Set yourself up for success before the interview even begins. Follow the tips below carefully to ace your next virtual job interview.
Virtual interviews have grown in popularity in recent years in part due to the Covid pandemic. More and more employers have moved their hiring process online. Candidates can have their online interview via Zoom, Skype, and other similar software.
Tips for Your Next Virtual Job Interview
These tips will help candidates overcome challenges and put their best foot forward to get the job.
Prepare as you would for a traditional interview. Prepare important documents ahead of time. Have your resume printed out and place it in front of you before the interview. You can jot down notes or ideas you want to share during the interview.
A prepared interviewer will most likely have a copy of your resume ready on her end. However, it’s never a bad idea to make sure that your have a digital copy of your resume on your hard disk so you can send over at a moment’s notice.
2. Read the Job Description Carefully
You should re-read the job description a few times before you begin the virtual interview. You need to be sure you understand what the employers expect from you as an employee.
3. Research the Company Values
Your knowledge of the company may impress the recruiter. Do a quick research to understand their company culture, values, and mission statement. While the recruiters themselves may not be able to recite their mission statement, they usually appreciate the effort you put into doing the homework.
4. Pick the Location
Would you invite a new friend into your messy bedroom? No. Pick a place that is neat and free of distraction. If you’re taking the interview from home, make sure that no one else will be around. Pick a spot that is quiet and has a neutral background.
Another requirement is strong Wi-Fi reception. Test it out by binge-watching your favorite Netflix series at the planned location. If you can watch your show on HD for a few hours without the connection dropping, that’s a good sign that the Wi-Fi signal is good enough for the interview.
5. Choose Your Equipment
Choose and test your equipment a few days before the interview. While virtual interviews can be done using a number of gadgets, for example, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, or desktops, the latter two are recommended. Why? For one, you don’t have to worry about getting marketing calls on your laptop in the middle of the interview.
6. Make Sure Your Audio Is Working
You want to be sure that your voice is clear and audible and that the interviewer can hear you. Make sure you use some sort of earbuds because it is by far the most convenient option. Test your audio before the interview begins.
7. Angle Your Camera Properly
It might be distracting if the camera angle puts too much emphasis on your nostrils. Test the camera to make sure that it actually works. Position it in a way that makes yourself look presentable.
You should not be too close to the camera and you also don’t want it too far away. It is a good practice to keep the camera within arm’s length. Position yourself at the center of the screen.
8. Test the Whole Setup
The HR will probably let you know what kind of software they’ll be using to conduct the interview a few days before the interview. But they don’t, take the initiative and find out what do they use and test it out before the interview. Last-minute technical difficulties are stressful and can affect your mental state.
For example, say they’re using Zoom. It would be a good idea to try it out with a friend (or just use your phone and laptop). This way you can be certain that everything from the hardware to software is working fine.
9. Make Sure You Have Good Lighting
It is important that you keep good lighting during your interview because your interviewer needs to see your facial expressions clearly. No matter how great your answers are to their interview questions, if your lighting is poor, they would likely forget about you. To ensure you are well lit, position yourself in front of a window. This will provide a source of natural light and will bring out your best color.
If you cannot find a window, make sure you place a light in front of you. But keep in mind that you don’t want to wash yourself out with too much light.
10. Dress Appropriately
You may be tempted to only dress up the upper half of your body. But I’d advise against that.
Treat your video interview as you would treat every other interview. You should dress exactly the way you would if you were going to an office for the interview.
Make sure the colors you choose for your interview attire complements your skin tone. Avoid clothes that are too bright because they can be a distraction to your interviewer.
Read next: Wearing a Watch to a Job Interview
11. Watch Your Energy Level
Energy translates differently on camera than in person. You don’t want to have a cold and dull conversation. A quick push-up or jumping jacks can get you pumped up so that you will be active and look more interested when you show up.
Practice will help make sure that you come to the table in an articulate fashion. It will make you feel confident in what you’re talking about. Think about a one-minute pitch you can use as an elevator pitch. Practice your answers to popular interview questions.
Get someone to do a mock interview with you. Alternatively, do a mock interview with yourself. First record some expected interview questions then play it back and record your response.
13. Be Present
Switch off all distractions before the interview. That means your phone, perhaps the windows, and letting other members of the house know to stay away from you.
Be 100% present during the interview. Pay attention to the conversation. Take your mind off every other issue and focus on the interview.
14. Body Language
Non-verbal communication is very important, as it shows active engagement in a conversation. Instead of eye contact, make sure you look at the camera periodically to maintain engagement.
It’s ok to just look in the general direction of the screen. Maintain good posture and use hand gestures when necessary. Try to be as natural as possible and stay relaxed.
15. Follow Up Email
Send a nice follow-up email within 24 hours, thanking them for their time. You can briefly pinpoint something specific that was interesting during the interview. It would help the interviewer remember you.
This is also where you could amend any mistakes you made during the interview. For example, if you weren’t able to answer certain questions properly, this is where you can show that you can solve any problems with some research.
16. Virtual Interview Best Practices
- Don’t be late. You don’t want to keep the interviewer waiting.
- Adjust the lights in your room and avoid having a window behind you.
- Alert others in the house so that they don’t disturb you at that moment
- Clear your desk space to minimize distraction
- Organize your computer and close all tabs not in use, in case you have to share your screen.
- Have a glass of water nearby
- Put your devices in Do Not Disturb (Phone and computer)
- Be prepared 15 minutes before the start time of the interview.
17. When Something Goes Wrong
- The way you manage any situation during the interview will showcase to your interviewer your problem-solving skill.
- Politely excuse yourself to rectify any challenges
- Provide your phone number in case of audio or video interruption.
- Apologize for excessive interruptions (car horns, construction noises, ambulances)
- Allow your interviewer to know when you want to handle interruptions (if someone walks into the room)
Finally, take it easy and have a sense of humor. For example, instead of getting angry at your cat for interrupting you, just pet him and kick him out of the room. Situations like this are another reason why you should dress up professionally from the top to the bottom. Wearing boxers are comfy but could limit your mobility in a situation like this.