This post originally appeared on Fullstack Academy's blog.
As Fullstack continues to host events and classes virtually, we want to ensure that we’re continuing to support the next generation of software developers by providing valuable tools and resources.
The latest video features a conversation between David and Fullstack’s Director of Career Success, Lesia Harhaj, about optimizing your job interview experience—even when it’s not in-person.
Whether you’re a current student, a recent grad, or well into your career, the eight tips below will help you land your dream software engineering job.
1. Ensure your internet is stable
Their first tip? Ensuring your internet is stable.
“You don’t want to be the person whose video is cutting in and out, whose audio’s not good,” David says. “I highly recommend plugging directly into the router if you can.”
2. Practice active listening
When you’re conducting a virtual interview, “pay attention to how the employer is speaking.” Lesia says. “Remember: There can be a lag between when the employer finishes talking and when you should start talking.”
Make sure you’re actively listening, watching their cues, and taking your time to respond to their questions.
3. Focus on sound quality
Before your interview, try to find a space that’s as quiet as possible.
If you have children, pets, or just noisy neighbors or housemates, let the employer know that they may hear some background noise (chances are they might be in the same situation!).
Investing in quality headphones can also help improve your audio quality.
Try to get a wireless option, but if you need to use a wired option, David recommends clipping the cord away from your clothing (he uses a binder clip) to avoid any disruptions or scratching sounds.
4. Wear what you would wear in-person
Besides leaning into enclothed cognition theory, it’s important to look your best to show the employer that you’ve put in effort and are taking this seriously. “Whatever you feel most comfortable and confident in, make sure that that’s how you’re dressed when you’re sitting at the table talking to the employer,” Lesia says.
If you don’t have access to your standard grooming routine right now, that’s okay—just make sure your hair is pulled up or back from your face and that your face is clean (you can even just splash your face with water!).
5. Make sure your background is clean and represents you well
Try to find a spot in your home where you can be undisturbed and make sure the wall behind you doesn’t have a lot of distractions.
If you don’t have a space that works for you, consider trying a neutral virtual background on Zoom or even request an audio-only call. Recruiters and employers know you’re at home and will understand.
6. Have links to your resume and website ready to share
Before your call starts, have your resume and website open and ready to send or screenshare (we recommend even using a completely separate window). This allows you to easily highlight projects and skills and show off your application materials.
“Hopefully, most employers in virtual environments will realize that they have to have your resume up so they can take a look at it,” Lesia says. “Always just make sure you either have a PDF you can email them very quickly or even just a Bitly link to share.”
David recommends creating a unique or fun name for your URL to add an additional dose of personality. “I love having cool URLs for simple things,” he says. “It looks like you think about your personal branding.”
7. Optimize your video quality
“Focus on audio first, but then get the video as good as you can,” David says.
To get the best camera angle, he recommends propping up your laptop or computer monitor with a stack of books so the camera is level with your face instead of looking up from below.
8. Have a pen and paper handy
It might be old-school, but the last tip from David and Lesia is to have a pen and paper handy to take notes, write down questions, and keep track of what’s going on.
“Keyboard clicking can be distracting, and you can actually miss some of the things the employer says to you because you’re so concentrated on typing and backspacing and not making mistakes, as opposed to just being able to take some quick notes,” Lesia says.
Find out more about the professional skills you’ll learn both during and after attending the University of San Diego Tech Bootcamps.