The shift for many organizations to a work-from home set up means HR teams have had to also change their ways of working to incorporate remote dynamics. One of the more difficult transitions HR teams have had to make is shifting all prior hiring procedures to an online format. But this does not only affect the hiring organization, job seekers are having to shift their thinking to ensure that they are successful in a remote environment too.
Job seekers looking for new roles in the work-from-home environment need to understand that virtual job interview uncover different attributes than an in-person interview. In fact, certain attributes, such as preparation and professionalism, showcase themselves in a remote environment where job seekers and professionals alike have to rely on themselves more. For many organizations gone are the days where we had to force ourselves to dress up because you were going into the office. Now the onus is on the individual to make sure they are prepared for the professional environment.
Knowing that the virtual interviewing process is different, here are 10 tips job seekers can prepare for their next virtual job interview:
1. Invest in camera technology (if your computer doesn’t have one)
Arguably the most important aspect of a virtual job interview is making sure that you can be seen by the interviewer. Therefore, if your computer does not have an inbuilt camera function it is a good idea to invest in a webcam that allows you to be seen clearly.
2. Invest in a fast internet connection
There’s nothing worse than lag or disruption when having a conversation over video. Therefore the prudent thing to do prior to any important video interview is to invest in a reliable and quick Internet connection so that you can cross that off your list as a variable to think about during the interview itself.
3. Dress for the job
Just because everybody is working from home doesn’t mean that we, as a workforce, should lower our standards around our presentation and appearance. This is true also for interviews. When preparing for a video job interview you still want to make sure that you look the part. Invest in professional attire so that you can leave the impression that you’re taking the opportunity seriously.
4. Spend time learning the video conferencing platform
To ensure that the video interview process goes as smoothly as possible from a logistics standpoint, it is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the video interviewing platform prior to the interview itself. Therefore, spend a few minutes in the days before the virtual job interview navigating the video interviewing platform, understanding where the buttons are, understanding the different features that are included in the platform, just so that on the day of the interview you are not lost navigating the call.
5. Set up a quiet, well-lit location
Just as investing in a decent camera is important for the video interview, making sure that you have a location in your home that is well lit and has an appropriate background is also paramount to video interview success.
“Job seekers can be strategic about their background too. By placing interesting objects that aren’t too distracting in the background job seekers can steer the conversation in a way that is helpful to them,” says Ryan Miller, Client Success Manager for Employment BOOST. “For example, placing an interesting book that you can speak to in depth could be a way to trigger a conversation that leans in your favor, just in case the interviewer asks about it.”
Lighting is also important in a video job interview. Remember, it’s all about first impressions and a dark dingy room will not give the professional and approachable impression you want to leave with the interview.
6. Log in early
This tip is a best practice in most situations in the professional environment. Punctuality is important during a video call just to ensure that the interviewer is not waiting for you on the other line. Make sure that you log in to the call a few minutes early so that you can catch your breath prepare your framing and be 100% ready to go.
7. Have your resume ready nearby
Another good idea is to have a printed version of your resume ready within arm’s reach of your video call. This is helpful from a preparation standpoint in that having your resume in front of you will help guide your thought process as you’re explaining your career. Having your resume ready also means that you have a piece of paper where you could have written notes or thought items that show that you put in the work prior to the interview to be prepared.
8. Practice projecting your voice loudly and clearly
Just as poor video quality impacts a job seekers first impression when on a video interview, an inability to project your answers appropriately is just as bad for your first impression. Practice having a conversation on a video call, perhaps with a friend or a family member, so that you are prepared for the volume at which you need to speak during the call with the interviewer.
9. Learn to let the interviewer finish their sentences
Another nuance to video interviewing that doesn’t often happened in an in-person interview is delays in the communication channel. Few things are as frustrating for an interviewer then not being able to finish questions or sentence is before being interrupted with a response. Therefore, learn to let the interviewer finish their questions and thoughts before jumping in with your response. This shows a level of thoughtfulness and appreciation for the remote environment that is a good sign of professionalism and often leaves a good impression.
10. Prepare ‘Thank You’ procedures
Just as an in-person interviews, you want to have a thank you procedure prepared and ready to go for after your video interview. Make sure that you are ready with your thank you email so that you can send that out within the first few hours of the interview concluding. This is important as certain best practices around interviewing don’t change just because of the remote work environment. Be as professional and thoughtful as you possibly can be.
As Vice President of Employment BOOST and Clarke Caniff Strategic Search, Dennis leads the firm’s cross-functional team across sales, strategy, service innovation, and client service. Dennis holds a Logistics, Materials, and Supply Chain Management degree from Michigan State University, certifications in Strategic Management and Service Design/Operations from Harvard Extension School and has completed Six Sigma Black Belt Training.