Given the demands of social-distancing and closures, many businesses have been forced to re-examine what the modern office looks like. Hint: it looks very familiar — your living room, dining room, or spare bedroom-turned-office. These virtual work environments have become more prevalent than ever, changing the industry and the ways you need to prepare to pivot within it. From getting the first interview to accepting the offer letter, it’s all happening without ever leaving your home.
Some of the classics still apply to preparing: dress well, show up early, and be ready to answer tough questions. However, with the removal of visible body language and the addition of technology, a virtual work environment comes with a unique interview process.
It can all feel a little intimidating, but there’s no need to fear. We’ve prepared the top six ways you can land your dream job in a virtual work environment and look like a natural in this socially-distanced workspace.
Video conferences are crucial for virtual companies to connect co-workers with one another and with clients. The most popular video-conferencing platforms include Zoom, Google Hangouts/Meet, Skype, and UberConference. Each platform offers a basic account for free.
Create an account. Practice joining a meeting, navigating the video and audio controls, and sharing your screen. Make sure your camera and microphone work and that you’ve downloaded any plug-ins you’ll need before your interview. Also, identify a location for your interview that offers an appropriate background, minimal background noise, and adequate lighting. Do a practice run with a friend or family member, so you feel confident when it’s time to meet with the recruiter or hiring manager.
Take the time to learn about the organization you’ve applied to. What do they do? Why do you want to work there? What about their mission or vision drew you in?
Look at their website and any publications they have available; study the history of the organization and the people they have on their teams. Prepare a list of questions that show you’ve learned what is readily available and want to continue building your knowledge through your questions. Doing this will show you’re interested in the company and capable of doing research.
Now is the time to ensure your LinkedIn profile is up-to-date, and to update any other social media presence you have so you’re putting your best virtual foot forward. Make sure your Facebook and Twitter accounts tell the story you want future employers to know about you.
If you use these accounts solely for personal connections, be sure to make them private. If you have a public presence, connect with or follow the recruiter you will be talking to and engage with the company on their social media personas as well.
Virtual companies have entire teams that work remotely 100% of the time. Doing so requires the employees to put in extra effort to build collaborative relationships that come more naturally in in-person settings. Since there’s no physical watercooler to connect with your co-workers around, you need to show your potential employer that you can work as a team and seamlessly fit into their existing company culture.
Be personable and engaging; make sure your personality shines through despite the distance. Your No. 1 goal is to make sure that your interviewer leaves the interview understanding who you are and why you would be a valuable asset to the team.
Monitor your body language to make sure it’s appropriate: smile, nod to demonstrate you’re listening, and maintain eye contact during the interview. You want things to feel as natural as possible. Appear engaged and relaxed. Position your screen and your camera so you’re looking at the person with whom you’re talking. This may require you to make a few adjustments, but you want it to feel similar to sitting in the same room eye-to-eye.
Show your appreciation for everyone who participated in the interview and hiring process. Use your meeting invitations and email chains to collect the contact information of everyone you met and spoke to. Make sure to take note of their names so you address them correctly in your email. Thank them for their time and attention, and include one specific detail from your meeting that will make you stand out and show your attention to detail.
Remember: this is your moment to demonstrate your ability to thrive in the virtual workplace. Bring classic interview skills to the table but also be prepared to showcase your adaptability in this changing virtual world.