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virtual interview

How to Make A Virtual Interview Less Awkward

Let’s cut to the chase – we all know video interviews can be awkward. Completing a face-to-face interview unscathed is nearly impossible, and talking with a total stranger (who could be your future boss) can be intimidating. However, here are a few tips for job seekers to help make a virtual interview less awkward.

Check out the interviewers beforehand

Taking a moment to learn more about your interviewers is something we recommend you do before any interview. Once you know who you will be interviewing with, look them up on LinkedIn or see if they have a bio on the company’s website. Looking them up will help you feel more comfortable when you first meet with them virtually and make your conversation a little smoother. Plus, it can even help you identify some talking points to chat about at the beginning of the interview. Knowing who is interviewing you will help make your virtual interview less tricky and help calm your nerves.

Take time to listen carefully

One of the most uncomfortable parts of a virtual interview is the actual conversation. It can be difficult to read body language and know when someone is finished speaking. To combat this, give yourself a few seconds after you think someone is done talking to ensure they have completed their sentence. It is really awkward when people accidentally start speaking over each other and can make you look rude and impatient. By adding a few seconds before you jump right into a response, you will ensure you are not interrupting anyone.

Mute your mic when you are not speaking

When you are not speaking, mute your microphone. Doing so will help you think before you speak, and thus, prevent you from interrupting your interviewers. It will also avoid any unintentional noises or audio feedback that can distract from your interview’s success. With millions of professionals working from home with their children distance learning, there are always unintended noises that you will want to avoid. Muting your mike will help the entire conversation proceed smoothly and help you nail your virtual interview!

Interview Question: What Do You Like To Do Outside Of Work?

Interview Question: What Do You Like To Do Outside Of Work?

What They Want To Know

While you may have touched on this when asked, “tell us a little about yourself,” there’s a good chance your interviewer will want to know more. When a hiring manager asks, “what do you like to do outside of work?” they want to get a glimpse of your personality. They are curious about who you are and if you’ll be a good fit for the rest of the team.

This is an opportunity to let your personality shine. Our advice is to be honest – with a caveat – keep it professional. There is no need to go above and beyond in vulnerability here. Avoid delving into politics, illegal activities, or anything else that could potentially be a red flag. A good rule of thumb here is if you find yourself wondering if it’s appropriate, it’s not. Instead, share your life-enriching passions. If you have a hobby that parallels your career, that’s great! If not, simply share something you enjoy. Here are just a few hobbies that are appropriate to mention during an interview:

  • Hiking
  • Spending time with family & friends
  • Listening to podcasts
  • Reading
  • Sports
  • Cooking
  • Volunteering

No matter what you choose – be sure it’s something you are actually passionate about! Chances are, your interviewer will ask you follow up questions. So, you don’t want to look like a deer caught in the headlights, unable to discuss your hobbies in-depth.

Example Answer for “What do you like to do outside of work?”

“I love listening to Podcasts. Every day I like to get outside and go for a walk with my dog, Thor, and tune into a great Podcast. I have always loved This American Life because I feel like I learn something new with each episode. Lately, I’ve also been putting my detective hat on and listening to a couple of true crime podcasts. It’s a great way to check out for a bit.”

Final Comments

This is a strong answer because it is honest, professional, and personal. Remember, this question is an opportunity to share your personality, after all! If you don’t have any hobbies that you’d want to mention during an interview – now is an excellent opportunity to pick one up.

Need Help Answering More Common Interview Questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Interview Question: What Motivates You?

Interview Question: What Motivates You?

What They Want To Know

It doesn’t get much more straightforward than this interview question. When a hiring manager asks, “what motivates you?” they genuinely want to know what gets you up in the morning and excited for the day. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean you should blurt out the first thing that comes to mind!

You do not need to delve into all of the personal and existential reasons you are motivated each day. Instead, focus on what excites you about your job. What will you look forward to most in this position you’re interviewing for? When the chips are down, and things are tough, how will you be motivated to pull out of it and succeed?

