The interview date is set, and all you have to do is to ace that interview, and the job is yours. But there is a slight catch: it will be via a video conference app. With the current situation of everyone adjusting to the new normal, this should not come as a surprise to you. Yet, even if it is through a video call, it is still a professional interview.
There is slight pressure on you as a tech professional. Presenting yourself under the guise of a meeting app may seem like an easy feat, but technology can still get in the way of your potential employment. So, take note of the following virtual interview tips to help you pass that interview with flying colors and prove to your employer that a video interview is the least of your worries.
Rein in on the technology-related factors of your virtual interview.
One word: tech-savviness. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated an increase of around 239,000 tech jobs in the country last July 2022. It is expected that tech workers know a thing or two about handling emails, setting up Zoom meetings, and finding the best spot for internet connectivity. Let’s face it: it is embarrassing not to get a tech job just because you fumbled on setting up your online interview.
Generally speaking, ensure everything on your end of technology is working. Contingencies are also important, and when any unforeseen circumstance cuts you off from your hiring manager in the middle of the interview, you will impress them with how quickly you can bounce back. Keep the virtual interview smooth-flowing through these steps:
- Have a backup internet connection. You never know if your service provider may experience problems. Even if it is their fault, your interviewer would not know and still count this under your watch. Have your phone data connection ready or a second internet connection ready in case power failures or connection disruptions occur. A quick reminder: keep those laptop and cellphone batteries charged and phone data stacked ready for tethering.
- Test your technology resources. Will your computer automatically shut down in the middle of your conversation? Do you have an existing Zoom account, or is your Microsoft Teams app ready for a conference call? Give time to test these out before the interview. Perhaps, ask a friend to start the online call with you and see if the audio and video work on your end. This also rids you of worries that apps or gadgets may conk out suddenly.
- Your phone is your best backup gadget. Is there anything a smartphone cannot do today? You probably own a smartphone that can access thousands of apps. Thus, you can install the same online meeting app your interview requires on your phone to serve as a backup in case the web app fails. If worse comes to worst, be prepared to call your interviewer in place of your online interview.
- Use your camera to establish eye contact. Yes, you will be talking to your camera for the entire time, which indeed feels awkward. But think of the person on the other end, who will most likely look at your image on the screen. Looking at the camera is the best way to look into your interviewer’s eyes as you speak. While it is difficult to emulate a face-to-face interview setting, there are still ways to improve the experience, like looking into the camera.
- Be ready to do an online demo. If you are employed in positions requiring proficiency with certain apps, your online meeting may be the time to show your skills. When asked about using said apps, instead of answering verbally, why not offer a demo? Switch into screen sharing and perform some tasks using that app to show how familiar you are. Doing so gives major bonus points with your willingness to do a little extra.
It bears repeating: it’s still a job interview.
While tech-savviness and online preparedness are key to proving that you are the tech professional they are looking for, classic interview tips like arriving ahead of time and not fidgeting while talking are still imperative. Here are a few additional tips on how to ace an online job interview:
- Be mindful of what your interviewer sees on their end. Dressing appropriately for the interview will leave a smile on your interviewer’s face to show that you are prepared. Take a look at this video for tips on dressing properly. Corporate attire, a hairstyle that will stay put, and light makeup for women are just some ways to keep your appearance tidy and professional-looking. But how about your online background? If your meeting app has a green screen function, opt for a plain-colored background, a photo of office space, or anything not too fancy. You may have your interview in front of your house curtains or a solid wall. Just don’t have in your background an open space where anyone or anything can pass by. Your interviewer might not appreciate family members or pets appearing during your meeting.
- Keep answers short and simple. Your nerves may cause rambling, but be conscious not to over-talk as much as possible. It is best to prepare for your interview. Take a few minutes to think about your answer and how you will tackle it, and come up with a few sentences as a response. Ensure that you are also ready to answer questions about the company.
- Speak about your past employers positively. Even if you parted ways with your previous company in negative terms, do not rant about your trials and tribulations with them. Instead, highlight the lessons you learned upon leaving said company. You don’t need to speak highly of them, but you can count the things you are thankful for in your time with that organization.
- Ask questions when given the chance. “Do you have any questions?” You may just want to get the interview over and done with by saying you are good to go. However, asking questions about your potential role increases the interviewer’s viewpoint of your interest in the job. Try asking these questions before parting ways with your interviewer:
- What did my successor do right to succeed in this position?
- If I started this position tomorrow, what would be my priority?
- Are there any upcoming initiatives or projects you’re especially interested in?
Aside from preparing for an online job interview, there are other aspects of your job application that deserve your attention.
- Have a professional-looking LinkedIn account. Many employers utilize social media to rake in new talent, and LinkedIn is on top of the list to get new employees. Take a look at how you can improve how your LinkedIn account registers with recruiters.
- Improve your resume. Here is a handful of tips to make your resume readable and cut above the rest so that employers will have an easy time going through your background and credentials.
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