My Best Practices To Nailing Virtual Interviews
Updated: Dec 3, 2021
Recently I virtually volunteered for an interview workshop for a non-profit I'm a member of, Asians Without Borders. It was very rewarding to partake in a realistic interview in front of over 70 attendees and getting feedback from an HR professional to help improve in the future.
I have experienced different interviews formats, including the traditional sit-down, informal coffee chats, HR screens, panels, meeting with c-level executives and as of last year, from a distance! I treasure all of those experiences, even if I didn't get the job in the end. I enjoyed meeting new people and learning about the different companies and departments out there. The best interviews I found were less rigid and flowed like a conversation.
Through numerous mock interviews, I was able to refine the backstory of my career pivot by being more concise with each attempt and focusing on highlighting my strengths. It's like a thirty-second elevator speech or a public speaking exercise. The more you do it, the better you get at it.
Some of my interviewing habits include..
Doing research on the company. I usually look at the "About Us" page on the company's website and familiarize myself with their products. I'll do a Google search on any awards they've won and who their competitors are.
Doing research on the interviewer. That means combing through their LinkedIn profile to see if there are any common interests to build rapport, for example, if you live in the same city. Make sure to check out how long they've been in the role too.
Preparing questions to ask the interviewer. If it's an HR screen, I usually ask if this is a new role that has been created and how large is the team. With the pandemic, I make sure to confirm if the role is remote, never assume! If it's a second interview with a manager, I try to probe more about the culture and direction that the company is headed, like asking what are the current goals that the company is focused on, and how does this team work to support hitting those goals?
Keeping a copy of my resume handy for the day of the interview. This goes for both in-person and distance interviews. It's easy to take a quick glance at the summary of your experiences at the start of the interview, even if you already know all that information.
Presenting my appearance appropriately. This means picking out my outfit the night before and ironing it. Yes, even for a virtual interview. This also means showering and blow drying my hair earlier in the morning. Your hair is part of your appearance and your presentation won't go unnoticed!
Choosing a space that is quiet, tidy and well-lit. Ensure your webcam is positioned at eye level, that you have a light source behind or beside your webcam and do tech checks.
Sending the interviewer a post-interview thank you note. It can be simple, just letting them know it was nice to meet them and to learn more about the position. The thank you can go in the subject line.
Writing down the questions that the interviewer asked, after the interview has ended. It'll be hard to remember later, so I get it down while it's fresh in my mind. They can make great practice questions for another interview down the road. It also helps you remember what the company is looking for, should you make it to the next round.