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How to Nail Your Next Virtual Interview

Work Awesome EP101

How to Nail Your Next Virtual Interview

Work Awesome EP101

With large companies going 100% remote/virtual, it’s now more important than ever to know how to rock your virtual interview. In this episode, we’ll take a look at a few tips that will help you nail your next virtual interview.


Welcome to the Work Awesome podcast. This is the first episode and before we jump in I just wanted to go over a couple of things that I forgot to do at the beginning. This week we have CQ Morgan and Sarah joining us to talk about nailing a virtual interview. This topic is pretty prevalent right now in the workforce because of all the virtual interview and going on. I hope you find a lot of value in what we talk about and if you do be sure to comment on where that value was exactly in the video. Leave a timestamp so other people can find it and hopefully.

Get some value out of it themselves. If you know somebody that wants to make a career transition or is just out of college, please share this with them. There's a lot of great information in here about virtual interviewing. I really hope you enjoy this first episode. Let us know how we did in the comments. I'll be in there chatting with you if you're not following me on Facebook or Instagram. I really hope that you do after this so that we can connect and talk about all of the great things that we talk about in these podcasts a little bit more.

Welcome to the Work Awesome podcast. Today we have Sarah Erin CQ and Morgan Howe on to talk about nailing your virtual interview, so I guess we'll just jump right in and talk about first. Some of the pros of virtual interviewing. Sarah, you want to start with from a recruiter standpoint. What that looks like and.

What you've seen?

As the main recruiter for the company.

Sure, so one of the great things about having a virtual environment for interview is that we don't have to worry so much about where the candidate is located. So we have some more freedom if you know if you're having an initial interview with a candidate and you're not really sure if the candidates would be a great fit for the company and the candidates. Not really sure if they want to relocate or if you have remote options. It's a great way to really have a broader pool of candidates.

So I think primarily that's one of the big things. One of the other things is that in this type of environment it.

Frees up more time. You really only have to just be available for that, you know specific time period. You don't have to worry about drive time or you know making sure that you're showing up at the right location. You have the comfort of your home or your office. Whatever facility you're choosing to tape out of, so there are good deal of benefits that having a virtual interview can can definitely bring to the table.

Yeah, definitely. I think all those points so I know travels big. It's a super like you said it's a time saver. You don't have to block out your whole day to go to an interview. You could literally just do it in a one hour chunk during lunchtime or or during your normal work day. So that's really cool. CQ Morgan, do you have anything? Any kind of prose to add into that?

I think Sarah hit every everything on the head. I mean, I, I thoroughly appreciate you know, provided everybody has.

The right technology in there get to the computer with you know with the camera and things that you can do it quickly. And like Sarah said, you don't have to do. You don't have to.

Wait, sometimes it happened really fast.

You can talk to people from across the country.

They don't need to travel.

All those things are a plus.

Yeah, the travel can be a huge investment and even thinking about moving forward in a post covid world. You know, think about you. You're looking for a new job. You have to take a sick day because all of a sudden an interview pops up and you don't want your boss to know where we're going. But maybe you're just running out to an appointment and you can run home for a quick video interview. I think you know it could really change interviewing, moving forward out of our current situation as well.

Right, and even for avian. I know we've recently hired a few folks that are not in Maryland, where headquarters at and that's actually beneficial for them as well as us because it's it's cost saving on on many fronts for the company, as well As for the employer that we're hiring. So that's really cool about cons. Is there any kind of disadvantage you see in virtual recruiting or virtual interviews?

The sequel looks like you have some stuff to say.

Aaron, I reached the team these together, and at first I think some of the cons of kind of washed away as we've done more and more of the extinct one of the things that you don't really get to see the body language so much, you know.

You really only get a headshot sometimes then.

You don't get to see the.

Full person, right? You don't get to see them on their animation is not the same when they're in front of you as when they're on a camera, so that's just one of the small aspects that I found that was different that I needed to get accustomed to.

