J Patrick + Associates Blog

Joseph Barrera

Recent Posts

How to Ace your Virtual Interview

Posted by Joseph Barrera on Tue, Jun 23, 2020 @ 11:17 AM

How to Ace Your Virtual InterviewCovid 19 has wreaked havoc on many Businesses, Industries and peoples’ lives as a whole...

For those seeking new job opportunities, the option to attend an in-person job interview is simply not viable. Therefore, virtual interviews have become the new norm.

However, what exactly is a virtual interview? What equipment do I need to have for a successful virtual  interview? What makes a Virtual interview so special?  How can I prepare for a virtual interview?  

What is A Virtual Interview? 

Simply put, a virtual interview is an interview done over Video Conferencing Software. The interviewer will send you a link to a call, either on Zoom, Google Meets, or Skype.  You can then talk to and see the person on your computer screen.

What are the differences between Live and Pre-recorded Interviews? 

Video interviews come in two forms chosen by the company: Live and pre recorded. 

A pre-recorded interview is when the interview questions are shown on your computer screen and you record your answers in a given amount of time. The interviewer will review your answers at a later time.

A live interview is when you join a video call from the interviewer on a conferencing platform.

What are the Benefits of Virtual Interviews?

Interviewing remotely has many facets that can benefit both the candidate and the employer.

  • Hire Globally: Candidates that live in geographic areas far from the business headquarters can still be interviewed via Virtual Interview to work in the office or do remote work. 
  • Hire the Best Employees: Being able to interview candidates from various locations can help increase a company's talent pool.
  • Faster Hiring: Pre-recorded interviews can save the hiring manager a ton of time and make it easy to share candidate responses with other team members.
  • Reduce Cost: Additionally, this eliminates the travel costs employers incur when traveling to interview people.
  • Flexibility: Do you have to get your kid to a soccer game at 3PM but have time mid-morning or after dinner to interview? No problem! Virtual interviews can be done at a time that is convenient for both you and the interviewer.

How do Virtual Interviews differ from traditional in-person interviews

Face to face interviews have preparation steps that we have all been familiarized with. However, virtual interviews have some different steps to take.

Here are a few virtual interview tips:

  • Reliable Internet Connection: You will need a wifi connection and bandwidth speed at least one megabit per second. 
  • Professional Space: You will need a space that is well lit, with a professional appearance and free of any distractions, including family, pets and loud distracting sounds. 
  • Alternative Solutions: If you are lacking a good wifi connection or private space, consider checking out your local library. They offer private rooms you can rent, additionally they may be able to provide you with any equipment you're lacking. Or ask a friend or family member if you can borrow equipment.

Equipment preparation for Virtual Interview

Having a functional work space with the correct equipment is key. You will use several pieces of equipment to make your video interview work. 

Some of the equipment needed include: a webcam (internal or external), a headset or microphone, adequate lighting and the software required to interview on whatever platform the interviewer uses, usually Skype, Zoom, or Google Meet.

Interview Space

Are you a detail oriented person? 

Well… that dirty pile of laundry in the corner of your room might make your interviewer think otherwise.

The space you choose for your interview should appear professional and organized. Your bedroom, a guest room, your home office or kitchen are usually good places to orchestrate your virtual interview.



Most computers come with a pre-installed webcam. However, external webcams are a better option for most as they give you more options in terms of image control, positioning and image quality. Additionally, many external webcams come with software to adjust exposure, balance, and color. 

Pricing for external webcams will vary depending on quality, and features and can range from $25 to upwards of $200. If you are looking for something of quality, yet cost-effective, the Logitech HD Webcam C270 is a great option.

When setting up your webcam, be sure it's approximately eye level, slightly pointing downwards. If necessary, place some books under your computer to raise the height of your webcam. You want to make sure you can make eye contact with your interviewer.


If you really want to give off a professional impression, lighting is key to your success. Regardless of the webcam you decide to go with, if you are doing the interview in a dimly lit space, you are putting yourself at a huge disadvantage. Since the interview is virtual, your body language is important therefore it must be seen.

While you do not need to have expensive lighting, the quality of the light projected is important. A budget friendly solution is to purchase some inexpensive clamp lights and some full spectrum bulbs from your local home improvement store. 