Example Answer For “What Motivates You?”

“As a Project Manager, I love to see everything come together in a successful project. I am so passionate about finalizing all the details of a project, checking off every “to-do” on the list. In fact, my family frequently refers to me as the “Project Manager of our Home” because I carry the same principles into my personal life! No task can be left undelegated; no part of the plan is left undone. For me, there is nothing that compares to the satisfaction of spearheading a successful project. So, when times are challenging, I just remember to keep that end goal in sight.”

Final Comments

This answer is perfect because it goes beyond the surface. The candidate not only explained what motivates them but also painted a complete picture for the interviewer. Finally, it cements their status as a great candidate for the interview because it shows that the candidate’s goals will be aligned with the company’s goals.

Need Help Answering More Common Interview Questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Interview Question: What Are Your Pet Peeves?

Interview Question: What Are Your Pet Peeves?

What They Want To Know

This question can feel like a trap. And we’re not going to sugar-coat it… it kind of is! A hiring manager asks about your pet peeves for a couple of reasons. First of all, they want to know that you’re human! We all have things that bother us. Second, they want to make sure that you will fit in with the team. Do you take things too seriously? Will you hold minor annoyances against your coworkers?

When answering, be honest but don’t totally unload all of the things that irritate you. To avoid a minefield with this question, keep the focus on yourself. Choose a pet peeve that is something you can control and redirect. Then, explain why it bothers you and how you overcome it.

Example Answer For “What Are Your Pet Peeves?”

“One of my biggest pet peeves is getting behind on a project. If something unexpected comes up, or there’s a delay I can’t control, it can really bother me. Over the years, I’ve learned that this is a trigger for me. So, to avoid this, I always try to stay ahead on my projects. By creating a structured schedule, I can account for any unknowns and not get caught up in frustrating delays.”

Final Comments

This answer is perfect because it is truthful, tame, and offers a solution. Avoid going on and on about pet peeves that bother you as it will signal to the hiring manager that you are high maintenance. It’s best to answer it quickly and move on!

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Interview Question: How Do You Like To Be Managed?

Interview Question: How Do You Like To Be Managed?

What They Want To Know

This question tends to put candidates on the defense thinking about how they like to be managed. A hiring manager asks this to understand if you will mesh with their team and leadership style. Many managers deploy multiple management tactics depending on the makeup of their team. Thus, it’s helpful to anticipate how you would fit in.

This is a question that pays to prepare for ahead of time. Think back to times in your career when you were satisfied with your leaders. What did you like most about how you were managed? Additionally, see if you can glean any information about the management culture of the company you are interviewing with. Often, the company’s website or social media will offer insights into the company culture. And in the end, tie it back to your anticipation for this role in particular.

Example Answer For “How Do You Like To Be Managed?”

“Throughout my career, I’ve found that I work best with a Manager that values clear and open communication. I am most successful when I truly understand my role on the team and what is expected from me. On the other hand, I love being able to go to my manager with new ideas and questions. I am able to work independently when the communication channel is there.

This is why, when I was looking at the “About” page on your website, I was excited to see that communication is one of your core values. Reading that reinforced the notion that this company would be an excellent fit for me.”

Final Comments

In general, you want to keep the focus on the positives. Avoid bringing up management styles you don’t like or mentioning previous managers you didn’t jive with. We like the above answer to “how do you like to be managed?” because it brings it back to your qualifications!

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Interview Question: Is There Anything Else You’d Like Us To Know?

Interview Question: Is There Anything Else You’d Like Us To Know?

What They Want To Know

An open-ended interview question like this can be intimidating, especially towards the end, when you want to leave off on a strong note. Hiring managers genuinely want to know if there’s anything they missed with their questions! It’s best to think of it as one final opportunity to sell yourself and give your closing pitch.

