How to Ace Virtual Interviews

April 21, 2020
Written by
Twilion

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The COVID-19 outbreak is changing the way we all work and live. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grow and evolve, companies have been forced to layoff employees and freeze hiring.

While there is a lot of uncertainty in the job market, our Vice President of Talent Acquisition Bryan Powell confirms that “Twilio is still hiring and we have a number of available opportunities across the organization.” Twilio is committed to identifying talent by going where others don’t. We hire people with various experiences and non-traditional backgrounds – from within and outside of the tech industry – to increase our hiring funnel and build a more equitable tech industry.

COVID-19 is reshaping the job search and we want to help you prepare for the future. To reduce the risk of spreading the virus and protect employees, many companies including Twilio have pivoted to virtual interviewing and remote hiring for the foreseeable future. Job seekers must adapt to this unprecedented reality of interviewing virtually, accepting a job without meeting new colleagues in person, and interviewing without stepping foot into an office.

Here are some tips we’ve compiled to help all candidates adapt to the new normal and excel at virtual interviews.

Setting up for a virtual interview

  • Arrange a practical video conference set up. Set your camera to eye-level and make sure it’s stable and won’t move during the call. If you need to use your computer to code or present information, arrange a comfortable working position.
  • Test your computer and ensure your video and microphone are working before the interview takes place. Ensure your internet connection is stable and your computer is fully charged.
  • Treat your video interview like an in-person interview. Dress professionally. This can boost your confidence and promote a positive first impression.
  • Make sure you are in a well-lit space free from distracting backgrounds. No other people, pets, or personal items should be in view of the camera.
  • Find a quiet area for the interview and use headphones if needed. Try to minimize background noise. If you have roommates or live with others, let them know about the interview and what time it takes place so they do not interrupt.

Prepare for your interview

  • Video interviews have a few nuances that in-person interviews do not. We recommend you practice with a friend or family member.
  • Research the company, product, and people interviewing you and be prepared to authentically express why the company and role is a fit for you.
  • Tailor and ask specific questions related to the role that and what’s important to you.
  • Look at the camera, not the screen. It can be tempting to watch yourself during the conversation, but establishing eye contact will help you build rapport with your interviewer and show that you are engaged in the conversation.
  • Ensure you ask your recruiter for a backup phone number in case you experience technical difficulties and are unable to connect virtually. If things go awry, ask if you can continue the interview by phone.

Present yourself well on video

  • Make sure you’re speaking at a comfortable volume. Watch your body language. Be mindful of what you convey with facial expressions and tone. Let your personality shine as you would during an in-person interview.
  • Do your research and be prepared to enthusiastically express why you’re interested in the role and company. Be sure to explain how your skills align with the role and the company’s mission
  • Know your audience. Know who you are talking to and ask different questions to recruiters, hiring managers, and individual contributors.
  • Bring questions of your own. What would you like to learn about the position, team, culture, or company in general? By the end of the interviews you want to be sure you understand the position and the company's culture well. And it's a two-way street – you want to be sure they enjoyed their conversations with you!

Follow up after the interview

  • After your interviews wrap up, we recommend sending your interviewers a thank you note to re-express your interest in the role and thank the interview team for their time.
  • Expect your recruiter to provide a timeline for when you can expect to hear back on any next steps.
  • Keep your recruiter informed about important updates or changes to your job search. If you need a reply by a specific date, let your recruiter know as soon as possible.
  • While it’s okay to send a check-in note if you don’t hear back or need an update sooner, avoid sending multiple inquiries.
  • Regardless of the interview outcome – or whether you decide to join the company – handle the communications professionally. You never know when an employer might have another opening for you in the future that better matches your skill set and interests. A good impression the first time can go a long way in the future.

Finding interview success in a virtual world

Success is where preparation and opportunity meet. The keys to success with virtual interviews are to practice, ensure your technology works, minimize distractions, authentically express enthusiasm, and project confidence on screen.

Interested and ready to learn more?

  • Watch our Twilio After Hours: How to Ace Virtual Interview webinar recording to learn from our best practices and practice mock interviews. You can sign up at this page, and you will receive an email with the link to the recording, transcription, and slides, as well as some questions and answers.
  • Want to build better technology? A better career? A better world? Join us. We can’t wait to see what you build. Visit our Careers page to explore available opportunities.
  • Need support with your job search? Check out Twilio Presents Unplugged, a video content series for access to on-demand content to boost your interviewing skills and help you succeed in the job market.

Twilio is committed to fostering a diverse company where anyone is welcome, and everyone belongs. Visit our Diversity and Inclusion page to learn more about our efforts.

Stephanie Alofoje is a Senior Talent & Employer Brand Manager at Twilio. She is responsible for growing awareness of Twilio as an employer of choice and attracting top talent to Twilio. She and her team can be reached at inclusion [at] twilio.com.