“I’m sorry, I didn’t get that” “What did you say?” “Could you please repeat the question?”

Interviews are stressful for both the candidate and the hiring manager. A smooth interview is one without technical difficulties including echos, background noises, and poor sound quality. That being said, it is imperative that you invest in a proper headset and microphone. 

The Logitech H390 USB Headphone is a fantastic option and won’t break the bank. 


There are many different platforms that hiring companies may choose to use for their interviews. The most common of these are Google Meets, Zoom, and Skype for Business. 

You should take the time to familiarize yourself with these platforms. Make sure the username that you use is professional. "Skateboardkid08" may have been cool in the times of AIM, but times have changed. 

Best Practices for Virtual Interviews

Your equipment is set up properly and you're able to use it....great, now what? Similar to how you prepared your equipment you need to prepare for the big day itself.

Preliminary Research

The more time you spend researching and preparing for the interview, the more comfortable you will be, and the more confident you will seem to the hiring manager.

  • Educate yourself on the company and role for which you are applying. 
  • Check out the company's Social Media Channels and website. 
  • Learn about any exciting news that has occurred within the company or industry. 
  • Connect with people associated with the company to get some key insider information. 
  • Take the time to find out some of the frequently asked interview questions. This way you can think of relevant past work experiences or projects to answer the questions and show your capabilities.

What is the proper dress code for a virtual interview?

When it comes to virtual interview attire, the general rule remains the same; dress to impress. 

Having a professional and/or business casual look is still important for a virtual interview outfit. Studies show people feel more authoritative, trustworthy, competent, and confident when wearing formal business attire.

Here are a few more things to keep in mind:

  • Avoid loud, distracting patterns
  • Avoid black and white colored clothes
  • If you were glasses, make sure the are glare free
  • Keep the jewelry to a minimum
  • Go light on the makeup 

How to deal with nervousness

Interviews are likely to give even the most experienced interviewers nerves. The best solution for nervousness is preparedness. 

Log into the platform where your interview will be hosted 10-15 minutes before your scheduled start time. Do a final equipment check to make sure everything is operating properly. Review your keywords, talking points, and make sure your documents are organized and ready to go.

Take several deep breaths and focus on being relaxed and centered.

If you are feeling nervous about your interview the day before give this a try...

When laying in bed and before falling asleep, reach into your memory bank and find your most successful interview. Replay that over and over in your head. Try and feel how you felt during that interview and if possible recall what you said or how you behaved. This will put positive energy in your head and help you relax for your big day.  

What to do if things go wrong

Things don’t always go as planned. Technology can be finicky, even challenging at times. Before your virtual interview make sure you have a contact with a phone number. That way, if something happens, you can call the person and ask to reschedule or continue over the phone. 

How to Rescue Your Interview from a Bad First Impression

Follow Up

If you want to leave a great impression on the interviewer, make sure to write a follow-ep email.  

In this email you want to:

  • Thank the interviewer for their time
  • Highlight the ways your talents are suited for the role
  • Include anecdotes from the interview and job description

A well-constructed follow-up email showcases your communication and active listening skills; both of which are highly sought after soft skills.

Now, go to ace your virtual interview!

6 Soft Skills AV Hiring Managers Should Look For in Candidates

Posted by Joseph Barrera on Thu, Jan 09, 2020 @ 11:04 AM

6 Soft Skills (1)

If you’re a hiring manager in the Audiovisual industry, then you know how frustrating it can be to find and hire the best AV candidates.

It is important that they possess the industry-standard certifications and they have experience working on the specific types of projects that your company works on.

However, soft skills are crucially important as well, and if overlooked can lead to hiring blunder after hiring blunder; costing you and your company precious time and money.

As recruiters in the Audiovisual Industry, we understand your pain and have outlined the specific soft skills we look for when finding and placing the best AV candidates.

6 Soft Skills every AV hiring manager should look for when hiring candidates

Strong Communication

The most important soft skill hiring managers should look for from AV candidates is their ability to communicate effectively. 

