Virtual interviewing and remote work have been a topic of discussion within the technology sector for a number of years. As the pandemic hit this year, many of the technology companies that employed a more distributed workforce happened to be prepared. But many job seekers and employers were not. One of the easiest ways for a lot of these technology companies to become more distributed is to utilize virtual interviewing. It was one of their first steps in being more distributed. They were able to interview candidates across the country without the cost of travel. And able to have more frequent interview sessions in advance of asking the candidate to come into the office.
It should be expected that this process is going to be far more adopted now. And industries outside of technology will begin to employ virtual interviewing. And while they are a relatively new process to many employers, as a job seeker, you can take steps to prepare yourself for the most optimal virtual interview.
What to expect
A video interview isn’t much different than a regular interview performed face-to-face. The questions are often the same. You might hear a number of behavioral interview questions that start with “tell me about a time”, as well as interview questions that reveal more about your work history. This is fairly common for a face-to-face interview where the hiring manager or recruiter is trying to get a grasp of your work history as well as your expertise in the area where you’re applying to.
Much like the on-site interview, afterward, you should expect to hear from your interviewer on whether they’d like to proceed with providing you a job offer or ask you to perform another interview session if they aren’t convinced of your candidacy yet. That should feel relatively comfortable for you as a job seeker. One thing not to be confused with is whether or not your interview session is a phone interview or a video interview. In a phone interview, you might hear more preliminary questions that are often dubbed as phone interview questions . These are questions that ensure you and the hiring manager are on the same page. When you’re asked to perform a video interview, you should treat this as your more official interview. Both you should be well prepared for and have set answers to potential questions that could be asked in the session.
Helpful video interview tips
There are some ways to ensure that your video interview is performed to the best of your ability. The first steps are more obvious in nature but good to ensure you understand. Be sure you install and use whatever video conferencing tool that your hiring manager is asking you to use. Get familiar with the tool in advance. You don’t want to be late to your interview because you were learning how to use new technology. The second easy tip is to be sure that you have a good internet connection. Test your internet speeds in advance to ensure it’s ready for video conferencing. Ask friends or family members to stop using the internet while you conduct your interview.
Next is to take precautions about your surroundings and your security . Turn on your computer camera and look at what is around you. Is it an appealing backdrop? Is the lighting good? Do you look flattering? Ensure that you are presenting yourself in a positive light through the video. And ensure you are in a quiet place where you won’t receive any interruption.
Don’t forget to show up on time. It’s best to try and join the video conference around 2-3 minutes before the interview time is set. This helps to ensure that if there’s any technical issues, you can email the hiring manager right away and ask if you can connect by phone to figure out the technical difficulties.
Body language is equally important in video interviews as it is on-site interviews. But it presents more challenges. If you want to look into the eyes of the speaker, you’ll have to look into the camera, not look at them on the computer. Be sure to smile and show facial expressions, but not too much. Or else you could look like a nervous news anchor. Perform active listening and take notes. Since you’re at home, you’ll have an easier time taking notes and being able to have follow-up questions than if you were in an on-site interview. This is a great advantage.
While this is an ephemeral tip, many job seekers are interrupting other video interviews because Zoom only creates “one line” that the hiring managers use. If you are conducting a Zoom interview, try not to show up too early or else you could interrupt the interviewers previous interview session. 5-minutes early is just about right. And if you happen to interrupt that interview, the hiring manager will understand since being 5-minutes early is considered professional and formal.
Treat your video interview like any other interview
A video interview is still your official interview. Treat it like it was any other interview. If the hiring manager isn’t showing up to the video interview, send them an email or call them. Ask to make sure that you have the right time and the right video conferencing method to conduct the interview.
After your interview session, be sure to send them a thank you note which indicates your passion for the job. And be sure you personalize it based on the conversations you both had during the interview. If you don’t hear back from them after sending your thank you note, then follow-up.
Your process shouldn’t change as a job seeker. All of your traditional methods for seeking employment should be considered and deployed even after a video interview is conducted. Try to focus on your own comfort during the video session, much like you were in person. Cross your legs, not your arms. Find a comfortable chair. Calm yourself down through relaxed breathing and spend at least a few days preparing for your interview by getting more familiar with the company’s objectives, company’s mission, and what they might expect from the job you’re applying for.