Congrats! Your job application stood out from the rest, earned the attention of the hiring manager of the company you applied with, and now you have an interview lined up. But wait – it’s a Zoom interview? Do I need special software or equipment for that? Is online any different than in-person? What if I have connection issues during the virtual interview?
While much of the interview process is the same whether in-person or remote, there are certain steps and preparations you can make to create a strong first impression and hopefully land you that dream job. We’ve put together a brief remote interview guide to assist you.
Here are three of our top recommendations:
1. Know the Technology
What makes a Zoom interview or any other remote interview distinctly unique from an in-person interview is the simple fact that you’re relying on technology to present the best version of you. The technology you use – whether a laptop, desktop or your mobile device – can either be a great tool or your worst nightmare. You could do everything right during your interview, but if the technology is not working with you, then it’s working against you. Give yourself plenty of time beforehand to check the following:
- Internet Connection – Make sure that the location where you choose to conduct your virtual interview has a strong internet connection. The last thing you want is to be set up and ready to go but unable to communicate due to connection issues during the remote interview process. While a desktop or laptop with a cable internet connection is usually a safe bet – especially if you are interviewing from your home or a familiar space – wireless internet can be more inconsistent. Avoid connection issues during your virtual interview by checking beforehand to make sure your connection is strong and reliable.
- Lighting – Ask a filmmaker how important lighting is in a movie, and he’ll tell you it’s essential. While you may not be filming the next blockbuster hit, you do want your interview to be a hit, and having good lighting is vital. The more natural light you can find, the better. Being in a well-lit room or near a window with the light facing you will do wonders in making you look as attractive and engaging as you are in real life. If natural light isn’t an option, make sure as many lights in the room are on as possible, and don’t be afraid to get creative – you may find that you look good with a happy lamp glowing in your direction!
- Sound – Remember that guy in the Verizon commercials who was always asking “Can You Hear Me Now?” Yeah, you don’t want to be him. Make sure your audio (microphone and speakers/headphones) are working correctly before your Zoom interview. If you’re joining via a program like Google Meet or Zoom, you’ll usually be prompted by the program to test your audio and video beforehand. Do this well in advance, not just as you’re logging into your interview. You may find that your microphone or speakers aren’t working properly or that you need to update software on your computer.
2. Be Ready and Researched
If you’re doing your video interview from home, you may be tempted to approach it with the same casual attitude you typically have in the comfort of your home. Keep in mind that this is still a professional engagement, and professional behavior is expected. Do your research in advance – presumably you already did when you applied with the
company. Know who the company is and what it’s about. Have a notepad or device to take notes on. Have questions ready. Your interviewer(s) is gauging you to see how much you want this job, so being prepared goes a long way toward making that great first impression. Take advantage of being on your computer or mobile device to have the company’s website, social media accounts or any other relevant information pulled up in front of you to refer to through the interview if necessary. This will show them that you’ve taken the time to research their organization and educate yourself on their services and culture.
3. Make the Human Connection
Another significant difference of the remote video interview is the inability to make a physical human connection. Maybe one day we’ll have a technology that allows us to shake hands through our screens, but until then we’ll just have to make do with waving. Don’t be afraid to continue the human connection after the virtual interview. This could be a follow-up email within 24 hours to thank the hiring manager for their time and ask any further questions you may have. If you’re old school, go ahead and send a hand-written letter – it shows that you appreciated their time and is one more way that you can physically cross paths with them and stay on their radar.
We hope our remote interview guide offers you some valuable tips as you head into the remote interview process. Remember – you only get one chance at a first impression, so make it count!
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Accountability Resources is an Austin-based staffing and recruiting firm specializing in Accounting and Finance solutions for companies seeking the best talent in the Austin market, and job seekers looking for their next career opportunity with the best companies in the area. We are consistently named one of the “Top Executive Search Firms in Austin”, one of the top “Fast 50” Growing Privately Held Companies in Central Texas, and one of the “Best Places to Work” in Central Texas by the Austin Business Journal, among other awards. Contact us today to get you started on your career search.