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Virtual Job Interview Tips for Candidates

Videoconferencing technology has skyrocketed over the last two years and appears to be here to stay. A recent Indeed poll found that 82 percent of interviewers adopted virtual interviews for candidates during the pandemic and 93 percent expect to use virtual interviews in the future.

Within the last year, the Broadleaf recruiting team has hosted 53 hiring events and interviewed over 5,000 candidates. That’s a lot of people to meet with as a recruiter, and to go up against as a candidate. As a recruiter, there’s a point where interviews start to blur together. This is not because of a fancy hazy filter, but because the majority of virtual interviews fall into the same interviewee pitfalls:

  • Sharing too much information
  • Appearing uninterested in the opportunity
  • Criticizing previous employers or colleagues
  • Failing to connect skills and/or experience to the role you are interviewing for

There are other candidates, like Hannah, who showed up at one of Broadleaf’s recruiter hiring events. She researched Broadleaf—and even though she didn’t have recruiting experience—she took the time to read up on the role. Hannah came prepared with examples of how her inside sales and collegiate project management experience relates to recruiting. She showed further interest in the role by asking follow-up questions like, “The job description mentioned reaching out to passive candidates, what tools do you use to find these individuals?” Hannah also researched pay scales, came prepared to talk salary, and followed up post-interview with a thank you email. By impressing everyone during the interview, she became a Broadleaf new hire.

If you’d like to replicate Hannah’s success read the tips below!

  • Use LinkedIn: If you have the interviewer’s name(s), look him/her up on social media. By learning about his or her experience and work history, you can identify commonalities or talking points to bring up during the conversation.
  • Research the company: Take the time to review the company’s website, Google, and social media platforms. Get key bullet points of the organization like its history, recent announcements/news, leaders, competitors, customers, and culture.
  • Come with questions: Remember that you also get to ask questions during the interview, so come prepared with three to five to ask the hiring team. Here are some sample questions to help you stand out:
    • What would make me successful in this role six months from now, one year from now?
    • Why is this opportunity available?
    • What are the most immediate tasks/projects that need to be addressed?
    • What have you enjoyed most about working here?
    • What does a day in this position look like?
    • What forms of professional development opportunities does your organization provide?
  • Re-read the job description: Before the interview, re-read the job description, highlight or bullet point the specifics of the role, and be prepared to discuss how your skills align with those needs. If it’s difficult for you to brag about yourself, check out the book Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion by Meredith Fineman.
  • Find the right space: It’s not always possible to be in the “perfect” space, but try to avoid having a light source directly behind you and select a quiet area free from potential interruptions. If you’re unhappy with your background options, select an image or blur filter on the platform or customize your background for free on Canva.
  • Testing 1-2-3: Remember to check your audio and video connections. This step is often overlooked, but takes less than a minute and will help you avoid dreaded technical difficulties. In some cases, you can even log in for a practice run before your interview, test the audio and video settings, and ensure your software is up to date.
  • Keep your talking points close: The best way to read notes—without the interviewer noticing—is to place them around your monitor. Use sticky notes or tape them on the wall behind the screen so you can subtlety glance to view your talking points.
  • Make “eye contact” with the camera: Stay engaged during the conversation and remember to look into the camera. If it helps, put googly eyes on your webcam so you know where to look and avoid staring at your image.
  • Have water nearby: Whenever you need a second to compose your response to an interview question, take a sip of water.
  • Take notes: Utilize an app like iOS Notes to write down names of interviewers, follow-up comments, questions, and thank you note reminder details.

Most importantly, remember to smile!