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Virtual Interviewing Tips for Job Seekers

Due to the coronavirus, recruiters and hiring managers across the country and around the world are converting in-person interviews into video interviews for the health and safety of everyone involved.

While it may not be everyone’s first choice, video interviews are enabling the hiring process to continue despite quarantine protocols.

To better prepare you, I have gathered some of The Intersect Group’s most essential tips and best practices to successfully take – and ace – your next video interview.

  • Test the technology you will be using. There are a variety of video interviewing technologies available today. From Skype and Google Hangouts, to HireVue and Zoom. You will likely receive a calendar invite or an email with the details of your video interview ahead of time. Be sure to create a login if you don’t have one already and test out the technology. If you already have an account for the platform you will be using, like Skype or Google for instance, make sure your profile is appropriate – this includes username and/or email address, profile picture and bio.
  • Prepare your interview space. This tip is completely unique to a video interview. When you take an in-person interview, you do not have to think about what your home office or dining room table looks like. Now you do. When you test out the technology you will be using, it’s also a good idea to take a look at what your surroundings will look like when you are on camera. Don’t be afraid to stage the area behind you and really look at what is in the frame. If you have a bookshelf in the background, make sure you don’t have any inappropriate book titles showing. The same goes for pictures and anything else that might be hanging on the wall behind you. Your surroundings, just like what you are wearing, is a representation of you. Make sure it tells the story you want it to tell.
  • Dress up. We’ve all heard it before, but I’m going to say it again: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have.” A video interview is still an interview, so don’t slack on dressing the part. Be mindful about wearing bright colors or jewelry that makes a lot of noise. In short, all of the same in-person rules apply to how you dress for a video interview.
  • Don’t forget your notepad and questions. Treat a virtual interview the same way you would an in-person interview, by dressing the part and coming prepared. Bring a notepad to the interview and be sure to write down 3-5 questions ahead of time. Do not use your notepad as a crutch if you are uncomfortable on video. Instead, only write down the imperatives, and before you start writing it’s a good idea to mention to your interviewer that you are going to be jotting down some notes. You don’t want it to appear like your focus is on anything else but the interview.
  • Put your phone on silent and turn off other notifications. You don’t want to be distracted by an email popping up on your laptop or by the latest COVID-19 news alert. Turn off or mute these distractions while you take your video interview.
  • Be patient. As many companies and employees take their work remote, bandwidth and technology platforms are being tested to their limits. Lag time and other technology glitches are bound to happen, even when the whole world isn’t working remotely, so be patient with yourself and with the interviewer. Answers during an interview should be concise anyway, but it might be a good idea to check in and make sure your interviewer can still hear you. This is an especially good idea if your answer is taking you more than a minute or two to get through. You don’t want to get through a lengthy response only to find out he or she couldn’t hear what you were saying the whole time.
  • Show your personality. One of the drawbacks some people face on virtual interviews is that they don’t get to share as much of their personality, and the interviewer therefore doesn’t get the same benefit of really getting to know you. As much as possible, you want to make the interviewer feel like they have just walked away from an in-person sit down with you. Don’t be shy about using hand gestures and facial expressions.

 

Good luck! And be well.

Wally Wallace is a Director, Talent Solutions at The Intersect Group. He can be reached at wwallace@theintersectgroup.com.

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