Setting the tone in the virtual interview is becoming more important than ever before. With the transition into heavily saturated remote-work landscape, it is seemingly difficult to come into a new organization without meeting co-workers face-to-face. We have outlined key factors to remember when participating in a virtual interview.
Dressing professionally creates a businesslike atmosphere which will convey your commitment to professionalism and shows that you take the interview process seriously. Dress as you would in an office environment, no sweats[SK1] ! We have seen many advertisements about professional tops, but sweatpants on the bottom. While this is all too relevant these days, dressing head to toe as you would for an in-person interview will help you feel confident in the interview.
Act as if it is an in-person interview
Virtual interviews can seem more casual than in-person interviews, but they shouldn’t. Turn off your phone and computer notifications, log onto your computer early from a quiet location in your home to avoid distractions. Use professional language, including body language, and make eye contact with the person interviewing you.
Prepare ahead of time
Come to the interview prepared. Just because you are on a computer doesn’t mean you can look up answers to questions that might come up. Do research about the company ahead of time on their website, social media platforms, Glassdoor, etc. to know their mission, vision, culture, and product/services. Remember, you are also interviewing the company, make sure you feel like it is an environment where you could thrive. Whoever is conducting the interview has the hard task of conveying company culture through a computer screen. Therefore, know what is important to you regarding an organization’s culture and prepare questions ahead of time to ensure it is a match for what you are looking for. In addition to understanding the role and responsibilities, if this position is remote, you may want to ask additional questions such as:
- What is the remote work policy?
- How much of the team is working remotely?
- What is the on-boarding process for a remote employee?
- How do you keep employees motivated and engaged in a remote environment?
- What is the remote culture like? Are there “virtual team bonding” activities to get to know co-workers?
Practice ahead of time
Rehearse, Rehearse and Rehearse again. One advantage to the virtual setting is you can put sticky notes on your computer or behind it for high-level reference points, but do not rely solely on your notes to avoid sounding rehearsed or as if you are reading. You know you will be asked to “tell us about yourself” so prepare a 2-minute overview on who you are, your career path and how it applies to the opportunity, and any other skills you have that are relevant. This is your time to tell the interviewers more than what they can read on your resume.
Practicing in a mirror is always a good option, but for a virtual interview invite a friend or family member to practice with you, virtually. This will allow you to be comfortable talking on camera. A lot of people get hung up on where to look when in a virtual meeting, so practice in the virtual environment.
Prepare your technology ahead of time
We have all encountered a technical “glitch” or Wi-Fi issue; you can limit the risk by testing ahead of time. Log onto your computer, make sure it is plugged in, test speakers and microphone, test the video conference application, download any necessary drivers, etc. During the interview, only have the video conference application running to avoid any possible issues. If something were to happen know who to call as a backup.
Interviews can be nerve-wracking without the added pressure of technology. However, as remote work becomes the new way of conducting business, it is important to master how to present yourself via webcam. If nothing else, remember to treat a virtual interview as if you are in-person.
If you are a recruiter or hiring manager, stay tuned for part two where we discuss the virtual interview from the hiring perspective.