Effective communication between AV project managers and technicians, for example, is vital in terms of making sure the projects are done in a timely manner and up to standards. Often times, employees also need to communicate with customers to explain the project as a whole, answer any questions that arise, and address any concerns the customer may have.  The ideal AV candidates make themselves reachable by phone for both customers and managers (even when they are off the clock). 

After all, the purpose of AV technology is to keep people throughout different parts of the world connected. Audiovisual professionals should practice what they preach and reflect strong communication. 

Time Management

Time management skills are crucial, especially in the Audiovisual industry. Your customers want their projects finished in a timely manner. Your project managers should have deadlines in place and your AV installers, and programmers need to be able to adhere to a rigid schedule.

Any signs that a potential employee may not be reliable to show up on time (like showing up late to the interview for example), should be a huge red flag. Their tardiness can delay a project and ultimately worsen the reputation of your company.

Willingness to Learn

Technology improves with time, and the Audiovisual industry is one of the fastest-growing industries within the sector. You want employees that are adaptable to change, and eager to learn the ins and outs of your company, the technology they use, and the standard industry certifications.

Continued education not only allows your employees the knowledge to make them masters of their craft but it also shows that they are truly passionate about the AV industry and would make great long-term employees

Customer Service 

Even if your candidate is the best technician or control systems programmer you have ever seen, if they cannot present themselves as professionals to your customer, then they will do more harm than good. 

Besides showing up on time and communicating effectively, professional AV candidates should have a professional appearance both onsite and when face to face with the customer.

Critical Thinking

The Audiovisual industry is unique in that you will never encounter two projects that are exactly the same. 

Professionals in the AV industry need to be able to think on their feet. They must have patience when a project is not going according to the script, and they must also be excellent at diagnosing and troubleshooting issues on the fly.

Work Ethic

Work ethic is an important quality to possess in any industry. This is especially true in the AV industry. 

If you’ve ever fallen behind on a project, you need a strong team willing to put in the grunt work and extra hours (sometimes days) that it takes to complete the project on schedule.

In Summary

The hiring process can be incredibly frustrating when you are evaluating the wrong credentials. Hopefully, after reading this article you are in a better position to weed out the truly reliable candidates from those who look good on paper. 

New call-to-action

Your Guide to Preparing for the AVIXA CTS EXAM

Posted by Joseph Barrera on Wed, Dec 11, 2019 @ 10:50 AM

How to Prepare for the AVIXA CTS EXAM

How to Prepare for the AVIXA CTS Exam

So you want to advance your career in the Audiovisual industry...

Well, an AVIXA CTS Credentials will certainly help you do that. 

Whether you’re a brand new technician looking to get your feet wet, a seasoned installer looking to sharpen your skills, or looking to advance into a management position, AVIXA has the solution for you.

The process of getting certified can seem overwhelming to some, but I promise you it is well worth it in the end. 

In order to make things easier for you, we’ve outlined each step you need to take to get that highly regarded CTS credential.

Prerequisite Learning

Before you can start diving into the material that is on the actual CTS exams, it is crucial that you have a fundamental understanding of the Audiovisual Industry as a whole.

Here are a few of the most recommended courses/certifications:

1. Quickstart to the AV Industry Online

Designed as a crash course and a complete introduction to the Audiovisual Industry. Perfect for newbies or anyone interested in exploring a career in AV.

2. Essentials of AV Technology

Learn the basic science that goes into creating an Audiovisual integrated experience.

3. AV Math Online

Master common AV calculations and increase your confidence through practical industry-related examples and problems

4. AV-Technologist Certificate

This is a great way to test your proficiency in the fundamentals of AV and also prepare you for the CTS certifications.

Test Preparation

As with most other things, preparation is key. Here are a few exam preparation tips to ensure that you are comfortable with the material and confident going into your CTS exam.

