions we recommend:
How do you measure success for the company? And more specifically for this team and role?
What would my key responsibilities be and how are these prioritized?
What are the biggest challenges one will face in this role?
What are a few of the important problems or opportunities that need to be addressed in the first six months?
Why is this company positioned to succeed and what are the biggest challenges as you look to grow and evolve?
Why do you (the interviewer) love working here? Why did you take the job and what keeps you excited?
What are the common characteristics of individuals who are exceptional in this company? How do you identify a great culture fit?
I'm really interested in this role. What can I expect as a next step?