I can be just as challenging, oh sorry, and I I can be just as challenging for the candidate as it can for us. Because, you know, I whenever I've been interviewing, I'm looking for that verbal that are non verbal confirmation. You know, the lean in the head, nodding. I want to make sure that you're understanding what I'm saying and that you know you're picking it up. And we're we're we're connecting in that way and that can be definitely challenging to do over video, but it sounds like you've got the hang of it, so that's great.

You start to pick up different.

You look for different cues on video.

When the person sitting in.

Front of you and after a while.

You get used to it.


I definitely think that some people, probably.

Prefer virtual rather than in person, and vice versa 2.

I know for me I've done some virtual kind of test rounds in the interview process where you would have to first record a video you didn't even get to talk to anybody. You had to record a video, just talk straight to the camera and they would decide from there and it is. It's very challenging to kind of show who you are when you're just talking to a camera instead of talking to a person Sarah, do you have anything to add?

Well, one of the nice things.

For us at AVN, about having the.

In our avian space interviews is I feel like the candidates get a good feel for the avian environment. They get to see you know people working at avian there, interacting with several different people other than just the hiring manager and the recruiting team. So I do think that that is something that gets lost in that virtual interview. They're not getting as much of a feel for the avian environment because they're really, you know, looking at CQS, ophis, or looking at Morgans home.

So instead of seeing the space and interacting with some of the other avian employees, so I do think that that is one of the things that gets lost.


I feel like.

Avian also has like a very welcoming office, which is nice. Everyone usually has a smile and will wait and say hi.

Something different than I think most companies. But yeah, it's definitely hard to like. I imagine one of those robots that has a like iPad at the top of it, roaming around, and that's how we eventually would get it or candidate would get a tour of an office in the future, but.

Yeah, I don't know why you can't make that happen now.

Yeah, we just need a Segway in command.


We kind of talked about this a little bit, but the difference is So what are like the big differences in interviewing in person?

Compared to interviewing virtually, I know we talked about the kind of disconnectedness between the candidate and the interviewer. Is there anything else that you think is hugely different for you guys?

At first it was a big adjustment, especially for me. I mean sorry HR professional. It was probably easier for her to adjust for me, I didn't.

I didn't get that personal feeling.

So and to touch back on what we've already said, when you do it like this.

The applicant, the candidate, doesn't get the full measure of who we are as a company. They just see two people, two talking heads.

You know you walk into alien. That is your first introduction. You welcome to the atrium there and you created so nicely, you know, and then still professional. And it's a process that introduces that applicant to avian, and we don't get that one more, just 101 on a camera.

Do our best to tell him about the company.

I think that's a big.

Influence when new perspective customers or clients or whomever walk into our building and we are.

Right, I think one of the other issues can be, and I think CQ touchdown a little bit when he was talking about the pros. He said if if technology is working well and everything set up, there is always that possibility that there are things that are out of your control during during the process. You know you could have distractions so that is one of my biggest pieces of advice is to kind of know work ahead and make sure that as much.

As you can, you can't always proceed. You know the Wi-Fi going out or things like that, but try to and also you know that being said, kind of have some contingency plans in your back pocket if your Wi-Fi goes out, then can you use a hotspot? Is there somewhere you can go to get that Wi-Fi access? And and here's the thing where I mean, you can see we're all, you know, we all are very understanding, but Oh my goodness, if we know that you had a big storm, you know something major happened and your wife I went out and you still show up for the interview. That really shows something that you know that.

It's just so so as understanding as we are, you know that that definitely does send a message, so I would.

You know no.

Matter what there can be little things that happen. Technology that are out of your control and that can be very discerning to people they they know they don't necessarily have a way to manage that, and you're trying to show your put your best foot forward and maybe you know your.

All of a sudden your laptop that was working 5 minutes earlier, the camera isn't working anymore or something else is going on so that that is definitely one of the downsides of having the virtual environment.

