Time to Read: 5 minutes
Acing Your Next Virtual Job Interview Summary:
- How to put your best professional foot forward via the computer screen.
- Checklist of what to do to prepare for a virtual job interview aside from researching the company and practicing interview questions.
- Treat virtual interviews the same as in-person interviews.
Both phone and virtual interviews had a place within hiring processes long before the craziness of 2020 and COVID-19. With the public continuing to socially distance (most likely well into 2021), the virtual job interview has become the standard for most job positions and hiring processes.
Virtual Job Interview Checklist
Whether you have experience with virtual interviews or not, following these virtual interview tips will help in leaving a lasting impression with the interviewer.
1. Test Your Equipment
Test the technology you will be using! Make sure the camera and microphone are working correctly on your laptop or mobile device. If you are using an external camera or microphone, ensure they are hooked up correctly and working properly prior to the interview. Is your device fully charged? Are you near a plug just in case? Nothing is worse than a technical difficulty happening during an important call. While some things out of your control, check the things you can control.
2. Set the Scene
Decide on a clean, quiet place in your house to set up. Usually, a blank wall or a simple, tidy background will do. Test out the video quality and double-check that the lighting is bright enough to show your face clearly. Avoid backlit spaces. Get rid of clutter or anything else that may look unprofessional. Example: you say you are responsible and organized but the interviewer sees a stack of dirty laundry in the background, they will most certainly question your answer. Present your space in a way that reflects the traits you want to present about yourself.
3. Dress Professionally
Get ready. Despite being the comfort of your own home, get ready past what you normally do for a normal day around the house. Oftentimes, these virtual interviews are the first visual and the first impression an interviewer gets of you – so make sure it is a good one. Put on the same nice outfit you would wear to an in-person interview. If you decide to keep the lower half in sweatpants, do not stand up and walk away from the camera like this guy. Wait until the interview is over and the call has ended (and you have closed your webcam cover) to get up and decompress.
4. Eliminate Distractions
The upside to an in-person interview is that all you hyperfocused in the moment in the room with your interviewer. However, being on your computer at home is full of distractions. To avoid any possible disturbance, close extra tabs or pages on your laptop, keep your phone out of reach and eliminate anything else that might distract you. Lock any pets or other potential visitors out of the room. Make sure everyone in your household is aware of the day and time of your interview so there are no unexpected interruptions.
5. Watch Your Body Language
Another challenge to a virtual job interview is fully conveying your presence and personality over a screen. To avoid any misinterpretations, be mindful of your body language and position yourself as engaged and enthusiastic about the interview opportunity. Unlike an in-person interview, it is harder to communicate enthusiasm through body language, so go out of your way to appear energetic and eager. Avoid fidgeting or looking down or away too frequently, which comes across as distracted.
6. Be Prepared
Just like a typical interview, being prepared is your best bet at succeeding. Before you go into the interview, not only should you be prepared for the questions you will potentially be asked, but go in with a list of questions to ask the interviewer, as well. Know who you will be talking to, look over the job description, and research the company. Fight the urge to use your computer as a cheat sheet. Do the homework. Go over the questions beforehand and know your answers inside and out to come across as more confident and genuine to your interviewer.
7. Follow up
Within 24 hours of your interview, send the interviewer a thank-you email. Thank them for their time and bring up one or two specifics you discussed during the interview. This email is also a great opportunity to elaborate on something that was said in the interview or have the interviewer clear up any points of confusion. Make sure you address the right person and check for typos. Following up with a thank-you email will show you are highly interested in the position.
If you do not hear from the interviewer after a week or two, think about following up once more. Whether or not they are still interviewing for the role, following up will give you a better sense of where you stand within their candidate search.
Overall, a virtual job interview is not that different from an in-person interview. Like any interview, it is important to be prepared and professional, but there are a few extra things to keep in mind during a phone or video call. Ensuring your technology is working correctly will reduce the risk of technical difficulties and make the interview go smoothly. It is also important to set up a clean, well-lit area during your interview. Wear a nice outfit, monitor your body language, and eliminate anything that will interrupt or distract you.
Although it can be scary to interview virtually, following these virtual interview tips will set you up for success. Going about the process remotely can still leave a lasting impression on the interviewer.