1. Read the CTS Handbook. 

The CTS handbook will give over:

  • CTS Application and Exam Process
  • Exam Related Information
  • Application Related Information
  • CTS Program Administration Information
  • Exam Preparation and Education
  • Exam Outlines and Applications

2. Read the CTS Exam Study Guide

The CTS Exam Study guide will cover CTS exam objectives:

  • Develop a Site scope
  • Conduct a Site Survey
  • Troubleshoot and Repair AV Solutions

Each chapter includes in-depth explanations of material as well as review questions to test your knowledge

3. CTS Prep Three-day Course

Th CTS Prep Course is an optional in-person course for those who want a more hands-on study experience. This course will cover:

  • CTS Exam format
  • Test Taking Strategies
  • Exam Expectations
  • Examine CTS study needs with drills 
  • Review Exam Content Areas

If, you’d rather learn from the comfort of your own home check out CTS Prep Virtual Classroom

4. Hands-on Experience

For a lot of people, the best way to learn and retain information is by doing. Hands-on experience installing, configuring, and troubleshooting AV solutions will give you an added boost in your overall proficiency in AV systems.

Submit Application

There are two options for submitting an application:

  1. Apply Online
  2. Download and Submit a PDF Application via fax, email, or mail

Schedule Exam

Schedule an interview directly through the Pearson VUE testing center

Retake Test

Candidates who do not pass their initial CTS exam can take the exam two additional times ($130 / Additional Attempt) with a minimum 30 day period between attempts.

Candidates must also fill out a Retest Application

Renewing Certification

CTS credentials are awarded for a three-year period. In order to renew your certification, you must maintain minimum levels of continuing education during each three-year period.

To find out more about renewing your Avixa Credential click here


The AVIXA CTS is one of the best-known, sought after credentials in the Audiovisual industry. If you’re serious about your career in the AV industry then do yourself a favor and take the time to become CTS certified.

Click me

Comparing AVIXA CTS certifications for AV professionals

Posted by Joseph Barrera on Wed, Dec 04, 2019 @ 08:45 AM

Weighing the Importance of the AVIXA CTS Certifications

Anyone who is anyone in the Audiovisual industry knows all about AVIXA.
Formally known as InfoComm, AVIXA is the international trade association that represents the professional AV industry.

AVIXA Certifications (CTS, CTS-I, and CTS-D) are highly regarded and recognized globally, as the leading AV credentials.

Which certifications you choose to pursue are dependent on your current experience in AV, as well as your desired career trajectory. 

Let’s take a deeper look into the three AVIXA CTS credentials and outline which is most appropriate for you and your career.

Certified Technology Specialist Credential (CTS)?

A CTS performs general technology solution tasks by:

  • Creating, operating, and servicing AV solutions

  • Conducting AV management activities that provide for the best audiovisual resolutions of the client’s needs, both on time and within budget.

What is the AVIXA CTS Certification

The AVIXA CTS or Certified Technology Specialist is the most general AVIXA certification. As a CTS specialist, you will be able to create operate and service AV solutions, and manage AV activities that best serve the client’s needs. 

The Certified Technology Specialist Program (CTS) is considered globally as the leading credential for AV professionals. Currently, there are 13,000 CTS holders, 2,000 of which have specialized credentials (CTS-I, CTS-D). 


 The benefits of a CTS Certification

  • Improves core competency with AV equipment

  • Improves credibility among colleagues

  • Improves marketability to potential employers and clients

  • Showcases willingness to learn and improve skillset

  • Showcases professionalism and technical proficiency

  • Improves career options and salary


Requirements for AVIXA CTS

There are no prerequisite courses or experiences required before applying (however AV experience would make the test much easier). 


Is the AVIXA CTS for you?

If you are new to the audiovisual industry, the AVIXA CTS should be one of the first certifications that you acquire. By doing so, you will establish the baseline knowledge that you need to be an entry-level AV technician or installer


AVIXA CTS-I Certification

The AVIXA CTS-I (Installation) installs and maintains audiovisual systems. 

  • Follows specification and safety protocols

  • Administers Installation Process Logistics

  • Troubleshooting and problem-solving AV systems

  • Communicates with clients, and other designers to ensure the best AV solutions

Requirements for AVIXA CTS-I

In order to apply for your CTS-I exam, you must have a valid CTS certification and a minimum of two years of experience installing AV equipment.


Is the AVIXA CTS-I certification for you?

If you have a few years of experience in the AV industry and you are looking to go from an entry-level AV technician to a Lead technician or field engineer than the CTS-I can be an incredibly valuable certification for you. 