Yeah, definitely even I mean I am pretty tech savvy and sometimes have tech problems right beforehand and it's it's embarrassing when it's in person, but definitely stressful if you're on the interviewing side and you're getting ready to make your first impression.

To have to problem solve and then immediately jump into a conversation where you're trying to kind of present your best self. Definitely exactly saying be a stressor for me at least.


How about the biggest mistakes? Have you seen any buddy? This is where we get into like.

The the the.

Michev of virtual interviewing. Have you seen anybody make big mistakes during an interview? Things just kind of steer away from if you're if you are going to be interviewing in the future, just kind of tips and tricks to steer away from those big mistakes.

Yeah, I think the biggest one that I take notice of is.

When they.

Are not prepared for the position that they have.

When they can't speak to the job description or they can't translate their resume to the job description, because many of the resumes come down off these job posts and they're not exactly tailored to our specific position, but our talent management team can identify their qualities and we will review them, and together we then bring them in for an interview.

At that time.

I want to see them make the connection between.

What they applied for the job posting and their resume. And sometimes they can't do that. And that's that's one of the things that I that I.

Identify and I try to help them.

Through because sometimes.

They'll do a generic resume and it doesn't exactly.

Apply, but we try to pull that information out from them or they will specifically apply with a resume and they still can't make that connection to the job description.

So that's a big big.

Mistake on their part. They need to research to know what.

Have a good idea of what it is.

Yeah, I think there's this like slight misconception that you don't have to prepare for a virtual interview as much as you do an in person interview and researching the job in the specific job that you're going to be doing is definitely a big part of that for me. Communication specialist could mean.

A multitude of things for a bit, it means something different than it would for some other organization. So walking through the door and being able to interview and talk specifically to the job or virtually interviewing for the job definitely researches is key.

Yeah, you hit the nail on the head. You need to prepare exactly the same way as you would for an in person interview, and in addition to researching the position, understanding exactly what the scope is, you also need to research the company. One of my personal pet peeves is when people don't know how to pronounce our company's name. I'm usually I'm usually gracious, but for me that is that says I'm detail oriented and I did my homework and I'm going to do my homework and continue to be detail oriented as an employee for you. So it's the small things that really, really can make a big impact.

Yeah, yeah we are not the water company we are now. The defense contractor. AVN yes Sir, I know you have stories beyond stories I'm sure.

So one of the things.

Too is and you can look up, you know, just looking at this podcast if you're able to view the visual here.

When you're interviewing, this is the and it's a video interview. This is the impression that you're leaving on the interviewers, so the background what that looks like, you know, are there people coming in and out of the room?

I appreciate it when people dress for the interview and make it. You know they're showing up and they look like they're ready to interview for a position. So all these things that you know, we have the visual just because you're not coming into a building doesn't mean that you're not making an impression on you know the way that you feel about the job and how you prepared it. I mean, I would go ahead and try to do.

A little test run, you know if you if you know you're going to be using zoom and you have access to zoom, you know create your own little meeting and have a friend give you advice on what it looks like, what your screen looks like with you in there.

There's no reason you can't do that ahead of time. Anan really put your best foot forward.

Yeah, especially with all the free tool zoom is great because it is free. You can sign up if you connect with somebody else. You could connect with yourself if you have two devices, you can set one up kind of right next to each other just to see what the videos like and see. Like you said, your background which rolls into some other tips that I found personally online using like those virtual backgrounds. They're cool, but they might not be the best for an interview.

Hey, it shows that you're trying to hide what's behind you. Be the quality of the video isn't as good on the receiving end, so for the the interviewer.

Might come through a little distorted or at a lower quality.

The others.

When you're into heating, why are you interviewing for?

A job or outer space, right?

You don't need employment weird things.

Here getting out.

And and to that point, I also think that having good lighting is important. You want to make sure that the interviewer can see you, because this facial cues are so important. You want to make sure that you're not, you know, like the the witness in a murder documentary hidden. You want to make sure people can see your face.

