Interviewing in a virtual world

Written by Ashley Sime and Cassandra Jastram
On August 29, 2023
The last three years have been a whirlwind, for a variety of different reasons! The pandemic has really shifted the way we do things these days, specifically the way recruiters do our job. As Recruiters at SDG, we’ve discussed this topic more than once and I’m willing to bet that we’re not alone. The concept of interviewing has changed, and while some organizations are doing these in-person again, the majority remain either partly or fully virtual. We wanted to share some advice on how to be successful in an interview, both in person, but also virtually.

First things first, whether it’s a virtual or in-person interview, there are some basic things you need to know to be successful in an interview:

  1. Be Prepared – read the job posting of the role you are interviewing for, and check out the website of the organization. Maybe even check out the LinkedIn profile of the person(s) you’re meeting with to help educate yourself on their background.

2. Ask questions – After reviewing their website, job posting, and maybe LinkedIn profile, formulate some questions you may have. This lets us know you are engaged, and interested in the opportunity.

3. Know your “why” – Why are you interested in working for the organization? Oftentimes, we’ll hear why you may be qualified for the role, which is great and very important. But equally important is WHY you are interested in our organization. We want to work with people who genuinely want to work for us. They share the same values we do and are looking for more than just a job.

4. Leave your Best Impression: Be Positive – Be truthful in what you know, and don’t know. Just because you don’t know something, doesn’t always mean you won’t be a good fit for the job. It just helps us better understand your skill set.

How interviews have changed

There are two main aspects of interviewing that have really changed in a virtual environment:

  1. Timing – when interviewing in person, you had to be sure you had enough time to drive to the interview site and park. Sometimes, you may even drive the route a few days prior to ensure you know where you are going. Today, commuting to the interview is a simple walk through your home. It’s much less time-consuming.

2. Dress code – Typically, you’d be ensuring you are dressed to impress. Maybe you were in a suit or dress. In virtual environments, you can get away with a nice shirt or blouse, and shorts on the bottom! The dress code is much less formal given we really only see you from the shoulders and up. 

What’s important for today’s virtual interview:

First Impressions are critical and set the tone of the interview:

  1. Be on time and test the video application you are using before the call

2. Have your camera on and look appropriate for the job you are interviewing for

3. Be aware of the environment around you, does it look and sound presentable for an interview?

   Be deliberate and thoughtful with your words:

  1. Long-winded answers are very distracting, and the message can get lost. Respond to questions with what you know from experience, and try to bring in real examples instead of stating what you should be doing or “by the book” answers

2. There is less time and opportunity for small talk during a virtual interview. Because of this, it’s important to showcase your soft skills when the time presents itself. How you say things can be just as impactful as what you say.

The biggest takeaway

Be memorable in a good way by coming across as thoughtful, driven and humble.

  1. Be Thoughtful– did you communicate that you are qualified for the job duties and have the experience that would allow you to be successful in the role?

2. Be Driven/Self-Motivated – were you interesting to talk to? Did you bring energy and enthusiasm to the conversation? Did you portray an interest in the role the company is hiring for?

3. Be Humble- without overselling yourself and your skills, did you come across as a team player?

In the end, we can all agree that interviewing, whether virtual or inperson, can be stressful and overwhelming However, proper preparation provides you with the tools and confidence to highlight your talents and experiences, separating you from the competition.