The emphasis of the AVIXA CTS-I certification is the installation of commercial AV systems. Many managers at AV Integrators on the install side (i.e. Field Operations Managers and Technical Operations Managers) possess this certification. Also, a fair amount of Crestron Programmers will have the CTS-I as well. They are involved not only with software solutions but in writing the control logic for Crestron’s hardware installed in integrated conference rooms. 


 AVIXA CTS-D Certification

The AVIXA CTS-D (Design) designs audiovisual systems.

  • Designs AV systems

  • Prepares documents for design

  • Communicates with vendors and clients to create AV solutions that meet client requirements


Requirements for AVIXA CTS-D

In order to apply for your CTS-D exam, you must have a valid CTS certification and a minimum of two years of experience designing AV equipment.


Is the AVIXA CTS-D for you?

The CTS-D is highly regarded in the AV industry and one of the most difficult certifications to acquire (Under 20% pass rate). 

If you are looking to move into the design or engineering side of the AV industry (Design Engineer, project engineer, solutions architect) then the CTS-D is the appropriate certification for you. Any Management level positions overseeing a design team, such as an Engineering Director, or Manager of Pre-Sales Engineering are often required to have a CTS-D.


How much does each AVIXA certification cost?

The cost of the AVIXA certifications varies based on country, AVIXA membership, and certification type.


USD Member

USD Non-member

Euro Member

Euro Non-member

GBP Member

GBP Non-member

AUD Member

AUD Non-member






































AVIXA CTS Handbook


Is there an advantage to being dual-certified? (CTS-I & CTS-D)

There are currently over 12,000 AVIXA CTS holders, still less than 500 with both the CTS-I and CTS-D certifications. AV professionals who are dual certified are respected amongst their peers, highly sought after by employers, and considered leaders in the AV industry. 

They are considered to have a mastery of two of the most crucial phases of the project life cycle: the design phase and installation phase. 


Are the AVIXA CTS credentials worth it?

CTS credentials are highly regarded in the Audiovisual Industry, and are well worth the investment as you  then able to position yourself as a professional in the AV industry, earn you credibility among colleagues, and can dramatically put your career in AV on the fast track to promotion. 

If you are passionate about AV and see yourself working in the industry in the long-term then yes, the CTS credential is definitely worth it. 

New call-to-action

Tags: AV/VTC/UC, certifications

6 Reasons to Keep Job Searching in the 2022 Holiday Season

Posted by Joseph Barrera on Mon, Nov 25, 2019 @ 08:45 AM

why you should continue your job search through the holidays

Everyone knows that searching for a job can be a struggle. At no point during the year is this more starkly evident than during the holidays--there are gifts to buy, gatherings to attend, estranged friends and family to reconnect with, and, to top it all off, the sun is blessing your various commitments less and less every day.

For all these reasons and more, you might be tempted to think that this time of year is a good time to pump the breaks on the holiday job search. You’d much rather spend time with family than cast endless phone calls and emails into the unknown. Besides, companies aren’t hiring now anyway. It can wait until January. Right? Well... 

As it turns out, by taking a break during the holiday season, you are actually missing out on several opportunities to find your dream job.

Here are 5 reasons why you should continue your job search through the holidays

1. There is Still Business to be Done

Ah, the holidays: comforter-thick fuzzy socks, cocoa around the fireplace, eggnog...naps. Everything in your environment beckons you to demand less of yourself and enjoy. The most ambitious and successful companies, however, know that there is still work to be done. They know that ideal candidates flicker and disappear these days, and by sitting on the sidelines until January, they are giving their competition opportunities to swoop in and steal their next game changer. 

2. Efficient Onboarding

Businesses seeking to hire during the holiday season are frequently doing so out of dire necessity. Whether they’ve acquired new business or lost a power player, there are business-critical roles that must be filled before the new year. This means that if you meet a company's needs, there's a good chance you'll also enjoy a pleasantly streamlined onboarding process.

3. Less Competition

Fewer candidates applying for open positions means you will be in greater demand. It’s simple supply-and-demand economics. Furthermore, prospective employers will appreciate the fact that you are seeking to advance your career while your peers are seeking a second helping of apple pie.

4. Networking Opportunities

It’s the most wonderful time of the year--for networking. 

