Written By: Luc Vangrootel
It has almost been a year since ApplyBoard staff transitioned to working from home to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. A lot has changed during this time as we all work virtually, including how we connect with our colleagues, maintain our company culture, and network with job seekers.
Despite all of the changes to our work environment, ApplyBoard has been lucky to continue to grow, welcoming over 250 new team members to our ApplyFamily since March 2020. We are thrilled to be continuing this growth into 2021, with over 200 open roles across the organization right now.
Searching for a new job, and participating in an interview, can be a challenge, especially in these new circumstances. To help you on your job search, we have been compiling advice and recommendations from talent recruiters at ApplyBoard. The first article in this series covered what to expect from a virtual hiring process, with tips on how to connect remotely with recruiters on open roles, as well as how to prepare an application that stands out.
To help you better prepare for the next stage of the recruitment process, the virtual interview, we sat down with ApplyBoard’s Senior Executive Recruiter, Luc Vangrootel. Luc has more than 12 years of experience working in talent recruitment, supporting technology companies to attract the best people to their roles. To help you prepare for a virtual job interview, Luc provided five tips to help you stand out.
1. Research the Company and Position in Advance
While the setting of the interview may be different, that doesn’t mean that you should prepare any differently than you would for an in-person interview! Before your interview, it’s important that you research the company, become familiar with the role you are interviewing for, and learn more about the people you will be interviewing with.
To ensure that you can succinctly answer the interviewer’s questions, you want to be sure to review the skills the role requires, and be able to link those skills to your previous experiences. These are the key messages that the interviewer will be waiting to hear to determine whether you are a fit for the role that you’re interviewing for. To make sure that these are coming through clearly during the interview, you will want to prepare these statements in advance, and be sure to highlight them multiple times throughout the conversation.
Additionally, prior to your interview, be sure to learn as much as you can about the company. Take an in-depth look at their website, become familiar with the mission, vision, and values, and take a look at LinkedIn to read any recent company news. During your interview, make sure that you are referencing some of what you’ve learned, and be able to speak to areas of the business that excite you the most. If there is something specific that resonates with you, be sure that you are telling the interviewer! They want to learn more about your skills, but also the other things about you that would make you a great fit for their team.
Another great way to stand out in advance of the interview is by updating your LinkedIn profile page. Make sure that any key details and notable accomplishments are easy to follow. Also, research who you will be interviewing with. Check out their LinkedIn profile, review their experiences, and prepare some questions that you hope to ask them in advance.
2. Test Your Tech Before the Interview
By now we’re all used to the phrases “you’re on mute” and “can you hear me?”, it’s still recommended that you spend some time before your interview to make sure that your tech is working correctly!
Here’s a checklist of things that you should do before your interview:
- Ensure that your microphone, camera, and speaker are all working and you’re familiar with how to mute, unmute, and turn your camera on.
- Make sure that you have muted all notifications so that you can minimize the background noises that could come through during your interview.
- Decide how you’re going to sit in relation to the camera. I recommend facing the camera head-on.
- Check your background to make sure there’s nothing in the shot that would detract from your interview.
- Test your lighting, and ensure that you have plenty of light in front of you.
- If your internet connection goes out, or you have tech issues at any time in the interview, just hop back onto the call.
3. Set Up Your Environment Before Your Interview
While what you share about yourself in the interview is essential, how you present yourself is important, too! One way that you can do this is to ensure that you are preparing your physical environment before your interview, as well as being sure that you are dressing up for the occasion. You want to be sure to set up in a clean and professional setting, and ensure that your attire matches the companies dress code—yes, that means changing out of your pyjama pants!
Setting up your background, and the space visible on your screen also helps to make a good impression with the interviewer. You want to be sure that your background is free from distractions, and is a good representation of your personal brand. Make sure that everything visible is workplace appropriate, and there is nothing on display that may distract from your interview. If you are concerned about your setting, consider using a virtual background.
All of that being said, everyone understands that we are living through unique circumstances. If your children or pets end up popping into the interview, try not to get flustered, and continue on as planned. Remember that your interviewer is at home too, so most will be very understanding!
4. Practice Your Delivery
The way that we communicate through a virtual conversation is different than in person. In a virtual conversation, it’s harder to capture an individual’s full range of emotions, body language, and expressions. It also can be a challenge to pick up on social cues the same way you would in person.
When preparing for your virtual interview, it’s important to practice not only what you will say, but also how you will deliver these messages. Here are some of my tips to consider to stand out during your virtual conversation:
- Direct your eyes into the computer’s webcam, rather than the interviewer’s face on the screen.
- Don’t move! Try not to fidget, swivel your chair, type on the keyboard, or leave the frame of the video chat. These can all signal to the interviewer that you’re distracted.
- Taking notes during an interview is encouraged, but let your interviewer know so they’ll know you aren’t being rude or becoming distracted.
- Be mindful of how fast you’re speaking. Since it’s harder to read social cues in the virtual setting, give your interviewer plenty of time to listen and acknowledge your responses.
5. Follow Up
Following up is an essential part of any interview process, whether remote or in person. Within 24 hours of your interview, you will want to be sure to connect with the interviewer to thank them for their time, and where to reach you if they need to follow up. If there was anything that you said you would follow-up on, make sure that you are doing so in this email.
To really stand out, be sure to mention any highlights from your conversation. If there was something that you learned about the company or the role that really stood out, be sure to mention it. If there’s something about the role or company that you’re especially passionate about, don’t be afraid to mention it again. This is a great opportunity to remind your interviewer why you’re the best possible fit for the role.
We know how challenging the job search process can be, which is why the Talent Team at ApplyBoard has created resources to help you through this process. From readying your application, preparing for your interview, and getting the support you need during your first few weeks on the job, our team is committed to making sure that you feel confident and supported.
If you want to learn more about the open roles on our team or connect with one of our talent recruiters, make sure that you are following ApplyBoard on LinkedIn, and keeping your eye on applyboard.com/careers for our latest job postings.