IT Jobs: Preparing for a Virtual Interview
Over the last year, organizations have become more reliant than ever on teleconferencing as their primary way to conduct job interviews. According to Gartner, 86 percent of entities used video interviews, many of whom no longer rely on phone interviews whatsoever. If you’re an information technology professional searching for new employment opportunities, it’s undeniably in your best interest to become comfortable using video conferencing software. Becoming fluent in the use of today’s most used video conferencing tools is a simple step which goes a long way in preparing yourself for a successful virtual interview. In this article, we’ll cover several recommendations to better your chances as a candidate for earning IT jobs.
Test your device(s) and teleconferencing program. Ensure that your devices are fully powered and operating properly by testing both audio/mic and video functions. Confirming the exact video conferencing tool being used for your interview is also highly recommended. Popular examples include tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, WebEx, which may require software download before use.
“It’s key to ensure your tech is in working order. Conduct a mock interview where it’s tested – making sure both sound and video are fully functioning.” says Jessica Gary, QED National’s Recruiting Operations Manager, “If possible, this should be done in the exact location you plan to interview to ensure optimal lighting and background noise is minimal.”
Prepare yourself and your environment. Dress for the role – business professional attire such as suits, button-up shirts, ties, and professional blouses or dresses are still expected. Clean up your space – this increases the quality of your room and can also help you focus on organizing your thoughts, keeping your brain sharp for the interview. Be aware of the room’s lighting – it’s best to face the light or have it shine on your face. Sunlight is the optimal choice, but a similar effect can be accomplished with a small ring light or spotlight.
“It’s important to prepare for a virtual interview in all the same ways you would for an in-person interview – research the company and their mission statement, know how your experience directly relates to the role and what you can add to the team,” Jessica says, “and dress the part in the same manner you would for an in-person interview.”
During the interview. Now that you’ve prepared yourself, your devices and your environment for the interview, it’s time to shift focus on steps to stand out and make a strong impression during the actual interview. It’s important to be aware of your body language as an effective nonverbal communication tool. By sitting up straight and looking directly into the camera it creates a strong presence and connection with those interviewing you. To further solidify this connection, use your hands when speaking to exemplify your engagement and interest in the conversation.
“If you plan to take notes, inform the interviewer so they know you’re still engaged and not distracted by something else.” Jessica says, “They can’t see all of you, so it may send the wrong message if it looks like you’re doing something else.”
Final Thoughts. These recommendations can have a tremendous impact on your interview performance and leave a significant impression with the organization interviewing you, whether for private industry or government jobs. At the very least, if you follow these recommendations, you won’t be disqualified by technical difficulties and/or not presenting yourself in a professional manner. Preparation is a key ingredient in having a successful virtual interview. This starts with understanding the role and the hiring organization, but just as important is the focus on your self-presentation and spatial environment from where you’ll be interviewing.