The job market has been competitive for the last several years, and the coronavirus pandemic has only made it more so. These days, more interviews are being conducted online. We wanted to provide some tips from our HR team, as well as some best practices for video interview set-up and lighting. We hope you find these useful!
Interview Tips from Megan Hoeh, PHR Corporate Recruiter
- Research the company before you apply. This is one of the easiest ways to impress a recruiter and make an impact. Being informed demonstrates to us that you are passionate and strategically looking for your next career, not just another job. So read the job description thoroughly and do a brief search before applying to any job.
Typically you will apply online and then a recruiter will prescreen your application. If you are identified as a qualified candidate, we will reach out to you for an initial phone screen. If the phone screen goes well, you will be scheduled for a face to face interview with the hiring manager for the position. Some positions may require multiple interviews or panel interviews depending on the department. If you are determined to be the most qualified candidate and accept the offer then we will begin the onboarding process, which includes a background check.
To make your resume stand out, use a reverse-chronological format filled with keywords. Before you apply for a job, review the job description, and compare the keywords in the job description to your resume and make edits to your resume to ensure you list all the keywords of areas where you have experience. Also, get creative and try to use power or action verbs whenever possible as opposed to generic verbs or a weak, passive voice.
Recruiters love to see data that supports your accomplishments. If you have saved the company money, increased sales, or took a record number of calls, let us see those numbers. As tempting as it may be, don’t use a template for your resume, use it as a guide to create a unique resume. A simple bullet style resume is best because it is easily read and typically does not cause formatting issues. Your resume can be more than one page, but no more than two and should only include 10-15 years of relevant work history.
Get familiar with the STAR interview method. Most interviewers are going to ask you behavioral-based questions and are looking for you to respond with a STAR answer. STAR is an acronym that stands for the Situation, Task, Action and Result. You can easily find sample interview questions online if you want to practice at home, but try not to sound rehearsed during your interview. Try to anticipate what you may be asked and formulate responses but don’t develop scripted responses. If you have a gap in your resume or have changed careers frequently, be prepared to speak openly and honestly about any concerns an interviewer may have.
Video Interview Best Practices
- Because the pandemic has moved meetings online for many organizations, including those that involve recruiting and hiring, it’s important to know how to prepare for a video interview. The key is to minimize distractions. You don’t want your interviewer’s attention pulled away from your well thought-out, articulate responses. The best way to ensure you maintain as natural interaction as possible is to maintain good lighting, a strong audio connection, and position the webcam at eye level so you’re not looking up at or down on the interviewer.
Good lighting will help you look your best. Photographer Thomas Mims advises that “the best position for your webcam light is behind your computer, at an indirect angle. You’ll want the light to be soft; a harsh light will cause distracting highlights and shadows. A lamp with a lampshade will do the trick. If your workspace faces a window, try hanging a sheer white curtain over the window to diffuse the natural light.” Below you’ll find some examples of how much lighting and camera angle can impact the overall impression you give to the interviewer.