In our line of work, especially through our International Services unit, we often go through the entire interview process without ever meeting the candidates in person. As a job candidate seeking opportunities in both managerial and technical roles, it’s essential to know how to stand out in virtual interviews, even when you’ve never met your potential employer face-to-face.
In this blog we share best practices and tips to help candidates master the art of virtual interviews, and increase their chances of success.
Adapting to the Virtual Interview Landscape
Today, with the rise of remote working, virtual interviews have become the new normal. In a survey by Gartner, it was found that 86% of organizations have conducted virtual interviews during the pandemic, and 82% planned to continue using them even after the pandemic subsides. This highlights the importance of understanding the intricacies of virtual interviews as they have become commonplace in the job-seeking process.
Preparing for Managerial Roles
Hiring for managerial positions often involves evaluating your leadership, communication, decision-making, and problem-solving skills. Here are some tips for making a great impression in virtual interviews for such roles (although many of these stand true for in person interviews as well!):
- Understanding the Role: Before the interview, thoroughly research the position and the company. Their website, social media platforms, and even Glassdoor reviews can be a great source of insights. Understand the specific responsibilities and requirements for the managerial role you’re pursuing. This knowledge will help you tailor your responses effectively.
- Structured Responses: Expect behavioural questions that require specific examples from your past experiences. Be prepared to share stories that showcase your skills and ability to deliver outstanding outcomes. For instance, anticipate questions like, “Tell us about a time when you successfully resolved a conflict within your team.”
- Company Culture Fit: Understand the company’s values and culture, and make sure your responses reflect alignment with these principles. Be ready to ask questions about the company culture to ensure it’s a good fit for you as well.
- Video Platform Familiarity: Get comfortable with video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet. Ensure your internet connection and equipment, including your camera and microphone, are functioning correctly -don’t leave it for the last minute to test them.
- Professional Appearance: Dress professionally and choose a clean, well-lit space for your interview. Find a quiet place to eliminate noise and disruptions, and use a background filter if the room you are in is not very tidy. Remember, first impressions are still important, even in virtual interviews.
- Prepare Questions: Have thoughtful questions ready to ask your interviewers. This demonstrates your interest in the role and the company. For example, you could ask about the future plans of the company, the team dynamics or the challenges you’d face in the role.
Navigating Technical Role Interviews
Technical roles, such as software engineers, social media specialists or website developers, require specific technical expertise. Here are some tips on how you can increase your chances to succeed in virtual interviews for such positions:
- Technical Assessments: Expect to be evaluated based on your technical skills. Practice coding challenges, debugging exercises, or other technical assessments relevant to your role. Online platforms like LeetCode or HackerRank can help you prepare.
- Real-world Scenarios: Be ready to discuss real-world scenarios relevant to the position. For example, a software engineer might be asked about optimizing a slow-performing website, while a social media specialist could be asked to outline a content strategy.
- Technical Panel Interviews: In technical roles, you might face interviews with a panel of experts. Don’t be intimidated; these interviews aim to assess your ability to collaborate and communicate technical concepts effectively.
- Soft Skills: Don’t overlook soft skills. Communication, teamwork, and adaptability are important even in technical positions. Be prepared to answer behavioral questions that reveal your soft skills.
- Video Tools: Familiarize yourself with video tools like CodePen, Miro, or Google Workspace, as they may be used during interviews for technical discussions and collaborative problem-solving.
- Code Review: Be ready to share code samples from your past projects. These can showcase your coding style, documentation, and problem-solving abilities. Be open to constructive feedback.
The Human Element in Virtual Interviews
Virtual interviews may lack face-to-face interaction, but the human element remains vital. Here are some suggestions on how to make the virtual interview process personal and empathetic:
Communication: Establish clear communication with your potential employer. Understand the interview format, the participants, the duration etc., and make sure you feel comfortable and informed about what to expect.
Video Etiquette: Be clear when you speak and do not talk too fast (typically there is a slight delay online). Also remember to smile and look interested. Keep up good eye contact (look at your camera rather than at the screen), sit up straight and have good body language.
Engagement: Be engaged and interactive during the interview. Ask questions, share your thoughts, and express your enthusiasm for the role.
Feedback: After the interview, consider seeking feedback, especially if you’re not selected. Constructive feedback can help you improve for future opportunities.
Follow-up: After the interview, maintain communication with your potential employer regarding next steps and follow-up actions. After the interview you can email the recruiter confirming your interest. If they don’t come back to you in due time, you can get in touch to ask about the status of your application.
Measuring your Success
As a job candidate, evaluating your success in virtual interviews involves considering multiple factors. Assess the quality of the interview experience, your own performance, and the alignment of the role with your career goals. Use the following as guidelines:
Self-Assessment: Reflect on your performance. Consider what went well and areas for improvement. Use this self-assessment to prepare for future interviews.
Feedback: If provided, consider any feedback from the interviewers. Constructive feedback can be invaluable for personal and professional growth.
Role Fit: Assess whether the role aligns with your career aspirations, values, and goals. It’s important to find a position that suits you as much as you suit the role.
Continuous Learning: Treat every interview as a learning opportunity. Each interview experience can help you refine your approach for future opportunities.
Ultimately, virtual interviews are an essential part of today’s job-seeking landscape. Whether you’re pursuing a managerial or technical role, understanding the unique aspects of each interview type and preparing accordingly is crucial. Moreover, remember that the human element plays a significant role in virtual interviews. Be engaged, communicate effectively, and stay open to feedback for continuous improvement. Remember, your success in virtual interviews will help you secure the career opportunities you desire, even without meeting your potential employer in person.