How to prepare for and nail a virtual interview
The talent acquisition team at Leidos hired more than 8,000 people in 2019 — and, as Forbes points out, the team is continuing to recruit for plenty of positions. With job candidates unable to physically visit our offices, all interviews have gone virtual. To ensure that all goes smoothly, the Leidos recruiting team has shared best practices for video job interviews with our hiring managers — and we don't want you to miss out on these tips. After all, we're navigating these new challenges together. Read on to learn what you can expect while interviewing from home for jobs at Leidos, and how to interview successfully.
What to expect from virtual job interviews
From technical glitches to surprise cameos, interviewing virtually — especially from home — comes with a whole new set of “what ifs."
Here's what you can expect from the virtual interview process with Leidos:
- Your recruiter will connect with you ahead of time to provide technical instructions regarding our video conferencing tool – we use Webex.
- The recruiter will talk to you before the interview starts. Use this time to ask any last-minute questions, confirm information, or even shake off pre-interview nerves before they invite the hiring manager to join the web conference.
Our virtual interviewing technology blurs your background, so no need to worry about the visual side of your surroundings. Also, your recruiter will manage the technical side of the interview to diminish the potential for technical issues.
How to prepare for a virtual job interview
While traditional interview prep typically includes questions like, “Where should I park?" and “When should I leave to arrive on time?" you'll be trading those travel-related questions for thoughts like, “How strong is my internet connection?" and “Please don't let a package arrive during my interview."
To help you gain a sense of control — or at least some peace of mind — here are a few preparation tips:
- Install and get acquainted with the video conferencing tool ahead of time. Locate the buttons that allow you to mute your audio and pause your webcam. You'll be much less flustered if you can answer your child's request for a snack without your interviewer listening in.
- Make plans to minimize potential distractions as much as possible from everyone at home, understanding there may still be some background noise, and that it's OK if there is.
- Check your internet connection and, if needed, request sole Wi-Fi access from housemates for the duration of your interview so you'll have enough bandwidth for a smooth video interview.
- Use headphones to keep audio quality crisp and, if possible, find a quiet place for your interview.
- Test your microphone and webcam ahead of the interview to ensure that everything works and to have time to troubleshoot if it doesn't.
One bonus of virtual interviews is that you don't have to put quite as much thought into your outfit. While we typically suggest business casual attire, many of our hiring managers have relaxed their expectations due to current circumstances.
"While dress code may be more casual when virtual, it's important not to take the interview lightly," says Kevin Halemartin, vice president of talent acquisition at Leidos. "You should still present yourself as if you were in the office and put your best foot forward."
How to ace your virtual interview
If you're accustomed to working from home, share that with the hiring manager. If not, demonstrate you're flexible and can adapt to circumstances. This is important at all times and especially when it's unclear how long Leidos employees will be required to work remotely.
Help manage expectations by being forthcoming about your own environment at the start. If you have a poor connection, just say so. And if other people are home, you're expecting a package, or you have an excitable dog —or there's anything that could potentially disrupt the interview — proactively share that information. Your hiring manager will understand and appreciate your transparency.
If you are interrupted, try to respond calmly and with humor if it applies. If the disruption is on your side, simply excuse yourself for a moment. Feel free to mute your audio and even turn off your webcam while you deal with it and do whatever is needed. If the interruption comes from the hiring manager's end, simply show understanding and wait patiently while they handle it — a great opportunity to demonstrate your flexibility.
As much as you can, try to simulate the experience of in-person interviews during your video interview. Focus on the role and communicate how your experience and skills will help you perform well and make a positive impact. Keep those basics in mind, and you'll do great.