This new era of social distancing has changed everything, and that includes the job application and interview process. If you’re applying for jobs right now, you’re probably going to get invited to your first virtual interviews. And since work from home jobs are on the rise, you may as well perfect your video meeting skills now. (And yes, it is a skill - especially when there’s a great job on the line).
Fortunately, you can highlight all of your abilities just as effectively in a Zoom interview as you could in-person. You’ll just have to prepare a little differently.
Since hiring managers often use the interview to gauge your interpersonal and soft skills, here are some tips to prepare for your remote interviews and demonstrate your complete range of collaboration, communication, and creative thinking skills.
Check Your Tone of Voice
Without the body language cues of traditional in-person interviews, your tone of voice will take on new importance. So make sure you’re making the right impression.
If you tend to get nervous in interviews, rehearse some of your responses before the call. Remember to breathe. Pretend you’re talking to an old friend to help relax your voice and speak naturally.
Make Eye Contact
It might be tempting to glance over at your own face on the screen while you talk, or momentarily look at your phone while your interviewer’s taking notes. But you’ll need to demonstrate your communication and active listening abilities, and that requires eye contact.
Try to stay engaged with the conversation and look at the person you’re speaking to. It’s not as easy during a video call when you’re staring into a screen, but eye contact is more important than ever when you’re only seen from the shoulders up.
Prepare for Behavioral Questions
You know the ones. “Describe a challenge and how you overcame it,” or “What was your most difficult experience in a previous role?” These questions are designed to give the interviewer insight into how you approach conflict, and what you’ll be like as a co-worker.
Just as you would for an in-person interview, you should think of some scenarios to talk about in advance. Consider how you’ll tell the story and why you chose to handle the situation the way you did.
You may not have the same conversational back-and-forth that you would if you were sitting in the same room, so be prepared to tell your anecdote from start to finish. Make sure you get all your key points in.
Practice with Someone First
When prepping for a Zoom interview, your mock interview will serve two purposes: to help you plan out your answers, and to get any technical glitches out of the way before game day. Have a friend or family member video-call you on the same device you’ll use for the actual interview to make sure your mic works, the image is clear, and the scenery behind you looks appropriate. Because if you’re looking to prove your attention to detail, a pile of laundry behind you isn’t exactly helping your case.
Take Time to Pause
Even when you’re meeting someone in-person, this is a tough one for many of us. It’s ok (and actually good) to pause and take time to think about your response. On a video call it might feel even more awkward - similar to the way dead air feels uncomfortable during a phone call. But it’s just as essential to help you organize your thoughts before you speak. There’s nothing wrong with saying “Let me take a moment to think about that one,” and letting the conversation go silent for a few seconds.
Taking an extra moment to think will help you provide better answers, but it also demonstrates that you’re being thoughtful and really focusing on the task at hand - both of which are valuable soft skills for any position.
Engage in Small Talk
Video calls don’t lend themselves to casual conversation, especially if it’s your first time. It’s harder to read the other person’s body language, and accidental interruptions are even more distracting than they are in person. So you’ll have to make an extra effort to get some small talk going at the beginning and the end of the interview. It will help you relax, and also show a different angle of your personality that may not come through when you’re talking about your experience using Powerpoint.
Researching the company before your interview will also help you come up with talking points and questions before your meeting. Read up on their history and check for recent mentions in the news to give yourself more to talk about, and show them you’re serious about working there.
Talk about Your Interpersonal Skills
Most of your interview questions will probably be focused on your technical skills and work experience: the stuff that’s easy to quantify and is already listed on your resume. But your soft skills are just as important. When talking about previous projects, mention how you worked with others or found creative solutions to problems.
You may feel less inclined to elaborate during a video call, simply because it’s an unfamiliar format. Be aware of that going into it, and try to counteract it. As you finish up answering a question, ask yourself if you fully explained “how” and “why.” Building in context will help you talk about all those soft skills that make you great at what you do.
We know how important it is not only to get a job, but get the right job. The kind that grows into a long-lasting career that motivates you and earns the pay you deserve. That’s why all of our online courses come with career coaching, so you’ll have the support you need to create a portfolio that gets attention from recruiters, nail the interview, and get hired in a stable industry. Your efforts will pay off since we guarantee you’ll get hired after completing the course.
If you’ve ever contemplated getting into a new tech career, now is the time. Schedule a call with Admissions to talk about your options.