It’s become clear that life won’t be going back to normal as soon as we’d hoped. With COVID-19 cases spiking all around the country and regressed city reopenings, it seems as though days in the office are a ways away. Because of this, searching for your next job will look a bit different. On-site interviews are now remote and virtual, and first-day jitters are happening in the comfort of your own home.
Merit’s Talent Acquisition team is getting accustomed to the new normal as well and suggests that despite being at home, ensure that you remain professional when interviewing for new opportunities virtually. Below are the five big tips they suggest to candidates who want to nail their upcoming virtual interview.
Set up early
Internet connection, a functioning camera, and a quiet place to take the interview are huge factors in your video call running smoothly or not. Make sure to do all that you can so that there are no surprises or mishaps on your end. Our advice is to be ready to go at least 15 minutes before your interview is scheduled. This will give you time to test your technology, clean the space around you, and review your research/notes on the company.
Be prepared to be flexible
Be prepared for there to be more than one interview in a day by blocking out lots of time when the first meeting is scheduled. You may jump on and off of video calls with the recruiter, the managers, the potential-coworkers, etc. What may take 30 minutes for some companies, may take three hours for others. The time this takes can vary between companies and positions, but it’s always better to be over-prepared.
Additionally, because the interviewer is at home just as you are, your interview may be more likely to get moved or postponed due to something unexpected on their end. If this happens, stay calm and stay polite — you’ve blocked out this chunk of time for a reason and I’m sure they have as well.
Dress for success
Your camera should always be on during an interview, therefore you should be dressed appropriately. Wear what you normally would to an in-person interview, and yes that includes pants! You never know if you’ll need to run and grab something or if your camera will suddenly shift to an unflattering angle, and it’s much better to be safe than sorry.
For some companies (such as Merit), the culture of the office is very laid back compared to the typical suit and tie. If you’re unsure about which side of the coin your potential employer is on, make sure to ask your recruiter. They’ll let you know!
Although you’re on your computer, you shouldn’t be looking through other tabs while the interview is happening. Your delays and eye gazes will make it obvious and you may miss something important being said. Make sure to have researched the company and the position prior so that a quick Google search won’t be necessary (or tempting). Take the time to review that research in the few minutes before the interview, as mentioned in tip one.
This is a big one for Merit’s Talent Acquisition team. You don’t want your first impression to be that of a complainer. When looking for a new employee, companies want positive outlooks and no one that bashes or bad-mouths their former employer. Everyone has had a mishap at work, but no need to focus on only the bad things when the “Why’d you leave your last place of employment?” question is asked.
Be open and honest, but ensure you’re focused on your accomplishments instead of blaming others for your failures. In virtual interviews, it may be harder for your personality to show, so make sure that you express your passion and enthusiasm for what you’ve applied to!