Try These 11 Things If You're Interviewing Or Starting A Job Virtually

Friday, March 12, 2021 New York, NY, USA


As with most things, work-life has certainly changed for everyone since the beginning of the pandemic. Whether that's because you lost your job and are on the hunt for a new one or are a recent college grad seeking your first, navigating the virtual interview and job world is different and, let's be honest, tricky.


On this week's episode of my IGTV series, Network From Home, I FaceTimed with my friend and former co-worker, Neha Tandon, who has worked at Forbes, Business Insider, Brides, and more and most recently began as an editor at Women's Health. She shares all the advice she's learned (and is still learning) after landing two jobs during the pandemic (yes, her previous role as well!). Here's what she suggests doing if you're interviewing or starting a job virtually.


1. Give yourself grace

Take the pressure off of yourself and let yourself be OK with the fact that virtual interviewing and onboarding are different. All of your competitors are interviewing virtually and your future co-workers are all working from home too, and just as you don't expect them to be perfect, you shouldn't set those expectations for yourself either.


2. Throw your pride out the window when job hunting

Neha's biggest advice, she says, is to throw out your pride. Don't be shy about reaching out to people about the job you want, whether it be through DM, cold email, or a mutual connection. Remember: the worst thing that can happen if you reach out to someone is they say no or don't respond at all.


If you're reaching out via email, Neha recommends looking for anyone at that company's email address and playing with the email configuration to find the email address of the contact you're trying to reach. For example, say you find out my email is tmead@company.com (it isn't) but you want to get in touch with someone on my team.


Try that same email configuration with their info instead: firstinitiallastname@company.com. Alternatively, if my email were taylor_mead@company.com, you'd try that configuration (their firstname_lastname@company.com) to reach them.


SEE ALSO: 13 Email Mistakes You're Making, And How To Fix Him


3. Always prep for interviews, even if they're virtual

  • Review your own resume and portfolio to note specific examples you have for the requirements on the job listing
  • Re-read the job listing to remind yourself of the qualifications you want to address during the interview
  • Practice your elevator pitch
  • Try interview flashcards
  • Research, research, and more research
    • Learn about the company and who you are interviewing with, specifically


4. Remember it's always better to overdress than underdress, especially for interviews

Even though interviews feel casual from home, you still need to keep it professional to show you care. It's always better to dress too professionally than too casually. So let's save the PJs and sweatsuits for pre- and post-interview life, shall we?


5. Keep a notecard nearby to reference if needed

The beautiful thing about virtual interviews is your ability to discreetly keep a notecard nearby in case you need to jot down a few notes to reference during the interview. You know, just in case!


6. Ask the right questions during an interview

The best questions, Neha believes, will come from the research you've done ahead of the interview. Show the interviewer that you've done your homework and craft unique questions from your learnings. 

Stumped on where to begin? Research the company to learn about its goals, mission, and recent projects, then look up information about your interviewer's work history or other topics you can connect on (mutual connections, alma mater, etc).

7. Send a thank you note right after your interview

Emphasis on right after the interview. Make the thank you email thoughtful and tailor it specifically to the conversations you had, reiterating your interest and qualifications without being vague. (Spoiler: stay tuned for a later episode of Network From Home to learn how to craft the perfect post-interview thank you).


SEE ALSO: 11 Things To Do Before, During, And After A Job Interview To Stand Out


Once you've started the job...

8. Reach out to your new co-workers to introduce yourself and get to know them

It may seem a bit awkward to do this through the computer but just as you would introduce yourself to your new co-workers when starting in an office, you'll want to do the same virtually. Plus, chances are they'll be very excited to meet someone new because, as we've talked about, they're working from home too and that can get... boring.


9. Get involved in group chats (even when uncomfortable) to immerse yourself in the team

One downside to starting a job remotely is the need to put in that extra effort to feel like you are part of the team. As a new hire, Neha points out, it's not as easy as turning to your deskmate and chatting for a quick work break. So getting involved in the group conversations happening virtually is a great way to get that same experience from afar and find commonalities with your new work buddies —even if it feels uncomfortable at first.


10. When/if you feel comfortable, put time on your co-workers' calendars for a virtual tea or coffee

Should you be someone who likes making work friends, consider asking the co-workers you work closely with if they'd want to set up a time for a virtual tea or coffee. Chances are they'll be more than happy to and excited to make a new friend. If you're more of a solo worker, though, do whatever makes you feel involved on the team and if that means sticking to Slack convos (or the like), do that!

11. Don't feel pressured to get to know everyone right away

Being onboarded virtually is tricky as-is so don't feel like you have to get to know everyone on your first day or even first week. Take it day-by-day, you'll have plenty of time to get to know your teammates.


Check out my IGTV to watch the full interview with Neha Tandon.