• PTP Chicago

Interviewing in the Age of COVID-19, No Handshake Required!

Updated: Sep 29, 2020

Author: Jay Johnson

We at Peterson Technology Partners have a policy that we like to meet each candidate, in person and in our office, before we submit them to a client. This gives us a good sense of who they are, their interview style, how they will fit culturally with the team. We also give coding tests to determine their skill level and analyze how well it matches their resume. Additionally, this allows us the opportunity to give them interviewing suggestions and coaching as well.

Let me start with a short story…

Recently, I had the opportunity to Video Skype with an entry-level developer. He had a simple, one-page resume and no practical work experience aside from the apps and projects he’d created while pursuing his degree and looking for a position to start his career.

We had a 30-minute conversation and, afterward, I was so excited that I wanted to send his resume around to all my clients! This was a developer that needed and deserved to be given an opportunity based on our video interview.

What made me feel this way?

Here is a list of what he did to so thoroughly impress me

My suggestion, to anyone reading this, is to make a note and do these things as well:

  • He was on time and accepted the chat within the first few rings

  • He was dressed in a collared shirt and wore a tie, well-groomed, and he was smiling

  • He was at home and was aware of what was in the camera frame behind him, no mess

  • He spoke clearly and showed his enthusiasm when explaining his projects and what he is looking for in a career

  • He had been interviewing for quite some time and he was not desperate, he was confident and sincere

  • When asked about a specific technology, he was truthful and said he had not used it, but he was “willing to learn”

  • He truly appreciated my time and thanked me, and asked how and when he should follow up

Those bullet points made all the difference.

How so?

The success of all video interviews, regardless of the current situation, are as follows:

  • Be ready, make sure the program you will be using is downloaded and tested on your machine before-hand, check the link

  • Have the full name of the person you will be meeting with and if possible, an alternative way to connect (phone, email, etc.)

  • Ensure your visible environment is orderly and clean. If it’s messy and chaotic, it portrays you have a lack of caring or attention to detail that may reflect upon your work. Just because it’s remote doesn’t mean it should be less professional than in-person

  • Smile, be clear and concise in your answers and know that it’s okay to say you don’t know something or a particular technology

  • Ask for clearly defined next-steps and timing for a decision

  • End with a Thank-you

You may be asking yourself... Did he get a job offer?

I did send the resume to my clients and I am in the process of getting requests for interviews. His professionalism, especially at this point in his young career, will surely pan out as he is wise beyond his years.

For me, knowing that he will be a great asset to whichever company gives him his first big break, and the fact that I helped him do so, is my bonus.

Some of today's most popular video conferencing and interviewing platforms you may want to download and set up before-hand include:

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About the Company:

Peterson Technology Partners (PTP) has been Chicago's premier Information Technology (IT) staffing, consulting, and recruiting firm for over 22+ years. Named after Chicago's historic Peterson Avenue, PTP has built its reputation by developing lasting relationships, leading digital transformation, and inspiring technical innovation throughout Chicagoland.

Based in Park Ridge, IL, PTP's 250+ employees have a narrow focus on a single market (Chicago) and expertise in 4 innovative technical areas;

  • Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Data Science

  • Robotics/Robotic Process Automation (RPA)

  • Cyber/Data/Information Security

  • DevOps/DevSecOps

PTP exists to ensure that all of our partners (clients and candidates alike) make the best hiring and career decisions.

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Peterson Technology Partners is an equal opportunity employer.