As market conditions shift the way we hire, more companies are moving to virtual, online interviewing over face-to-face connections. The practice helps healthcare providers meet with candidates more quickly, especially those who are not nearby geographically, but even locals benefit from the virtual interview. They offer job seekers the opportunity to pitch themselves for a job without the hassle of commuting or waiting for an interview to begin.
The challenge for many candidates is acing the virtual interview. Being prepared to connect online with a recruiter takes a bit of advanced prep. Make sure to have the necessary bandwidth to assure a smooth conversation as well as familiarity with the platform you’ll be using. Nothing is more frustrating than a glitch in online conversation.
There are other ways to make a good impression, as well. Just as an in-person interview, you’ll want to put your best digital foot forward. A bit of advanced planning can help the technical aspect go smoothly. It can also highlight your professionalism and readiness to work.
Location, location, location
Remember that you’re not only providing a visual of yourself in an online interview, you’re giving the recruiter a peek into your home. Look for a location that has a neutral background or, at minimum, one that won’t distract. Your collection of action figures may impress your WOW peers but may not scream professionalism to a recruiter. In advance of the interview, practice with the software to see what the background reveals about you. Don’t overdo it with stacks of books or a cutesy Zoom background. Neutral tones and visuals are your best, professional-looking bet.
Dress the part
A best practice for any interview is to dress as you think the current employees in the company dress. If you want a job in a hip clothing store, wear your most bohemian attire. If you want a job in a professional setting, a shirt and tie or blouse and jacket is appropriate. You want the recruiter to be able to visualize you as part of the team. Showing up in a biker jacket and chains to an accounting interview may not land you the job.
With virtual interviews, you may be tempted to dress only from the waist up. If you’re not going to wear pants, make sure your lower half isn’t visible and don’t stand up for any reason during the interview.
You may be at home with family and pets during the interview but do your best to keep them at bay. Children, spouses, roommates and Fido can be a distraction. Warn them ahead of time that you need an hour of uninterrupted time and set up in a place in your home without a lot of foot traffic. You may be tempted to use the privacy of a bathroom, but the acoustics of tiled walls can make communication difficult.
Be on time or early for the meeting. It’s better to be the first person in the online chat than the last. Just as you wouldn’t want to show up late for an in-person meeting, make sure to be on time for a virtual one.
Wear your professionalism
Your mother scolded you to sit up straight and she was right. Slouched posture projects a lax attitude. You’re being assessed by the interviewer, not just on your skills but your presentation. You may feel comfortable talking to the recruiter (it’s his/her job to put you at ease), but avoid being too familiar or using foul language. Even though you’re in your home, you still want to project professionalism.
Do your homework
Be ready to discuss the position as you would a face-to-face interview. Know what the job description or posting outlined about the vacancy and be ready to discuss the relevant skills and experience you bring to the table. When you are well-versed in what the facility is looking for in a candidate, you’re better able to demonstrate what a good match you are for the position.
Ask smart questions
A bit of background on the company is helpful, as well. Understanding their mission and goals provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate where you and the facility connect. If they’re going through expansion, for example, you may ask the interviewer how quickly they anticipate growth. Look for clues on the facility’s website and social media pages for topics you can discuss that show you’ve done your homework and are familiar with what they do. It’s perfectly acceptable to ask how long they anticipate the interview process will take, if there are others you may be asked to meet with, and when they hope to make a final decision.
Remember your manners
Finally, remember to be polite. Thank the interviewer for his/her time and consideration at the end of the meeting and remember to send another thank you by email or text (if that’s how they connected with you) no later than 24 hours after the meeting. Include in your thank-you that you appreciate their time and look forward to joining the team. Good luck!