I started my recruiting journey during the pandemic, so I never got the pleasure of conducting in-person interviews. In a remote heavy, virtual job market successfully navigating virtual interviews can help set you apart from other job seekers. Here are 5 tips to stand out!
1. Whenever possible, enter the meeting room early and familiarize yourself with the platform. Locate the chat, screen share feature, mute, and camera buttons. This will help you share anything you need to and help the interview go smoothly. This will also allow for some buffer time, just in case you have issues logging in. Recently a hiring manager that I work with did an interview with a candidate. The candidate entered the room early and got comfortable with the controls. This allowed for the interview to run smoothly, and the hiring manager was impressed enough to extend an offer. Minimizing communication errors during the interview will lead to a better experience for all.
2. Try your best to create a calm and distraction-free environment where you are going to do the interview. A great option is a quiet room with good lighting and minimal distractions. A strong internet connection will also help the experience run smoothly. Life happens so don’t stress if the dog barks or kid asks a question but do what you can to limit interruptions. If something does happen though, do not be afraid to ask to reschedule. Rescheduling is typically a much better option than muddling through an interview with multiple distractions.
3. For all intents and purposes, treat a virtual interview just like you would an in-person interview. That means do you research but use the virtual environment to your advantage. Consider it an open book test. Virtual interviews allow you to have notes and materials. Write down your important talking points and questions just in case they slip your mind. I was interviewing a candidate for a complicated engineering position. He had his main talking points on a notepad and he shared that it eased nerves and, on my end, there was smooth conversation flow. This helped him stand out compared to other candidates.
4. Choosing what to wear can be confusing for virtual interviews. Consider the environment you’re joining and go one step up from what you’d expect the interviewer to be wearing. That means, if it’s a tech role and you anticipate everyone wears t-shirts, consider a polo or blouse. If you think they are dressing business casual, adding a tie or blazer may be appropriate. You could also ask the Recruiter or Scheduler for their advice on what to wear. You never want to be unprepared so ask for help if you’re unsure about the environment. Check your environment too, a blurred camera can cover a lot of background mess if needed.
5. This last tip might be obvious, but the default should be to have your camera on. If you have to turn it off or keep it off, let the interviewer know. It always impresses me when a candidate makes solid eye contact during the interview. It is the closest you can get to face-to-face conversation during a video interview. The interviewer will also get a better chance to learn more about your personality and character.
These 5 tips are all things candidates have done in the past that have impressed me or hiring managers I’ve worked with during the interview process. Try them out and let me know how they worked on LinkedIn.