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How to Have a Solid Virtual Interview From Your Living Room Instead of in a Conference Room As is the case in other industries, information technology companies now conduct a substantial amount of day-to-day business through the use of Zoom and other video conferencing platforms, and this includes virtual interviewing of new hires. Screening and evaluating candidates remotely has become standard operating procedure in our post-pandemic world. But you can’t give or receive a firm handshake online (or IRL anymore, for that matter), and making good eye contact is a lot harder when your eyes flicker between your webcam and your image on the screen. These are just two of the challenges faced by technical job seekers trying to score their dream information technology (IT) job, and those who want to make the right hiring decision, all through a laptop or cell phone. While technical interviews may now take place in living rooms instead of conference rooms, candidates for IT jobs still want to make a positive and lasting impression. Hiring managers still need to get a good sense and complete picture of the person under consideration. While many qualities that make for a good in-person interview remain the same – confidence, clarity, inquisitiveness, and preparation, for example – participants must make adjustments to account for the virtual nature of their technical job interview. Here are five video job interviewing tips that can make your next information technology virtual interview as productive, informative, and successful as it can be. Check Your Virtual Infrastructure Before Virtual Interviewing Imagine showing up for an in-person interview and not being able to open the door. Not the best start. If your internet connection is questionable or if you are unfamiliar with the videoconferencing platform to be used in your interview, it can similarly get things off on the wrong foot. Do a trial run with a friend or family member and check your microphone, headset, and camera. When you speak, ask the other person how you sound and whether they can hear you clearly. Make sure you fully charge your laptop, tablet, or cell phone before your interview. Also, double-check your username or handle; if your interviewer sees that they’re talking with “DonkeyFace_13,” that won’t be a good look for you. Make Sure Your Surroundings Are Quasi-Professional During the Coronavirus pandemic, we’ve all become used to seeing where and how people live or at least seeing the room they use for their videoconferences. Make sure that what appears behind you is neither cluttered, distracting, or embarrassing. Nobody expects you to recreate a shiny and sleek executive suite, but nobody wants to see a man cave or dirty dishes stacked in a sink either. Similarly, if you use a virtual background, keep it professional and minimalist. You don’t want to appear as a shadow of yourself or as shrouded in mystery, which is how you will look in poor lighting. Set up lighting that’s bright but not too glaring, and that illuminates your face from the front. Natural light tends to work best. Minimize the Likelihood of Distractions We’ve all seen the videos of restless kids or clueless spouses wandering into the frame or crashing folks’ important virtual business meetings. Find a location where such interruptions are least likely to occur and ensure that everyone else in your household is aware that you have a critical technical job interview happening. Make a “Do Not Disturb” sign that you can hang on your door during your interview and any other video meetings you will attend. Silence your cell phone and the ringers on any landline phones near you. Turn off any notification sounds and alerts on your computer as well. Related: The One Interview Question You Must Have an Answer For While most tech recruiters and/or hiring managers will empathize and be forgiving if an interruption does happen given our collective circumstances, it can throw you off your game and disrupt the rhythm and flow of the interview. Dress For Success Yes, it’s been nice to be able to work in sweatpants or a bathrobe when we feel like it. But a job interview is not one of those times. Professional business attire makes just as important an impression on video as it does in person. Your appearance conveys that you take the process seriously and treat it with respect. A great look will also make you feel more confident and on your game. Wear what you would wear to a face-to-face interview, but check how your outfit appears on screen to make sure that the colors or patterns don’t create a distraction. Patience, Projection, and Posture One of the more annoying aspects of videoconferencing is the tendency of participants to accidentally talk over each other due to delays and other technical glitches. Pause for a second or two longer than you otherwise would when responding to a question or making a comment to ensure that the other person finishes speaking. When you talk, do so with the same confidence and projection you would if you were in the same room. Similarly, sit up straight, don’t slouch, and try to avoid moving around or fidgeting. Honing Your Virtual Interviewing Skills Can Pave The Way For