Virtual interviews have become a pretty standard practice for most employers these days and it’s likely that any job seeker will have at least one come up during the job-hunting process. Approach a virtual interview the same way you would an in-person interview – prepare in advance, dress the part, and be confident and articulate – only now you’ll be doing it all from the comfort of your own home!
Of course, there are differences in a virtual interview. Whether your interviewer is using Zoom, Skype, or one of the many other available platforms, follow the tips below to ace any virtual interview.
Prepare Your Space
Set up a professional but comfortable area before your interview. Think about everything that your interviewer may see in your selected space. A plain wall is the best background, but if you don’t have that just remove anything that may be a distraction or embarrassing for your interviewer to see, such as vivid artwork, clutter, or personal or confidential information. Also, check your position to ensure your lighting is coming from the side or front – a light behind you will wash you out and make it harder to see your face. Once you’re in position, open your camera to see exactly what your interviewer will see and adjust as needed.
Use a Desktop or Laptop Computer
Whenever possible, avoid using your cell phone for a virtual interview. Trying to juggle a cell phone, reference your notes, and show the interviewer your best self can be challenging; using a computer on a stable surface will eliminate that concern. If you do need to use a cell phone or tablet, put it in a stationary position and avoid adjusting or moving it around during your interview.
Close all the other programs on your computer to avoid notifications that may pop up during the interview, and put your phone on silent and facedown. Consider any noise that might occur; let any housemates know you’re doing a job interview, if you have pets put them in another room, and silence any ringtones or alarms. Finally, avoid things like fidgeting, typing, or leaning out of the camera frame. Unexpected distractions will happen and most interviewers will take them in stride, but it’s always best to avoid whatever you can.
Look at Your Interviewer
One of the most common mistakes during a virtual interview is looking at yourself on the screen. Instead, focus on the interviewer so you’re not distracted by your own image and expressions. It’s hard to make true eye contact virtually, but focusing on your camera periodically will give the interviewer a sense of eye contact. You can even tape arrows, notes, or other indicators to your screen as a reminder to keep your eyes on the other person – nobody will see that but you!
Prepare Notes – But Don’t Rely on Them
Brief, bulleted notes can help you quickly remember specific details. List your top achievements, relevant performance metrics, or other things you want to be sure to mention – anything that helps you answer a question without stumbling is great! However, don’t rely heavily on your notes or read straight from the page. Notes should be a quick reference rather than a distraction, and it will quickly be obvious to your interviewer if you’re reading from a script.
Keep Your Interviewer Engaged
One downside to a virtual interview is how easy it can be for a participant to zone out in front of a screen. Keep the conversation flowing by providing detailed answers and examples. Also be sure to ask your own questions – if you’re not sure where to start, check out https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/questions-to-ask-in-an-interview. It’s also good to inject some of your sparkling personality into your interview!
Practice makes perfect! If you don’t regularly use virtual video platforms, you should complete at least one test run. Create a sample meeting, log in, and get familiar with the basic functions. Ask a friend to help you practice by doing a mock interview.
Ultimately, interviewing virtually isn’t much different from interviewing in person. You still need to demonstrate your interest in the role, show off your skills and experience, and give a glimpse of how your personality will mesh with the existing team. Preparing ahead of time will allow you to focus on what matters most: presenting yourself as a fantastic candidate and nailing your interview!!
Now what? Check out https://www.acloche.com/2021/09/14/how-to-follow-up-on-your-job-interview/ for tips on how to follow up after an interview.