Holiday parties and social events are the perfect time to connect with people who can help you in your job search. Remember, we're only six degrees removed from one another, and you might as well risk making an acquaintance while everyone is trying to be in good spirits. It's also increasingly likely that, since business is slower this time of year, hiring managers will have plenty of time to schedule an interview.

5. Avoid the Rut

If ever you've undertaken a task that required sustained and disciplined effort, you know that Newton's first law applies about as well to internal states of mind as it does external material objects. Running a few miles is easy if you've been doing it every other day for several months, but take a few weeks off (around the holidays, say, when it's cold and people keep planting pastries within arm's reach) and summoning the will to lace up the ASICS can feel like swimming through figgy pudding. Don't let up just because "it's an occasion." Momentum is hard-won and far too easy to lose.

6. Have a Happy New Year

While others are frantically searching for new job opportunities in January, you will be able to relax in the knowledge that you’ve already secured your future. With one less task on your New Year’s resolution list, you’ll be able to focus on getting back to the gym, spending more time with your family, or tinkering with that revolutionary gadget you’ve had in the basement for the last eight years. 

Click me

5 key Strategies to Land Your Dream Job

Posted by Joseph Barrera on Tue, Oct 22, 2019 @ 03:16 PM

5 Key Strategies to land Your Dream Job

So you want to land your dream job...

You know, the job that makes you jump out of bed without your alarm, excited to start your day. The job that keeps you engaged and full of energy while at work. The job that you are proud to tell your friends and family about. The job that you have been dreaming about for years and years (maybe since you were a child).

After all, you deserve it. 

You’ve put the time into your education through schooling or certifications. You’ve put in the work as well, spending countless hours improving your skills and mastering your craft. 

But what do you do next?

Here are 5 key strategies you can take right away, to land your dream job.

1. Use Social Media to Find your next job

    • If you do not have a LinkedIn profile, you are not serious about finding a job: Not only has LinkedIn become the go-to network for job searching, but it also has become the perfect platform for hiring managers and talent acquisition professionals to find qualified candidates.
    • Make sure all social profiles are up to date and optimized for keywords: This includes adding relevant certifications by name, software, tools you’re proficient in, and industry-specific projects that stick out on your resume in detail 
    • Join Groups and job boards related to your industry on Facebook and LinkedIn: This will allow you to further build your network and see new job opportunities as they are made available
    • Message hiring managers directly - This shows hiring managers that you are ambitious and willing to take initiative, and will really help you stand out amongst other possible candidates.

2. Create a clean resume and apply to open positions in your area

    • Your resume (like your LinkedIN profile) should be optimized for keywords and up to date: This increases the chances of your resume being found in search engines (Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.;) and also shows that you are an authority in the industry in which you are applying
    • Take the time to create cover letters when applying to jobs: Do preliminary research on the company where you are applying. Write a cover letter specific to the company, and the position you are applying for. Explain how your skillset and experiences are relevant to the company’s needs. 

3. Allow a recruiter to search for you

    • Hiring managers are very busy and get bombarded with resumes: An experienced recruiter has spent years building relationships and earning the trust of hiring managers. They will make sure to put your resume directly in front of the decision-maker.
    • Recruiters who work in specific industries have unique insight: Your Recruiter will know which companies are good to work for and what those companies look for in an ideal applicant. They will also know which companies have an immediate need.
    • Recruiters are only successful when you are happy: Recruiters have an incentive to make sure you are completely satisfied with your new job (most have guarantee periods after a placement is made). A professional recruiter will only find you opportunities completely in-line with your goals.

4. Be Diligent but be patient

    • Take Steps every day towards finding your dream job: Finding a new job can be frustrating, but it is a necessary burden. Stay active on social media, and remain in contact with your recruiter to ensure progress.
    • Iron out all of your weaknesses: If you see a position that you really want but you are under-qualified for, ask yourself why? If you are lacking a certain certification, for example, take steps towards acquiring it. The more you are improving your skillset, the greater chance you have of landing your dream job. 

5. Be Patient

    • Finding your dream job takes time: Don’t spam hiring managers or recruiters. Just focus on these best practices and your dream opportunity will come


Job search