With remote work becoming the normal in many offices, the hiring process often takes place online— a benefit to those looking for a job.
“The candidate gets the home-field advantage during a virtual interview,” says career and executive coach Emili Sperling Bennett, BA’08, MS’17. “Drinking coffee in your favorite mug and setting the thermostat to your preferred temperature, you’re able to really control the environment and set yourself up for success.”
Virtual interviewing has many positives—it cuts out travel and makes scheduling easier, for example—but it removes the interpersonal nuances that occur during an in-person interaction.
Bennett has a few tips to help make a strong virtual impression.
Gather Your Thoughts
When preparing for an interview, use the job description to formulate examples of your skills and experiences. Bennett suggests using the CAR approach—context, action, and results—to clearly connect the dots between what the employer is seeking and what you bring to the table. Write these examples on sticky notes to remind yourself during the interview.
Use Your Notes
Make sure to actually use the notes you’ve prepared. Bennett recommends not reading them verbatim but having them accessible. “Referring to notes shows you’ve done your homework,” she says. “It portrays to the interviewer that you’re a competitive candidate and are taking the process seriously.”
Set the Stage
Just like you would prepare your clothes for an interview, Bennett says also to prepare your space. Turn on your camera and look for ways to optimize lighting and clear distractions, such as a cluttered background and ambient noises. Stick the notes around your screen so you can easily glance at them during the interview. Finally, remember to look into the camera—not at your picture—to maintain eye contact.
“At this point, you’ve been selected for an interview, so you likely have the skills and experiences they are looking for,” says Bennett. “This conversation is a chance for you to show how you’re a good cultural fit for the role.”