Welcome to the digital era of hiring! COVID lockdowns and the rise of a remote workforce propelled us into a world in which we are conducting everything online. Remote interviews offer undeniable advantages – convenience for both hiring managers and candidates, easier coordination of multiple interviews, and cost savings on travel expenses. Moreover, from the candidate's perspective, it provides an opportunity to swiftly connect with the potential team, demonstrate skills, and showcase enthusiasm for the role.
To many job seekers, the interview can be the most stressful part of the job search. It’s understandable – oftentimes, you get only a limited amount of time to connect with the person who is interviewing you and to make a good impression. Thankfully, there are many ways in which you can wow the interviewer from behind a screen.
- Verify the specifics. If the information is not provided to you, ask your recruiter or point-of-contact for details regarding: who will be interviewing you, on what platform the interview will be conducted, what topics you can expect to discuss, as well as whether the interviewer expects cameras to be turned on. The information communicated to you will not only help you to prepare, but will give you insight into how the hiring team positions its candidates for success.
- Test your technology. Before the interview, test your wifi to make sure it’s strong. Download and test the video conferencing app on the device that you will be using for the interview. Check your camera and mic settings inside your app to ensure everything is working appropriately on your end and time is not wasted dealing with preventable technical issues. Make sure your device is charged or plugged in to a power source.
- Prepare in advance. As is recommended for in-person interviews, research the company (browse the company’s website in addition to their Glassdoor reviews), brush up on the job description, and dress professionally. Have a list of questions to ask as a way to signal your interest and engagement. Have your resume memorized and close-by for reference.
- Minimize any distractions. Make sure your background doesn’t have too many visual distractions–for example, a messy bookshelf or elaborate wall art. If you have any email alerts or notifications that may pop up during the interview, mute them in advance. If you have kids or pets, figure out how to securely close the door to your interview space. If possible, arrange to have the kids and pets attended to during the interview. Have Kleenex, water, cough drops, and anything else that you might need right there in the room—out of sight from the camera, but where you can reach them. For a long interview, you should be offered a bio break. And if not, you should feel comfortable asking for one. But having the necessities in the room will prevent unnecessary interruptions.
- Stay focused and visibly engaged. It’s really easy to lose concentration during a video interview. You are missing all of the non-verbal cues that typically keep the listener engaged–eye contact and body language, for instance. Do your best to treat the interview as if it were in-person, one-on-one. Smile when it’s appropriate and ask follow-up questions to show that you are a real person on the other side of the screen! It will certainly show the interviewer that you are interested in learning more about the company and value his or her time.
- Stay in touch after the interview. Don’t ghost your interviewer after the interview, no matter what! In most cases, a follow-up thank you email will be viewed favorably, and every check in the “favorable” column only works to your benefit. Chances are pretty good that your competition will not have followed-up their interview with a thank-you email, so you’ll stand out from the other candidates. Another check for you in the “favorable” column. In addition to a “thank you for taking the time to interview me,” this is also one last opportunity to convey to the interviewer how excited you are about this opportunity. Hiring managers like to hire people who are enthusiastic about the opportunity and who think they will like working at their company.
We all understand that technology can still fail, despite all the planning in the world. Take it in stride. If you manage that smoothly, that’s seen positively by the interviewing team. Make sure to provide your contact information (email address and phone number) well before the interview so that you can reschedule or switch the interview to a phone call in a pinch. The point of using remote interviews is to save time, so make sure you are not sacrificing too much of it with technical mishaps!
If you follow these tips, you’ll have all the keys to succeed in your virtual interview. Now all you have to do is find the right opportunity! If you're looking for a job in the tech industry, visit our job board to see if you qualify for some of our positions.
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Stout Systems is the software consulting and staffing company Fueled by the Most Powerful Technology Available: Human Intelligence®. We were founded in 1993 and are based in Ann Arbor, Michigan. We have clients across the U.S. in domains including engineering, scientific, manufacturing, education, marketing, entertainment, small business and robotics. We provide expert level software, Web and embedded systems development consulting and staffing services along with direct-hire technical recruiting and placements.