One-third of hiring managers know within the first 90 seconds if they’ll hire a candidate. With remote interviews becoming the new norm, it’s more important than ever to differentiate yourself from competitors in a large applicant pool and leave a lasting impression. These remote interview tips address the new dynamics facing candidates in the new normal.
There’s an ongoing labor and talent shortage in the tech industry; in January 2022, nearly 340,000 IT job openings across industries remained unfulfilled. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re seeing more companies move toward hybrid or completely virtual working environments, presenting an opportunity for a wider pool of candidates to apply and interview for these roles.
A virtual interview can either be a relief or a nightmare. Some people perform better with face-to-face interaction, while others feel more confident behind the screen, particularly with the emerging online landscape made common during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to virtual interviews, and it’s best to understand both in order to execute the best possible interview. Since a remote interview doesn’t bind applicants by geographic location like an-in person interview might, there’s most likely a greater pool of applicants. As such, it’s important to stand out in your interview – for the good reasons, not the bad!
Although this interview will be virtual, standard interview preparation tips still apply – be sure to dress professionally and arrive on time. Below we outline six key remote interview tips for a successful virtual interview.
1) Come prepared. Make sure you have done your research on the company you’re interviewing with ahead of time. Having little to no knowledge of the company is the most common mistake made during interviews. Showing a prior knowledge of the company culture and their values will help you better demonstrate what you will add to the organization.
2) Ensure your tech is ready. Consider calling a friend using the same technology and platform you will use during the interview. Be sure to get comfortable with all the tools you’ll need for the interview ahead of time. This ensures that your computer will run the software without technical difficulties or privacy settings unexpectedly restricting audio or video during the call. You’ll also want to be sure to check the strength of your internet connection to avoid lag and interruption. Additionally, this “practice round” gives you the opportunity to set up a professional background with good lighting and minimal distractions.
Pro tip: Take this test run as an opportunity to rehearse your interview conversation and monitor your speaking pace. Nervous job candidates tend to speak at a faster pace and skip pauses before important points, limiting your ability to effectively communicate your qualifications.
3) Be engaged. Don’t forget about body language just because of the screen. Body language boils down to what you’re communicating without speaking. These nonverbal cues can include your posture and eye contact (or lack thereof) as well as fidgeting and moving around, all of which will be easily picked up by your camera. Looking to the side of your screen or toggling between tabs on your computer will be distracting not only to you but to the person conducting the interview. Also be mindful to look into the webcam when speaking, rather than at your reflection. Many studies on facial behaviors during job interviews have shown that eye contact and smiling are particularly important to employers.
4) Avoid distractions. In accordance with correct body language and eye contact, be sure to avoid outside distractions. If you plan on taking notes during the interview, opt for pen and paper rather than typing on the computer. This will limit fidgeting as well as prevent the sound of typing from being picked up by your computer’s microphone, both things that may signal distraction to the interviewer. Have your phone set aside either completely off or on “do not disturb” to avoid your eyes diverting away from the screen.
5) Be yourself. This is perhaps the most important piece of advice in any interview, virtual or in-person. Try not to follow a script of what you think the interviewer wants to hear. Rather, engage in a meaningful, truthful conversation. Remote interviews, in particular, can make it tempting to follow a script or look at pre-written notes saved on your screen, but this could do more harm than good. Engaging in a meaningful, genuine conversation that showcases your energy and passion for the position while also demonstrating your individual skillset will leave a lasting impression.
Pro tip: Think of the three best qualities about yourself or qualifications you want to convey in your interview. These three qualities should be the impression you want your recruiter to remain in their head following the interview. For example, your dependability, creative problem-solving, and proficiency with database languages.
6) Follow up after the interview. After the interview, you can’t go wrong with a follow-up email to thank someone for their time. A good strategy is an email directly to the interviewer, conveying your enthusiasm for the role and your appreciation for the opportunity to speak with them.
Remote hiring is not going anywhere soon, so it’s essential to fully understand and prepare using these remote interview tips in order to stand out from your competition and ultimately secure your dream IT tech role.
In preparation for your remote interview, research the company and interviewer, ensure your technology is functioning properly, eliminate unnecessary distractions, and don’t forget to follow up with your recruiter shortly after. With the correct amount of preparedness, you can confidently tackle your remote interview and secure the job position as a prospective software developer. Jumpstart your tech career today and apply to one of Momentum's upcoming courses here.
This piece was adapted from a piece originally published by a partner in our business ecosystem, Bull City Talent Group. Learn more about BCTG here.
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