As the uncertainty of the workplace due to COVID continues, sharing these tips below seems appropriate as remote, virtual learning, networking, mentoring, interviewing, and connecting with our community partnerships is the “new normal” across the globe.
The recruitment pipeline of interviewees can range from seasoned professionals, recent college graduates, rising college sophomores, and tech boot camp students to transitioning military servicemen and women. From these various virtual experiences in the community, we have spotted a few ways to improve one’s professional game in this new, tech-infiltrated, interviewing space and have emailed suggested tips to several candidates along the way.
After working remotely at UNCOMN for over 3 years from her home office as the Community Engagement Manager, Rachel Rubin Wilkins has had more than 400 pre-screen interviews, “community coffee chats” and professional interviews for full-time positions, and… not ONE of them was in person. Here are a few tips learned along the way:
1) Be Tech-Savvy
Check your computer/technology and interview link ahead of time. Some video chats or conference calls require downloading prior. Don’t wait until the last minute or you might be late for the interview or miss it entirely. There are several different teleconferencing tools a company might use. UNCOMN uses Microsoft Teams.
2) Sound/Lighting: Check and… Check.
Check your surroundings and your appearance on the video screen. Lighting or noises may become distractions. Certain lighting can create halos above your head, and background noises can drown out your answers. Need help with setting up your lighting? Get some extra advice with this video and article.
3) All the World’s a Stage
Be sure to test your interview video area, making sure that your backdrop is appropriate. Zoom has many options for backdrop choices if you find your workspace not as professional as you would like. Microsoft Teams just created a few too, although keep the background professional. You never know how the interviewer may take your sense of humor.
4) Know Your Audience
Review the firm or organization’s website prior to the interview and have at least one or two thoughtful questions to ask about the firm or organization. Do your homework. Be sure to know their values and mission statement.
5) Dress the Part
Be sure to dress to impress. Prepare as if you would be meeting each interviewer in person. Take a moment to check your outfit for the interview. It creates a mindset that an important event is about to happen and can boost your confidence. The beauty of virtual interviewing is that details do not always show on the screen. So, wrinkles do not usually show up, or that last-minute, accidental water spill mark on your jacket.
6) Practice Makes Performance
Take a moment to practice your answers or possible interview questions online. Practice with headphones or your computer speakers to determine which one has the highest quality. LinkedIn has the 50 Most Common Interview Questions to help prepare in advance.
7) Answer the Question
Stay focused on the question asked and know there is a beginning, middle, and end to every story. Be clear and concise, and if you are not sure where to look, just lift your eyes to the camera at the top of your computer screen.
8) Be Thankful
Follow up with a thank you on LinkedIn, email, or regular mail within 48 hours – 2 weeks. A simple thank you shows gratitude and humility and reminds the interviewer you are still available.
9) Just SMILE
Smile and direct your eye contact to your camera on the computer screen while listening and speaking. A smile is worth a thousand words.
10) You Be You
Relax, be yourself, and let your Uncommon Genius shine through!
Please reach out on LinkedIn if you would like a virtual interview or resume review advice to enhance your professional portfolio (networking, resume, LinkedIn profile, interview skills, partnerships, or firm research). I am more than happy to assist in capturing and Celebrating your Uncommon Genius!
About the Author: Rachel Rubin Wilkins
As the Community Engagement Lead at UNCOMN, Rachel wears several hats spanning recruiting, PR, and event planning. She forges partnerships with a variety of universities, schools, non-profits, organizations, and stakeholders throughout the Saint Louis Metro region, extending to Illinois and Scott Air Force Base to build strong networks within our community. These partnerships create a diverse portfolio, enabling her to connect with the best and brightest talent in town.
Rachel is currently a mother of five, with three in college and two college graduates moving on to adult careers. She enjoys coaching “Team Wilkins” throughout life alongside her husband, Patrick Wilkins, as they encourage their own “players” to unearth their gifts and pursue their goals. She loves to cook, run 5ks, study Italian, be with family, and considers herself a lifelong learner, always seeking out ways to enhance her educational opportunities while helping others along the way.