To prepare for answering this question, write out the most important selling points you possess in relation to the job you’re interviewing for. These can range from skills, personality traits, certifications, projects you worked on, even mentorships you’ve collected. When giving your answer, you only want to mention things directly related to the position. Bonus points if you can connect it back to something previously discussed during the interview. If you sincerely feel like all of those have been covered, give a brief overview of your collective qualifications and reiterate your interest in the job.

Example Answer For “Is There Anything Else You’d Like Us To Know?”

“Actually, I did want to circle back to the revitalization project you mentioned on the horizon. In my last position, I had the opportunity to consult on a similar revitalization initiative. It was an incredible opportunity, and I learned a lot about the ins and outs of that type of project. As a result, I really look forward to working on more revitalization ventures in the future.”

Alternative Answer: “I think we’ve covered just about everything, but I would really like to reemphasize my interest in this position. My past experience in managing large manufacturing teams for various companies would provide a lot of value to this position, and I believe I could offer unique insights to process improvement with my lean six sigma certification.”

Final Comments

Both of these answers provide one last overview of the candidate’s qualifications, adding value to their candidacy for the position. They are infused with calm confidence and will leave your interviewer with a positive lasting impression. Most importantly, you used the opportunity to sell yourself. The only wrong way to answer this question is, “Nope; I think I’m good!”

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

What Are Your Salary Expectations

Interview Question: What Are Your Salary Expectations?

What they want to know

It is highly likely that a hiring manager or HR professional will ask you for your salary expectations during an interview. This question may seem like a trap, but most of the time, employers are looking for two things:

  • Do you fit in their salary range?
  • Are you willing to budge on your salary?

One of the biggest mistakes interviewees make is stating their salary expectations but ending their answer with something like “but I am flexible” or “however, I am willing to negotiate.” If you announce that you are willing to budge, the employer will most likely try to negotiate with you, resulting in a smaller salary for you. On the other hand, you cannot provide a salary range that is way out of this world in hopes that if they negotiate with you, you will still come out on top.

The best way to tackle this is by understanding your worth. Do a little research before your interview to form a range that matches the position and your background. There are tons of resources for reviewing salary ranges such as Indeed, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Payscale. These sites allow you to input your job title, years of experience, education, and location and they will provide a pay range that you should be making. You can use this information as well as your current salary to form your salary range expectations.

Example answer for “what are your salary expectations.”

“My salary expectations for this role are $75,000 and $80,000. That is the average salary engineering professionals with over five years’ experience with AutoCAD and designing commercial plumbing layouts are earning. Plus, I have my Six Sigma Greenbelt certification, which has helped me become more efficient and reduce waste.”

Final comments

This answer is an excellent example of answering what are your salary expectations. The answer is short, straightforward, and exudes confidence. The answer also illustrates that you know your worth and reiterates the value and experience you bring to the table. Moreover, it doesn’t open the interviewee up for a negotiation battle by stating you are flexible.

Overall, this is how you navigate this tricky interview question. However, you wouldn’t even have to deal with this question if you are working with a recruiter with JSG. When we represent you, we make your salary expectations clear to the hiring manager and help you through any possible negotiations.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Interview Question: What Do You Like Least About Your Job?

Interview Question: What Do You Like Least About Your Job?

What They Want To Know

This interview question is tricky. While it is a negatively-oriented question, they aren’t necessarily trying to trap you. When a hiring manager asks this question, they are looking to analyze how you answer! They want to know that you won’t constantly avoid your least favorite tasks or pass them off to other members of the team.

No matter if you have the greatest job in the world, there will always be parts you don’t like. Thus, saying, “I love every part of my job,” is not an option! Candidates can approach this question in two different ways: focusing on the complaints or focusing on overcoming the parts you like least about your job. We definitely recommend you do the latter. Start your answer by honestly acknowledging something you dislike about your job. Then, pivot into how you deal with it. This will show the hiring manager how you handle small obstacles or less than ideal aspects of your role.

Example Answer For “What Do You Like Least About Your Job?”

