If you haven’t heard, Anvil/Deksia is growing and we are hiring for Account Executives and Project Managers. Whether you want to interview for one of these positions or find yourself on the job market, knowing how to interview via Zoom or another video platform will give you an edge over your competition. Once you know how to navigate the virtual world, we have included tips on how to prepare and follow-up to your interview.
For the past 9 years I have worked as the lead recruiter at Anvil. I have been on the client side and worked for at least 9 different agencies over my 25 year career. I been in a lot of job interviews and have conducted hundreds more and have learned from personal experience what to do and what not to do.
Let’s get started.
- Familiarize yourself with the interview platform. Whether it’s Zoom, Google Hangouts, MS Teams – walk through the platform before the big day arrives. Looking like a pro in a program you will likely use for the position will get noticed. Ensure the volume level is appropriate and if need be, use earbuds or something less bulky for the big day.
- Mute button is your friend. Whether you’re home alone or have pets and roommates, the mute button is your ally. Use when you’re not talking if there is background noise at your location. But remember to turn it back on when you speak, you don’t want the interviewer to say ‘you’re on mute’ or you will have sunk yourself.
- Find a bright room. I’m not a fan of virtual backgrounds because they’re fake and make me wonder what is behind that flickering image. Don’t have a window as a backdrop and ensure the room you’re in is clean and free of visual distractions. You want the interviewer(s) to focus on you and not your amazing Lego collection.
- Dress appropriately. Sure, you may be at home but dress up for an interview. You may have been wearing a onesie for the past two years, but appearances still matter. Nice, clean shirt, showered, groomed – I know this seems basic, but we’ve all been through a lot lately and it bears mentioning.
- Don’t be nervous. Whether this is your first interview out of womb (college), or you really need a new job – keep your cool. There are plenty of other moments in life you should be nervous about, your wedding day, pulled over by the police, why is your mouth duct-taped but a job interview is not one of them. If you get nervous and can’t help it, do a mock interview with a friend to get used to the questions and provide true responses. Sometimes a virtual interview will have several interviewers and that can be intimidating so prepare accordingly. It’s only a job and nothing you should be too nervous about. As an interviewer, seeing someone who is nervous is not unusual and can be overlooked in you nail the other aspects of the interview.
- Do your research. First or second question often asked is, ‘What do you know about the company?’ An interviewer has a finite amount of time to meet with candidates. If you can’t answer this simple question, then you have zero chance of getting the job. Save yourself some time and grief by researching a company beyond their website. Google press releases, browse their social media channels, dig through their trash and learn something that shows you know how to get answers.
- Don’t just be happy to be there. I have interviewed hundreds of people over the years and 75% of those I’ve interviewed are just happy to be there. Golly gee, they want to interview me, I wonder how much they will offer me? Many people stroll in and think they are automatically a finalist for the position, which is never the case. An interview is a means to getting the position. A company wants to know your emotional intelligence, are you easy to work with or a high-maintenance underperformer, are you a contributor, a team player or just looking for free snacks? Be prepared to answer questions that evaluate these attributes and be genuine in your answers.
- Why should we hire you? Interviewing for a job is competitive, not everyone gets a trophy let alone a job offer. 85% of the answers I get to the question, ‘Why should we hire you?’ are just about the candidate and what they want with no benefit to the company:
‘I really like to learn and think I can learn a lot here’ – Where’s the benefit to the company?
‘I really think I can grow and help out’ – How?
‘I’m a sponge and really love learning’ – See a pattern here?
These are all throw away answers with no benefit to the company. What about your work ethic, drive or ability to lead teams? Companies want to hear you have some gumption, passion for what you do and what you bring to the position. When you hear this question, they are really asking – how will you be an asset to the company, and can you communicate it clearly and succinctly? If you can do this, you have a shot at the job.
9. Ask good questions. Note I stated to ask ‘good’ questions. There are such things as dumb questions in an interview, and they will cost you the job. Don’t ask questions about the company you can find on their website, here’s a sample of some beauties I’ve been asked:
‘How long have you been in business?’
‘Who are your clients?’
‘What services do you provide?’
‘What are my chances of getting this position?’
Questions to ask include:
‘How did this position become available?’ – The answer can tell you many things, someone got promoted, the agency is growing, etc. Shows you are curious about more than just landing the job.
‘What are the specific strengths needed to succeed in this position and at XYZ?’
‘How would you describe the company culture?’
10. Follow up. Once you finish the interview, thank them for their time and say your goodbyes – all is not done. If you really want the job, you need to follow-up with the person or people who interviewed you. Sounds like common sense but common sense does not exist these days. Email is fast and easy but still less than 50% of candidates’ follow-up. If you want to be remembered and make an impression, send a personalized snail mail thank you card. If you did all the things listed above, this note will make you a finalist for the position.