Definitely yeah, I mean and we can talk more about that aspect of it.

There are a ton of video tips for virtual anything. Virtual meetings, interviews using the webcams there are right now. There's a ton out just because everyone is working from home and using him.

Having a window right behind you that's super bright. Mine is kind of bright, but it's not too bad, but sitting like directly in front of the other side, yeah.

Some problems with with or with the background.

Mic quality, so making sure that your laptop or you have headphones in.

So that the interview or we can hear you clear an well and series talking to me again.

Goodbye Siri.

Hey, any other tips that could help anybody from you guys?

So one of the things to always know and this is virtual environment or in person, interview, phone interview, whatever your recruiter is your friend. So if you have questions about what the how the environment can be set up if you can't tell necessarily from the invite, who's going to be included, please feel free to ask the recruiter or the person who's reaching out to you about the interview those questions because they really want you to be successful. They wouldn't be spending their time.

Interviewing you if they didn't think that you were a valid candidate, and if they didn't want you to be successful. So if you do have reservations, maybe this is your first virtual interview. Maybe you haven't interviewed in a long time, it's OK to ask those questions that the recruiter is going to be happy to answer those questions. You know there's a subject matter expert for interviews in their company and they, like I said, they want you to be successful and they want you to feel comfortable. We don't want to bring a candidate in.

And have them be so nervous, because then we're nervous too. So whatever you can do to really make himself relax and feel prepared for that interview, that's going to benefit everyone.

Then, finding like initial common ground is always a great thing to do in an interview, and I know it can be a little challenging 'cause you're not walking through a space seeing what someone's wearing. Sometimes those are the easy things to pick up, but we're all right now in this weird new scenario where we're interviewing people remotely. So what we're doing it? You know you're participating in it. We all have, you know, some weird stories to share. I'm sure some some blips, so I think that's a great place to start if you're looking to kind of break the ice, make a little connection. Thing like that helps.



How about so we talked about?

Taking those kind of personal keys, things that we would normally get in person from somebody interviewing that we don't really get virtually to it, or it's harder to get from from them virtually.

Are there any tips that you could give to somebody to show their authentic selves to show their personality through video, anything?

In that room.

Yeah, I think don't be afraid to express yourself.

On video, as you would normally in person.

And then.

At the at the beginning of the videos you see.

Stiffness, but then sometimes towards the end people loosen up and they become a little bit more comfortable with the process. Maybe it was their first video interview, you know?

So it takes a little.

Bit longer I think on the video it doesn't person you know, because like I said, once they walk in through our door, that's when they start.

You know easy enough, but on video.

It takes a little longer, so don't be afraid to express yourself a little bit. Be personable with your interviewers. Ask questions you know seem interested, do your research prior to like. Like Morgan mentioned, you don't and.

Yourself and yourself in front of.

The camera so that we can see you.

And for who you are.

Now it's like easy ways to show that you're interested. Are making sure that your visual head nods going on. You're smiling, you're saying, yeah yeah, you know like that's exactly what I'm talking about. Just giving people, giving your interviewer or your interviewee the confirmation that like, yes, we're on the same page and it you, you know, be yourself. But you might have to be a little more present with those aspects just to make sure that they come across the way that you want them to.

Well, one of the other things is to. This sounds very simple, but when we bring someone in to interview at AVN we give them a bottle of water and it's fine to have that bottle of water next to your computer. You know, ready to take a drink. It gives you a minute to kind of collect your thoughts. You know it also helps you stay hydrated. It can help calm nerves, so that's totally fine too. You know, whatever you would have it in normal interviews that I need to make sure that you have that available to make sure you have a place.

Where you can take notes if they if you know CQ is talking and you don't want to interrupt him but something kind of sparked and a question for you, make sure you have that little notebook or whatever they are to write things down and then when he is done talking you can ask him that question other more later on in the interview. If it doesn't get answered.

Yeah, definitely so something that an idea that just popped into my head. What if we did a scenario so?