“While I love so many parts of my job, my least favorite task is completing expense reports. As a Manager, however, it’s something that needs to be completed weekly. I’ve found the best way to tackle it is to build it into my schedule. Every Friday, I set a calendar reminder for 9 AM, and I power through my expense reports. That way, I can get them out of the way first thing in the morning and move on to the parts of my job that I love!”

Final Comments

This example is a well-structured answer. It acknowledges the parts you don’t like, explains how you handle it, and ends on a positive note. Additionally, it demonstrates your efficiency and organization because you build it into your schedule. It never hurts to incorporate more positives into your interview answers!

Need Help Answering More Common Interview Questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

What’s Your Spirit Animal?

Interview Question: What’s Your Spirit Animal?

What they want to know

Hiring managers are really grabbing onto these off-the-wall, personality-type interview questions. Questions like, “What’s your spirit animal?” are intended to break the ice in a job interview and force interviewees to think on their feet. There is no wrong answer to this question, but your goal here is to share an answer that helps illustrate your personality, strengths as a candidate, and, hopefully, connect with the hiring manager. The critical thing to remember is to answer enthusiastically. Now is your time to let your personality shine a little bit. This is a question that will often be asked at the beginning of your interview, so your answer can really set the stage for the entire interview.

Remember: body language is essential with these interview questions. Throw on a smile, even if you need a few moments to think about an answer. Your body language is just as important with these questions as it exudes your confidence and personality. If you need a second or two formulate your response, don’t be afraid to say something like, “wow, that’s a tricky one. I haven’t been asked this question in years!” And this will buy you a few moments to think of your response without it being awkwardly silent.

Example answering what’s your spirit animal

“Wow, that’s a great question. If I had to pick one animal to be my spirit animal, I would probably pick a duck because I always look calm and cool on the outside, but below the surface, I’m working like crazy to get where I need to go.”

Final comments

Thus, this response is an excellent example of answering, “What’s your spirit animal?” It’s fun, witty, and straight to the point. Moreover, the interviewer gave a reason for their choice, and it does an excellent job demonstrating their work ethic. Overall, this is a fantastic response to this agonizing interview question.

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!

Video: What’s your spirit animal?

What’s One Thing You Think We Can Improve

Interview Question: What’s One Thing You Think We Can Improve?

What they want to know

“What’s one thing you think we can improve?” is a tricky interview question to navigate. You want to provide a thoughtful answer without insulting the company (or even one of the interviewers in the room with you). Sometimes, your interviewer will ask you to offer constructive feedback about a particular product or service. Others will make the question more vague, which gives you a bit of flexibility with your answer.

Regardless of your answer, you don’t want to head right into your criticism. Instead, start with something positive; it helps set the stage and make your judgment seem not so harsh. Then, introduce your constructive feedback and provide a background for your thoughts. In other words, you can’t just criticize something and call it good. You must offer an area of improvement, explain why you think it needs improvement, and provide a solution to overcome this situation. Try to offer some stats, facts, or pull something from your professional experience to add credibility to your answer.

This situation is where doing your homework on the company will come in handy. If you don’t do your due diligence on the company, you will struggle to come up with an excellent answer to this interview question.

Example answering what’s one thing you think we can improve?

“I really enjoy the content you share on your company’s Instagram account. The graphics are eye-catching, and your captions are engaging. However, have you thought about sharing more content about your team? You post tons of great information about your services, but sharing stories about your staff and other internal messaging is very on-trend right now. We periodically post internal stories or employee spotlights on my current employer’s social media, and they get great engagement. I think if you added that content to your social media tool belt, you would increase your engagement and gain new followers”

Final comments

This response works for this question because it starts positive and then offers a suggestion for improvement. It’s not overly critical, and the interviewer uses their personal, professional experience to justify their recommendation. Plus, they ask a question in their response about if they considered this suggestion before, which could open the door for a nice dialogue. Overall, this is an excellent response to the question, “what’s one thing you think we can improve or do better?”

Need help answering more common interview questions?

Don’t worry; at JSG, we have an arsenal of interview prep advice to help you nail your upcoming job interview. Good luck!