Virtual interviews are here to stay. The pandemic has provided people from all walks of life with ample experience participating in Zoom, Google Hangout, and Microsoft Teams calls. But, perhaps because they feel that they have so much experience here, there is a tendency for job seekers to really miss the mark when participating in a virtual interview in the hopes of landing a job.
There are some very important do’s and don’ts that can help you ensure that you’re making a good impression and that you stand out in the minds of everyone involved in the interview process.
Double Check Your Setup
You would think that this would go without saying but, unfortunately, it doesn’t: take the time to prepare and check your equipment.
There is nothing quite as annoying as signing on for a scheduled call only to find that the person on the other end didn’t pre-check their connection or suddenly realized they need to re-install Zoom. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to do a quick audio/visual check to ensure everything is working properly before the scheduled time of your interview. Don’t make assumptions that everything will work just fine even if you’ve done a call earlier that day.
Dress for the Job You Want
Attire is also an important consideration. On video calls, of course, you’ll only be seen from above the waist up, but still it’s important to dress professionally and project a professional appearance. In addition, just getting fully and professionally dressed will, psychologically, but you in a business-oriented frame of mind. If you’re wearing sweatpants, that’s not likely to be the case.
Do Your Research
It’s always impressive to recruiters and hiring managers when it’s apparent that you’ve done some background research on the company—that you understand the requirements of the job and have a good feel for the role. The ability to refer to the company during the interview in a way that makes it apparent that you’ve taken the time to learn about their background makes a solid impression.
In addition to the company’s website, do some additional research like checking the press coverage they may have received recently. Maybe they just released a new product, or announced an expansion. That’s the kind of information you can refer to during your interview and will make a very positive impression on the hiring team.
It’s also a good idea to do some background research on the hiring manager. That’s something that can easily be done on LinkedIn. See where they went to college and what their interests are—maybe you’ll find you have something in common that you can mention during the interview. When viewing their profile on LinkedIn, you can even set your visibility under “profile viewing options” to “Your name and headline.” That way, they’ll see that you’ve checked them out ahead of time which, again, may set you apart from other candidates.
Be Curious (and Concise)
Ask questions during the interview to convey your interest in the position and the company. Being curious shows that you’re not only paying attention to what the interviewer is saying, but that you’re interested in the role. Make the interview a conversation that you are clearly engaged in—that shows your interest and enthusiasm for the position. Think back to the research you’ve done about the company and the hiring manager. Weave some comments about what you’ve learned into the conversation, or ask questions to expand the depth of what you’ve learned.
That said, make sure that you’re concise in your responses and comments. Don’t over-explain. Too much talking just becomes a word jumble. Sometimes people start to ramble when they’re nervous, but make an attempt to be as efficient as possible in getting across what you’re saying.
Your virtual interview offers a brief opportunity for you to set yourself apart from other candidates and clearly convey that you’re the best choice to fill the open position. Leave nothing to chance. Be prepared, do your research, and work hard to engage in a conversation that demonstrates your interest and enthusiasm.
By Michael Walsh, National Recruiter at Planet Forward
Image credit: Canva