How To Nail The Virtual Interview At This Fortune 500 Company—According To A Recruiting Leader was originally published on WayUp.
The COVID-19 crisis forced companies around the world to immediately adopt fully virtual interviewing processes. Whether you’re a fan or afraid of the on-screen interview, one thing’s for sure: virtual interviewing is here to stay.
So, we’ve put together a guide to help you master interviewing in a virtual world. And we spoke with Adrienne Sullivan, a recruiting and global employer brand leader at Thermo Fisher Scientific—a Fortune 500 biotechnology company dedicated to making the world healthier, cleaner and safer—to get an insider’s view on how to put your best foot forward, digitally.
Here’s what we learned.
No Matter What Your Specialty Is, They’re Looking For These Three Traits
Thermo Fisher’s mission is to enable their customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer. Their products consist of everything from genetic forensics machines to climate change research tools all the way to classroom lab equipment.
Even with all of the company’s different products, services and business functions, their 75,000+ employees are committed to fulfilling the company mission and pushing science a step beyond, regardless of their role. Adrienne says when interviewing candidates, “Thermo Fisher is really looking for three main competencies: putting the customer first, owning your results, and finding a better way every day.”
1. Putting the customer first.
This goes for everyone, from software engineers to sales to R&D researchers. You’ll need to demonstrate that you understand and value that there is an end-customer (and at times, patients) relying on us. “No matter our role, our customers depend on us. You may not have experience working directly with customers, but all our work contributes to supporting our customers” Adrienne explains.
Understanding how your role contributes to the success of the company’s mission is key. This is tied closely to the second principle:
2. Owning your results.
Results—good or bad—are the direct consequence of your work—and taking ownership of them is an essential part of being successful at Thermo Fisher. So, how can you show this trait in an interview?
“This is about personal accountability,” Adrienne says. “We want to hear you take personal responsibility for something in your examples. It’s okay to highlight mistakes, as long as you’re able to show how you pivoted to fix it.”
Taking stock of your work, adaptability and agility are the core of Thermo Fisher’s third principle, too.
3. Finding a better way every day.
“We want relentless curiosity and innovation,” Adrienne explains.
That means when you take stock of your results, you’re looking at what worked and what didn’t to improve the way you do it next time around. It shouldn’t be too hard to think of an example of how you improved your work practices. And if you really want to go deep on your interview prep, you can study the specific improvement strategy leveraged at Thermo Fisher.
“We follow lean practices for process improvement,” she says. “That’s how we work. We’re looking for people who strive to make themselves better every day.”
Virtual Interviewing Has Its Disadvantages—Here’s How To Combat Them
The good news: Virtual interviewing isn’t too different from its in-person counterpart. The tough thing is that the few challenges it does pose can be hard to overcome without practice.
“Not everyone is used to seeing themselves on camera or working with video conferencing technology,” Adrienne says. “Don’t let it distract you. Set up some time to practice with a friend to make sure you’re comfortable with communicating virtually.”
If you’re focusing too much on fixing your camera, figuring out how to unmute yourself, or changing your background, then you won’t have time to listen actively, which is another important part of any interview.
When an interview is virtual, Adrienne warns, it can easily feel like a video that you’re just watching, but really, it’s a two-way conversation. Try to imagine how you would be seen in an office setting and give that same impression virtually.
How To Take Advantage Of The Virtual Setting And Its Benefits
There are also distinct benefits to interviewing virtually. Here’s how to take advantage of them.
“It gives you an opportunity to be comfortable in your own environment,” Adrienne says. “You can feel secure and use that to your advantage. Speak confidently and focus on active listening.”
Plus, with new technology comes new capabilities. A good way of showcasing your strengths and your savvy with technology is to use screen-sharing features to show off some work or skills. If you’re going to do this, though, make sure you’re well practiced.
“Technology allows you to be more agile. You can quickly pull up a work sample or a document you’ve worked on that you’re particularly proud of. You’ll have everything at your fingertips,” she explains. “But if you’re going to do something like that, have it all prepared and ready. Don’t make your interviewer sit and wait.”
No Matter What, Follow The Timeless Interview Rules: Do Your Homework And Be Yourself
“Definitely do your research. Research the company, have a clear understanding of the role, and have questions prepared to clarify what you can’t find out on your own,” Adrienne says. “Read through the company’s career site to learn as much as you can in advance about what the company does and their culture. Learn about your interviewer by taking a look at their LinkedIn profile. You will feel more comfortable the more prepared you are!”
But you must balance research and preparedness with authenticity, too. Be yourself and show them that you’re comfortable bringing your personality to a professional space.
“It’s a conversation, so be your authentic self and don’t just read from notes,” Adrienne advises. “It’s hard. It takes practice. Interviewing really is a skill like any other—and our early-career recruiters understand that.”
Turn this insider knowledge into a real job offer—check out open opportunities at Thermo Fisher Scientific at WayUp!