Photo by Andrew Neel
After doing more interviews than I'd like to admit, I thought I'd share things that I've done to set myself up for success. Having set actions that you complete prior to the interview can ease anxiousness by creating routine. Each time I have a video/phone interview I learn something new about my personal interview style and what makes me comfortable.
This post includes information about actions that are meant to be done within the hour before your interview.
Write down the name of your interviewer, their position, and questions you'd like to ask them. Interview brain can go blank so having this on-hand and close is always helpful. It's one less thing you have to worry about!
Be sure to wear something that you'd be confident in. It doesn't have to be business causal attire but get out of your pajamas. Getting into interview clothes can help your energy and that translates virtually to the interviewer.
Even if it's a screen-share, get dressed. It's better that they don't see you and you're prepared vs. having to turn on your camera to reveal bedhead. (Seriously, I almost didn't get dressed once and it was the only screen-share interview I've had where they wanted to see me.)
If you're at home and live with other people, let them know you have an interview! Doing this can create the quiet space you need for the interview, which leads to my next suggestion.
Be sure to pick a quiet spot. A quiet space will aid in keeping concentration on the most important aspect, the interview.
Use your computer's built-in camera or your webcam in order to see what you would look like in the interview. This will help in determining if you're sitting in the best spot!
Try to place the computer/webcam at eye level. Doing this will help with your posture and you can speak directly without turning. Take time to find a neutral background. I usually have my back to a white wall so that my surroundings aren't a distraction to the interviewer.
Make sure to use wired headphones! Having your bluetooth headphones die during an interview isn't fun, trust me. Test them by listening to your favorite music or by watching a funny video.
Visit a few websites to make sure that the internet connection is working properly. I like to watch something funny to get me laughing.
Being able to speak about the position while referencing the job description can be an incredible asset. Having them open gives you the option to use buzz words referenced in the job description!
You may get questions about your resume, so rather than attempting to memorize your wording, have it readily available.
I've been interviewed without silencing my computer's notifications, what a mistake that was. I got messages from my mom during a screen-share and the interviewers saw popups, it was very distracting!
If you're using a cellphone, silence notifications once the call has started.
Take a moment to remove items from your space that aren't needed. These items can provide a distraction and can physically get in your way if you move around. I find that having a cleaner space makes me feel more calm.
It'll take some time to figure out what you like best but here are things that I need to have during video/phone interviews:
- Water (ideally in a sealed container to avoid spilling)
- Paper & Pen (includes notes taken beforehand)
- Lip balm
- Wired headphones
- Laptop connected to power throughout the interview
Getting your body moving can help with energy and nerves. Try taking slower breaths, doing this can aid in controlling your heart rate. Read more about it here from Harvard Health Publishing.
I get pretty nervous before an interview so even if I don't have to use the bathroom I do it anyway.
What if the interview runs long? What if I chug too much water out of nervousness and have to wait until the interview is done to go? Try not to set yourself up for distraction by going before the call starts.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this! I truly enjoy writing about interviewing and will continue to do so. Leave a comment if there's something specific you'd like me to write about!
I'd also love to hear about how you prep! Feel free to provide suggestions below for other devs.