If you’re reading this post, you’re probably well aware that analytics and data science are hot career areas right now. Skilled quantitative professionals are highly in-demand, and as the use of analytics moves from “the back room to the board room”, companies have also placed a higher importance on screening potential hires for soft skills, demeanor, and presence, in additional to technical skill.
Although it has been common for companies to meet with their analytics and data science candidates for in-person interviews, companies know that the market is moving fast, so there has been a growing trend towards video interviews via Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. to get through the process quickly.
Since many analytics professionals and data scientists might not have experience with these types of interviews, we thought it might be beneficial to cover some helpful tips!
Top Ten Helpful Hints to a Successful Video Interview
1. Create a professional username
Just as you should make sure to use a professional email address for resumes and applications (usually some variation on your name works best), we recommend creating a separate username for the video interview as well. This has the added benefit of making sure no friends or family can call and interrupt you during the interview!
2. Make sure your equipment and location has been tested
Test your internet connection and any webcam or equipment to ensure it’s working properly, and make sure that the location you’ve chosen is quiet with no risk of interruptions. We recommend conducting the interview at home (instead of a noisy Starbucks), and to make sure you can avoid interruptions from children, pets, roommates, etc. Make sure whatever device you’re using is charged or plugged in.
3. Dress professionally from head to toe
No, not every analytics or data science position will require formal attire, but we strongly advise you: do not wear pajama bottoms during a video interview! You never know when you might need to stand up to close a door, answer a phone, or grab a copy of a document, so make sure you’re properly dressed.
4. Clear your computer screen
Some interviews may ask to see code, a presentation, want you to work through a data problem, or have another reason that you may need to share your screen with your interviewer, so make sure any irrelevant browser tabs have been closed and that there’s nothing on your desktop that you wouldn’t want your interviewer to see.
This is especially true if you haven’t done a video interview before. This will give you a chance to test everything, get feedback on your video presence, and make sure you’re familiar with the functionality of the platform, including how to share screens (see number four).
6. Be ready ahead of time on the day of the interview
On the day of your interview, make sure you’re ready in advance and have double-checked your equipment and anything else you might need.
7. Enunciate and speak louder than you normally might
Companies don’t just want to evaluate your prowess with R or SAS, most want their analytics and data science hires to be able to explain technical findings to senior leadership or to other non-technical professionals on the team. Many will evaluate this skill with presentations during the hiring process, but it’s also important to make sure you’re speaking clearly and deliberately during the rest of the interview as well. Also, make sure that you’re looking into the camera when you speak, and not staring at yourself on the screen!
8. Be cognizant of your movements
Fidgeting can appear extra pronounced and distracting on a webcam, and you also want to be careful not to cause any shaking with the camera or feedback/sound distortion over the microphone.
9. Follow-up with personalized thank-you emails
We recommend sending personalized emails to each person you spoke with relatively soon after the interview. Thank-you emails are a great way to recap the great conversation you had with your interviewer and re-affirm your interest in the position.
10. Don’t forget all normal interview etiquette applies!
We’ve written whitepapers on our tips for phone interviews as well as in-person interviews, and it’s important to remember that any advice that is relevant still applies. You may not be able to shake anyone’s hand, but you should make sure to do your homework on the company and supply specific examples to answer their questions about you.
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