Say I'm interviewing with one of you guys an my video just completely drops out. I realized it on my end. What's the what would you expect in your end to happen?

So are you interviewing answer? We're interviewing you.

You guys are interviewing me. OK, so I'm the interviewe.

Yeah yeah, OK.

Here you are now.

Can we still hear you, yeah.

No, everything's gone. So basically the call drops. What what do you expect in that situation?

Well, I would reach out to the candidate if I was if.

It was an interview that I.

Was the record before I would reach out to the candidate via their phone number and just see you know if something happened that we could fix. I mean, we're going to be patient. We're going to try to get you back on there if we can't get the video access again, then we'll probably use a dial in and just try to get that interview completed.

I think I'd be really impressed if they were able to call me before I called them, right?

Area where we lost video. Their connection was sketchy, so the proportion of it had to we had to.

Shut that down.

And then we lost the audio altogether. So we went from video audio, just audio loss that we immediately scrambled in our talent management team immediately. Got the person on the phone and we finished the interview, the.

Kill, but we were able to continue and at least give the candidate you know their proper time.


And I don't think anyone is going to hold that against the candidate because we all understand that things happen. You know we don't. We don't have control over the Wi-Fi or or the you know hotspot or those types of things. So we, you know, we definitely roll with it. And I think the biggest thing is to understand that you know we do understand and we don't want that to create a frustrating situation for the candidate will fix it. If we can't figure out a way to fix it right then, then we'll reschedule it. But no one needs to get.

Yes, too, too flustered about it.

Yeah, so for me as as the interview E.

I would just kind of take a breath.

Regather myself

take a breath and then if you have our number you know go ahead and reach out which you should have the number or an email because we're almost always on email as well, whichever way and just say hey you know what?

I don't know what happened, but I would love. Yeah, I was really enjoying that interview. Could we? Is there a way we can finish that? I'm in another environment.

It's a good opportunity to show that you can maintain your composure under pressure and roll with the punches so long with smile on your face when you come back like we're all good to go.

If you can throw a joke in there about why you lost.

Internet that is bad. Yeah, choir points, yeah.

Alright guys, anything any other kinds of tips or tricks that you can think of before we wrap this up?

Yeah, I think we had a lot of them making sure that your tech is squared away that you are near your Wi-Fi router. If you're using Wi-Fi being wired in using a Ethernet cable to connect your computer is probably the best thing. Making sure your audio is good, your videos good. Your background that there's no distractions in your background or in your foreground for that matter.

And like you said, be yourself. All of those are really great, and if.

There's nothing else to add in, I think.

We are good to go.

So thank you guys for joining me today.

On the next episode of the Work, Awesome Podcast will be talking about questions to ask during your interview, so that's an interesting one. I always go into interviews or I have gone into interviews without questions and never realized that that's something that I know, something that that recruiters expect.

That'll be an interesting one. So definitely TuneIn I got thank you guys again for joining us.

Thank you again for this Q.

Thanks again.

Thank you guys so much for listening to the first episode of the work. Awesome podcast. Hopefully you found some great information in there. Again, let us know in the comments what you found. Give us a timestamp so we can share that with other folks and hopefully they find value in it too. If you're not following me on social media, Ian Wolbert on all of those platforms. It's also linked below. I have a bunch of great information coming out around virtual interviewing, so definitely keep an eye on my social platforms for all of that. The Work Awesome Podcast is brought to you by.

Avian is a 49% employee owned company founded by retired U.S. Navy test pilots who believe passion and talent are the right traits to get the job done. Avian operates in a culture that thrives on innovation, creativity, and the entrepreneurial spirit. Instead of offering services through mere business transactions, avian is redefining the government services industry by creating meaningful experiences and connecting talented people with important work. The passion that avians employees have for its work build better partnerships for the future. An avian's unique talents create real solutions.

At avian we move fast, take risks, and don't settle for the status quo to learn more, visit Avians website at avian.com. That's a VIA n.com.