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10 Tips for Successful Long Distance Interviewing
Hcareers / SEPTEMBER 13 2021

According to a LinkedIn® Hiring Report, overall hiring in the recreation and travel industries has shot up 51.4% since the pre-COVID levels of February 2020. In New Mexico, the New Mexico Restaurant Association even launched a campaign to get people interested in working in the restaurant and hospitality industry.

Given this rapid increase, those seeking hospitality jobs are well-positioned to find a place where their skills may be a fit.

However, as a result of the pandemic, the popularity of virtual interviews also climbed sharply and is likely to continue post-pandemic. When it comes time for you to interview remotely with a prospective employer, here are four success tips to consider beforehand: 

1. Check your internet connectivity

Once you’ve confirmed the interview appointment, go online to test your technology. Most computers already have a camera and microphone installed in them. If not, look into purchasing a mini webcam with a built-in microphone. Then, go online and test your equipment to be sure it works before the interview takes place. If your WiFi is unreliable, connect your device via a local area network (LAN) using an ethernet cable.

2. Find a quiet spot free of distractions

You want the interviewer to focus on you, not your surroundings. If you have children, roommates, or pets, choose a room where you won’t be interrupted and let those in your household know that you’ll need some quiet time. 

If there’s a window in the room, be sure it’s in front of you because if it’s behind you, you’ll look like a dark silhouette. Have either a blank wall or one with a few pictures behind you. Avoid clutter around you as you want to come across as an organized professional.

3. Dress for success

As Will Rogers said, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Act as if you’re actually going to the company’s office and wear appropriate attire for the remote interview. In addition to making a good impression, being well-dressed conveys confidence as well as respect.

4. Do your homework

You probably did some research on the company before you applied for the position in question. Didn’t you? If you made some notes, keep them nearby but don’t read directly from them.

Doing your homework ahead of time also refers to practicing what you’ll say during the interview. If they ask, “Why do you want to work here?”, how would you respond? This doesn’t mean you need to memorize what you’ll say. Practicing simply helps you come across as knowledgeable, less nervous, and more enthusiastic.

If you know who will be conducting the interview, see what you can learn about him/her (i.e., LinkedIn® is a great tool for this). If you have some common interests, talking about them during your interview gives you the opportunity to build rapport and connect on a deeper level.

You Made It to the Next Round

Congrats! The company wants to move forward with another interview, but now they want to meet you in person. Perhaps that’s going to require traveling out of town. If so, you need to plan for the interview as well as planning your travel.

Here are six helpful tips to guide you.

1. Determine your travel expense

Is the company paying your way or will you have to make the investment? Best to know the answer right off the bat so you can plan your budget accordingly.

2. Who is booking the travel?

Similar to knowing who is covering the cost, you’ll need to know whether or not the company is making your travel reservations or they expect you to do so. If you’re asked to book your own travel – and they’re going to reimburse you – be economical, not extravagant.

3. Schedule your time wisely

Allow for more time than you think you’ll need to get there. For instance, whether you’re flying, taking a bus/train, or driving yourself, avoid possible travel delays by arriving the day/night before your interview. Showing up late to an interview (whether in-person or virtual) is a surefire way to start out on the wrong foot. 

Arriving a day before gives you time to unwind and therefore, feel less stressed. It also gives you the opportunity to get acquainted with the area, housing options, schools, shopping, etc.

4. Practice

As you would with a virtual interview, practice your responses to frequently asked interview questions such as “tell me about yourself,” “what are your strengths/weaknesses?”, etc. Think about responses or stories that highlight your skills and talents.

5. Outline questions you want to ask

Just like a company wants to see if you are a good fit for them, you want to know if they’re a good fit for you. What questions might you ask to help you make that determination? Do you want more details about the role you’ll play, the work environment, company values, etc.? Having your own list of questions shows you’re interested and prepared.

6. Plan to stay an extra day

If you shine during your interview and you’re asked to return, having a 2nd day already planned in your itinerary makes it easy for you to accommodate their request.

Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up

“Diligent follow-up and follow-through will set you apart from the crowd and communicate excellence.” ~ John C. Maxwell

Follow-up is essential, regardless of the results. After a virtual and/or in-person interview, go the extra mile and send not only, an email “thank you,” but a handwritten one. You might find that a handwritten note is one thing that sets you apart from your competition. 

In addition to sayings “thanks,” refer to something that was discussed during your interview – be it professional or personal. It shows you paid attention and adds to the connection you’re nurturing. You’ll be glad you did when you get that call saying, “you’re hired.”

These ten tips are highlighted here to help you prepare, decrease your stress, and boost your confidence as you get ready for an upcoming career opportunity. Good luck as you move forward with pursuing your new dream job.