The Changing Best Practices for Job Interviewing in 2021

The global pandemic has expedited the transition to remote-based employment at a rapid base, promoting ease of access in finding work on a national or even global scale. To accommodate this transition, candidates are required to adapt to a multitude of new expectations. Whether this means harnessing remote interview skills or revamping a remote workspace to accommodate the lifestyle, that evolution is not without a number of obstacles to overcome.

“There has been a marked increase in demand for preparation services that help job seekers with digital and virtual aspects of the job search process,” said Ryan Miller, Client Success Manager at Employment BOOST. “Job seekers are realizing that interviewing for a work-from-home job is different from a traditional office job, and hiring managers are expecting different things nowadays.”

Remote Hiring Practices

When searching for remote opportunities, it is important to leverage job boards that specifically cater to remote positions. It is important to utilize candidate pools of employers looking for remote work, ensuring alignment to expectations of the position immediately. Some of these sites include FlexJobs, WeWorkRemotely, and As the candidate pool expands to a national, possibly international scale, competition for these positions rises alongside it. As an ideal remote employee, promote your ability to learn quickly, leverage strong communication skills, and perform in a self-motivated fashion. Showing prior remote work experience is an added bonus to potential employers.

Alongside your job search documents, like your resume and cover letter, many employers are requiring pre-employment testing to accommodate a lack of face-to-face interaction throughout the hiring process. Aptitude tests are increasingly popular, as candidates with high cognitive aptitude tend to learn quicker, communicate better, and are more adaptable. All of these traits are valuable in a remote employee. Personality tests also can aid in determining how a candidate will fit within the dynamic of the team. Objective data harnessed by these assessments alongside a resume and virtual interview streamlines the recruitment process in finding the best fit for the position.

Virtual Interviewing Tips

Locating remote opportunities and aligning your documents and skills to fill these roles is only half of the process. Remote interviewing is a novel experience in comparison to face-to-face interactions.

The setting in which you complete your virtual interview is the first step toward success. Ensure you are in a quiet location where you won’t be interrupted, and background noise will be at a minimum. Additionally, position yourself with a plain, neutral-colored background wall to avoid distractions and outside lighting. It is important to be in a well-lit area. Bright light from behind will distort the video or make it difficult for the interviewer(s) to see you. The best result will come from light that is above or in front of you.

Finally, dress for success. Show the interviewer(s) you are prepared by making sure you are fully dressed in business professional wear. It is always better to be overdressed than underdressed and showing that you put time and effort into your appearance will go a long way.

Technical details are another important factor to virtual interviewing. Position your camera to be looking straight-on. If needed, use books or a laptop stand to position your computer at the necessary height to make eye contact with the interviewer. You can utilize the preview function on most video conferencing platforms to see how you appear to others and adjust accordingly. Additionally, test your audio ahead of time. Ensure your microphone and speakers are set to the proper level for both talking and listening. Headphones are a great option for helping to cut out background noise and may help the interviewer to hear you more clearly. To remove any anxiety, try a test call with a family member or friend prior to the interview to check angle, volume, lighting, and internet connection.

Aside from visual and technical details, there are a number of additional etiquette points to consider. First, body language is crucial during video interviews. Maintain eye contact, good posture, and a smile as you would in a typical face-to-face conversation. Second, use the mute button when you’re not speaking. This will minimize feedback and background noise that could interrupt the interviewer(s).

Lastly, if at any point the internet connection is weak, politely ask to hang up and reconnect to avoid miscommunication or delays in the conversation.

As an employer, these suggestions still hold true. Taking time to ensure proper visual and technical details aid the candidate experience. While you are determining the fit of the candidate, the candidate is deciding whether this is a proper fit, as well.

“An interesting trend we’ve noticed since the start of the pandemic is hiring teams paying more attention to behavioral aspects of a candidate’s background,” says Kristen Fowler, Practice Lead at Clarke Caniff Strategic Search. “In many ways, the current job market is more competitive because organizations are no longer restricted by geography when finding a new hire, they can look across the entire country and choose the best person for the job.”

The shift if professional dynamics demands the alteration of recruitment processes. On either side of the interviewing process, changes must be implemented to keep up with the changing environment. Between technical upgrades and a shift in candidate and opportunity preferences, the hiring dynamic is sure to see drastic changes as remote positions continue to emerge.

About the Author: Kane Carpenter is the Director of Marketing for Clarke Caniff Strategic Search. In this role, he is responsible for driving market awareness across the entire JMJ Phillip Holdings portfolio of companies. Kane is also Director for Daggerfinn, an employer branding, digital marketing, and strategic growth consultancy.