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Tips on how to have a successful virtual interview.

The COVID 19 pandemic continues to redefine how aspects of operations take place in health care in many different areas. One area that was impacted during the pandemic was hiring and onboarding.

For my department, pre-pandemic, nearly 100% of interviews were in-person. There was a continued need for hiring during the pandemic, but interviews had to be conducted virtually.

This was a change for all involved, requiring adaptation and some creativity to ensure a smooth experience. Although we are slowly returning to some pre-pandemic activities, I feel some of this virtual interaction is here to stay. Interviews may be one such adaptation.

Having been on both sides of the pandemic virtual interview world, I would like to share some tips and tricks learned along the way to help you have a positive experience and land the role you are aspiring to.

Success with a virtual interview begins with the technology piece. Whether it be Zoom, WebEx, Teams, or something else entirely, many different options may be thrown your way for a virtual interview.

Prior to the day of the interview, ensure you download any apps or plug-ins you may need to run the virtual platform. Determine what device you will attend the interview on and ensure the device can support the technology.

Make sure your camera and microphone are functional.

Make sure your camera and microphone are functional. If able, it is a good idea to do a test run to ensure you can both send and receive sound and video. It is disruptive to the flow of the interview when the interview gets interrupted due to low bandwidth.

Do your best to ensure your mobile device has adequate service, or your internet is running at a speed fast enough to keep up with virtual interaction.

The adage rings true for a virtual interview the same as one on-site – if you are not 5 minutes early, you are already late. To make the best impression, be logged on and waiting for the interviewer or team to join you.

...if you are not 5 minutes early, you are already late.

Sometimes, the technology will not allow you to join before the host – if this is the case, be patient; you will be admitted to the interview when the host starts the meeting. Seeing you waiting and prepared for the interview leaves a very positive impression.

This is an important consideration for the interview. It is understood that the environment available to everyone will differ. What is important is that some thought is put into where the interview will take place.

Do your best to ensure a quiet, distraction-free setting. If you are in your home, keep family members and pets outside the room, and minimize the noise level.

...find a quiet area where no one will disturb you.

Also, ensure adequate lighting so the interviewer can see you. If you are completing the interview between shifts or on a break, find a quiet area where no one will disturb you. Ensure you have enough bandwidth in your chosen location to support a video chat – you want to minimize the likelihood that low bandwidth will slow the interview or disrupt conversation.

If you interview outdoors, ensure you are not in an area with high traffic or lots of road noise, as this can be extremely distracting. If needed, many platforms offer a virtual background option.

These are nice but often require additional bandwidth to support operationally throughout the conversation. Ideally, you would want to test the virtual background functionally prior to the interview to ensure it works properly.

If it is available, a private, well-lit space where you can focus and put your best foot forward is the ideal location.  

It is important to appear neat and presentable for the interview. For some roles, it is typical to complete the interview in scrubs or other workwear.

...pay attention to your choice of dress for the virtual interview.

For other roles, it may serve you well to pay attention to your choice of dress for the virtual interview. For example, if the interview is for a professional role and you would be wearing business attire every day, you may want your interview attire to reflect this style.

Mindfulness of your appearance underscores your intent to make a good impression and will be recognized by those on the other side of the screen.

Preparation and Presentation
As with any interview opportunity, you want to ensure to be adequately prepared for your meeting. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the available information about the role you are interviewing for and information about the department or organization the role works with.

...Remember to smile and let your personality shine through.

Also, be aware of the information on your resume, especially if you modify your resume for this application. Be prepared to answer questions about your qualifications and for the interviewers to ask behavioral-based interview questions.

This type of interview focuses on situational awareness and uses questions that ask how you have approached interactions and circumstances in past roles. During your interview experience, do your best to make eye contact and look into the camera when giving your answers.

Remember to smile and let your personality shine through – the interviewers want to find someone who is a good fit professionally and departmentally, so help them get to know you during your time together.

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