Real IT Opportunities The upheaval to the tech industry caused by COVID-19 is unprecedented. But the saying that out of great crises comes great opportunity remains true. Companies in Texas, Arizona, and nationwide are hiring, and your dream IT position is out there, even if you’re stuck inside. By refining and perfecting your virtual interviewing skills, you can give yourself the best chance of snagging that coveted job offer. Speak with a Tech Recruiter Get your questions about information technology virtual interviewing and job search answered by scheduling a free consultation with a professional tech recruiter at GTN. For more opportunities and other industry advice, follow us on Linkedin and/or Facebook. Also, keep tabs on our tech job list, we are constantly updating it with your next project. Before You Go…
Let’s talk about writing a tech job cover letter. But first, imagine your typical first conversation with a new acquaintance at a business meeting. Hello, it’s nice to meet you! What’s your name? What do you do? What do you want to do? It was really nice meeting you, I’d love to talk to you again sometime. Much like the first conversation you have with someone, a tech job cover letter should provide a high-level view of who you are and leave the reader wanting more. Your tech cover letter, along with a strong resume, will set the stage for why you would be great for a specific technical job. You should stand out without showing all your cards the first time they hear your name. Why is a Tech Job Cover Letter Important? The first impression given by a cover letter for a tech job leaves a greater impact than simply describing your previous employment and qualifications. Side by side, a resume of two individuals is easy to compare, allowing the hiring manager or IT recruiting firm to see who is qualified or not. However, a strong cover letter for a technical position can move you to the top of the pile for multiple reasons. Bullets points on a resume leave little room to apply communication skills. On a tech job cover letter though, you have to articulate the highpoints of your technical experience that make you the best candidate for the job. Especially if the job you are applying for is client-facing, clients with the strongest communication skill will stand out among the masses. The other reason that a tech job cover letter is so important when partnered with a resume is that it’s the first sign an organization has as to whether or not you will fit in their company culture. The way in which you write your cover letter and the tone you use if done correctly can make you seem like a great fit on paper, giving you a leg up when you come into the office. For example, if you are joining an IT firm, then a more technical/ professional tone could be appropriate. However, if you are looking to do web design for a marketing firm, being a bit more conversational may strike the proper cord. So do some research on the company before you submit your tech job cover letter. What to Put on the Cover Letter for a Technical Job Always keep your tech job cover letter short and simple! The Intro First, address the hiring manager by name if possible or simply address it, Dear Hiring Manager of the (insert position your applying for and their name) and introduce yourself. Follow that with personal anecdotes and your profession. If possible, include an anecdote that is unique or ties you to the business or company. The Middle Here, explain your technical career work history and accreditations that make you a strong candidate for the tech job. Describe the leadership positions that you have held while detailing the growth you have seen over the course of your career. The key is to focus on information that is NOT in your resume. Now you don’t have to detail every single event in your professional life, but detailing your development and growth through various technical jobs and accreditations will help the hiring manager understand who you are and lay a solid groundwork for your interview. If the tech recruiter or hiring manager sees something intriguing in the letter that he wants to know about, he can ask you in an interview. This alone would set you apart from the crowd because he will remember you when you walk in and after you walkout ‘Ohhh you’re the guy that did that one thing that one time, tell me more about it’ See? You stand out! The Conclusion In the end, you want your tech job cover letter to articulate the mutually beneficial relationship that hiring you would make. Detail what about them as a company is attractive to you, or why the technical position you are applying for is intriguing to you. Couple that with a statement on how you would be an asset to their organization and boom you have the perfect tech job cover letter! Need Help Finding a Tech Job? If you are looking for that next opportunity to put your new tech job cover letter to use, please send your résumé to GTN Technical Staffing to be contacted by a recruiter. If you’re not sure if you are ready or not, browse our search technical jobs website and see if anything interests you. Before You Go Hot Coffee Here: A Look At Contract Java Developer Opportunities Trends for Women in IT Careers – From a Tech Headhunter