What is a virtual interview?
A virtual interview is an interview that takes place remotely, sometimes over the phone, but often using technology such as video conferencing. If you are currently searching for a job, it is likely that you will be asked to do your interviews virtually. Here are some pointers to set yourself up for success!
1. Test your technology before the interview
Virtual interviews require tools such as a camera and microphone on your computer, a software program (often Google Hangouts or Zoom), and a reliable internet connection. Prior to the interview, you will want to test all of your technology to ensure it works effectively.
30 minutes before your interview, check your internet connection and sign into the video or phone meeting provided by the hiring manager or HR representative. Test the sound and video to ensure everything is working properly.
2. Dress to impress
Dress the same as you would in a face-to-face interview. You will appear professional as well as feel more confident!
3. Get prepared
– Plan your answers for common interview questions
– Research the company's Mission Statement
– Review the job description while noting your relevant qualifications
– Prepare relevant examples of your achievements and experiences
4. Limit all distractions
Find a quiet location with few distractions. Make sure the room is clean and professional-looking. Place your computer on a desk or table instead of your lap or couch.
5. Always use professional body language
Sit up straight and ensure your camera is placed so your face is in the middle of your screen.
In normal interviews, you shake hands with your potential employer at the beginning and the end of the discussion. In a virtual interview, you will need to find other ways to greet and exude enthusiasm, like smiling while giving a confident wave.
6. Build rapport
Be prepared to talk about a common interest, asking how your interviewer’s experience has been with virtual interviews, or find some other neutral topic.
7. Follow up after the interview
Reach out to the HR representative or hiring manager you have been speaking with to get a list of your interviewers’ emails and send them a follow-up email within 24 hours of the interview. Focus on thanking them for their time, reiterating that you are the person for the job, and letting them know you are available if they have any additional questions.
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Listed below are common tough interview questions with examples of how you could answer them. When preparing for your interview, think about a few different scenarios of tough questions you may be asked depending on your industry.
1. What critical feedback do you most often receive?
Employers ask this question to see if you have a sense of self-awareness and that you are actively working on self-improvement. To answer this question, think of a piece of criticism you have been given, or a weakness of which you are aware of. Provide a brief explanation of the critique and how you are working to improve it.
2. Tell me about a time you overcame an obstacle.
Employers ask this question to understand how you deal with difficulties. Try providing a brief summary of the situation, your role in the situation, the action you put into place to resolve the issue, and how the issue was resolved as a result.
3. How do you manage stress?
Employers want to know if you will manage stress in the workplace constructively with a good attitude to maintain good company culture. You can answer this question by explaining how you typically respond with an example to support it.
4. What have been your most positive and negative management experiences?
Employers will want to understand what you like and dislike in certain management styles. This helps them determine whether or not you would be a good fit under a certain manager. Always be as honest and tactful as possible.
5. Why are you leaving your current position?
This helps the employers ensure the opening will be a better fit than your last one. Answer this question honestly but refrain from providing too much personal or negative detail.
6. How many pennies, if stacked on top of each other, would equal the height of the Empire State Building? (Or other questions with no right or wrong answer)
Employers may ask questions like this to understand your thought processes. They want to gauge whether you can think analytically, deal with ambiguity and communicate clearly. You should take a few minutes to gather your thoughts. Even if your answer seems silly or wrong, employers are simply looking for an answer with logical support.
7. Why do you want to work here?
Employers ask this question to make sure you have put thought and research into your decision to seek employment at their company. Be sure to research their Mission Statement before the interview!
8. Why should we hire you?
Employers might ask this question to understand what differentiates you from other candidates they might be interviewing. Explain how your experience, skills, and attributes make you the best fit for the job. Make sure to review the job description beforehand to understand what qualities they are looking for.
9. Do you have any regrets?
Let them know that you have made mistakes and you have learned from them to become better. You might also select a regret or shortcoming that is both professional and would not hinder your ability to perform the job in any way.
10. Tell me about yourself
Provide a quick synopsis of your education, highlights of your professional experience, and what brought you to the position you are applying for. Be sure to focus on any achievements.
11. What is your greatest achievement?
Think about a recent example that is ideally related to the job. Briefly explain the achievement, your role in it, and why it is valuable to you.
12. What salary are you looking for?
You should come prepared to discuss your pay expectations. Do you research in determining a reasonable salary.
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During this time, it is understandable to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and isolated. However, that does not mean your career needs to suffer. This could very well be the perfect moment to reevaluate your profession and consider a new direction. Instead of being glued to the television, channeling that nervous energy into formulating a career strategy could be highly productive!
How long has it been since you dusted off your résumé or updated your LinkedIn profile? Now is the time to reflect on your professional achievements. Instead of listing your duties and responsibilities relating to each position, quantify your accomplishments. Employers want to see workers who can achieve results. Consider hiring a career coach or resume writer to support you and help you move your career forward! Resources like these can help you avoid some of the biggest job search mistakes.
The Job Search
Although many companies are freezing new positions and laying off workers, others are hiring like crazy! Check out Amazon… they are bringing on 100,000 workers to meet the surge in demand as more people turn to online shopping. Check out online learning companies, grocery stores, and remote meeting and communication companies like Zoom and Slack. In addition, delivery food services like Postmates, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash are also seeing higher demand for their services. While it may seem that the world is at a standstill, now is not the time to press the pause button on your job search. Stand out from the crowd by putting yourself out there now!
Prepare to Interview Remotely
Many companies are now turning to virtual interview methods like video conference calls. Be prepared… make sure you have a strong, reliable internet connection. Test your software and camera prior to the interview. Dress like you would for an in-person interview. Practice looking into the lens and making eye contact. Remove all distractions (including the kids and the pets) and ensure that the interviewer will not be hearing your doorbell ring. Remember, if you prepare well before the big day, you will make a favorable first impression!
Now is not the time to take a break from your career. By focusing on how to move your career forward, you will be better positioned to take advantage of opportunities when the situation inevitably bounces back!
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1. Never upload “JUST ANY RESUME” to a Federal job posting. Federal Resumes have a specific format.
2. Always read the announcement carefully. Match the KSAs listed in the announcement to your resume.
3. Ensure that your accomplishments give proof of your past achievements which are relevant to the job posting.
4. Always include start and end dates, as well as hours per week, for work history.
5. Make sure that your resume is the proper length. A five-page resume is your best bet!
6. Don’t wait until the last minute to apply. Deadlines are usually tight due to the high volume of applicants.
7. Aim for ten years of work history. HR specialist want to see what is most recent and relevant.
8. Always be sure to upload your resume along with all of the documents required. Otherwise, you will be found ineligible for the position.
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