The novel coronavirus has caused a lot of companies to adopt remote work and re-assess their overall recruitment strategy and process. So while some job seekers may feel uncertain about the job market, some companies, like dv01, are operating business as usual—but virtual.
Job hunting is stressful enough as it is, and layering COVID-19 concerns on top of that doesn’t help. At the end of the day–and throughout the interview–we’re all humans. We’re all navigating and adapting to the new environment with you. In this blog post, we’re providing advice and tips on how to prepare for a virtual interview.
1. Choose the appropriate device
While it’s possible to take your interview through a phone, laptop or tablet, we recommend using a laptop because it’s steady and may allow for better camera angles.
Pro tip: Make sure your device is sufficiently charged to last the duration of the interview; we recommend having the laptop connected to an outlet.
2. Download the software and test your tech
There are many video conferencing apps companies can leverage, such as Zoom, FaceTime and Skype; at dv01, we use Google Hangouts. Prior to your interview, ensure you’ve downloaded the appropriate video conferencing software and that it’s successfully installed.
Next, it’s important to make sure all your mechanics are in working order so it’s a seamless experience for both you and the interviewer. Test out your webcam, microphone, headset, and internet.
Pro tip: Test your tech by video conferencing a friend or family to confirm everything is working.
3. Pick the right setting
Location, location, location! Make sure you are able to allocate a spot for the entire interview duration. Depending on the company and interview stage, it can range anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours, so make sure to select a place where it’s quiet and where you can speak uninterruptedly. Additionally, make sure there’s good lighting. A point of a video interview is to see each other face-to-face so keep in mind how crucial lighting is to this part of the process.
Pro tip: Stay away from communal areas where you can’t control the environment or noise levels. It’s also smart to avoid loud, vibrant backgrounds that can distract the interviewers from focusing solely on you.
4. Dress for Success
First impressions matter just as much in real life as they do in videos. While everyone will be remote, you’ll still want to wear the same attire as you would for an on-site interview.
Pro tip: At dv01, we suggest business casual or “smart casual” in solid, neutral colors. If you’re unsure how to dress, ask your recruiter on the company’s dress code.
5. Body Language
While it’s important to be comfortable during interviews, be mindful of nonverbal communication. Make sure to maintain good eye contact with the interviewer, and sit on something that helps you keep good posture so you don’t slouch while looking into the camera. This will help you to keep eye contact with the interviewer. You don’t want to be looking down or looking over the interviewer. Also, be mindful of hand gestures to not cause any distractions where it won’t be able to capture the essence of your message as well as you’d think.
Pro tip: To maintain eye contact, look at the webcam and not your computer screen.
6. Impress Your Interviewers
As with onsite interviews, make sure to study up on the company through their website, podcasts and blog, as well as any relevant news articles. Additionally, research who you’ll be interviewing with on LinkedIn. Doing this will provide you with many great talking points, insight where interviewers are coming from, understanding the problems the team is trying to solve and can help you come up with creative questions to ask the team.
The dv01 team loves questions! It really impresses us when candidates show they’ve invested time in getting to know us and show a deep interest in wanting to work for us.
Pro tip: Send a follow-up email. Writing “thank you” notes to the interviewing panel is a sure way to leave a lasting impression, regardless if it’s onsite or virtual. Take this time to showcase active listening by listing out takeaways. It can be the extra brownie points you’ll need when the hiring manager is choosing between two candidates.
7. Have Empathy
We are all working through unknown times with COVID-19. If the internet lags, the delivery guy shows up to the door, or a baby cries for their parent in the background, show support by letting the other person on the interview know it’s OK and continue on. Overcommunicate what situation you are in and what could possibly pop-up during the time.
We hope these tips help you to land an offer - if you’re at home or hundreds of miles away. Looking to join a team that sits at the intersection of Wall Street and Silicon Valley? Check out our opportunities here.
Priscilla B. Philavong, Senior Technical Recruiter