On Monday, July 6 at 7 p.m., Student Organization hosted a virtual workshop with consultant Tony Parrales, president of Parrales Consulting LLC and a Kean University alumnus, covering strategies for successful interviews, including remote interviews, particularly vital to recent and upcoming graduates in an increasingly distanced workforce. The workshop was conducted, appropriately, on Zoom.
After an introduction, Parrales addressed a group of eager and attentive guests with a presentation outlining different kinds of interviewing and recommended tactics for preparation and performance. In addition to preparing for company pre-screenings and various testing and interviews of many styles, it is critical that prospective applicants also have a strong sense of the company and position they are applying for. Before anything else, hopeful applicants should understand their own professional expertise, strengths and weaknesses, and how they would fit in an organization.
For every sort of interview - in-person or remote, telephone or webcam, one-on-one or group, and so on - research, familiarity with one's own resume, practicing answers to potential questions, and staying calm and focused are invaluable methods of preparation. In remote interviews, the importance of keeping professional surroundings and dressing appropriately (in spite of not connecting in person) to keep an applicant's mindset professional and project a professional aesthetic and mindset cannot be understated.
Preparing for simple (but unexpectedly critical) technological accommodations, like using headphones, and removing sources of background noise; similarly, keeping your resume and cover letter within reach can be incredibly useful as a reservoir of information. Becoming as familiar as possible with your tech and the program used to host the interview, then testing your headset, computer, phone or other tech before an interview is useful advice, too.
Prospective employers are concerned with applicants' personalities as well as their expertise, and this is only magnified in the remote interview process, where an applicant's charisma, attentiveness and focus can help set them apart even more than under normal circumstances, because it is not as easy to connect socially when remote, in the absence of body language and other gauges. That said, success factors like adaptive nature, leadership, communication and planning are pretty universal.
A great deal of remote interviewing involves disciplining oneself as a prospective employee, to treat the interview process the same way one might in person. It can be difficult to associate remote conversation with a traditional, professional setting, so everything from wardrobe to research questions is of the utmost importance to compensate for this distinction.
Parrales concluded by answering a series of pertinent questions from guests.
Parrales Consulting LLC offers a variety of advisement and consultation services, including seminars in professional and personal development, connecting the workforce across generations, leadership, communication and compliance training.
Student Organization continues to host a variety of remote events during the summer to provide the Kean community the same social and learning extra-curricular opportunities they're used to. On July 16, they will host an Online Scavenger Hunt, followed by a workshop titled "Negotiating Needs and Overcoming Conflict" on July 20. More information about these events and others like them from Student Organization can be found on Cougar Link.