Those who have been on the job search for some time now are likely professionals when it comes to virtual job interviews, but those who are just starting out may need a few pointers for what to do to prepare, what to wear, and what to expect.
Even if you’ve gone through a few virtual interviews already, it never hurts to remind yourself how to be successful during the interview.
Here are our best tips to successfully make it through a virtual interview and help land you a second-round interview or a job offer.
1. Read the instructions in the email
Make sure to read through the email the day they send it and determine what platform they are going to use for the interview. Are they using Zoom, Skype, Google Meet? Make sure to download whatever platform mentioned prior to your interview day.
Are they asking you to prepare any presentations, assignments or gather specific documents for the interview as well? If so, get them together and place them where you plan on doing the interview, or email them ahead of time if they ask for that.
2. Test your technology
Take the time to test out your camera, microphone and that everything is working properly before your interview. If a friend or family member is available, give them a quick video call using the platform.
Is your Wi-Fi connection stable or should you use your phone hotspot? You wouldn’t want your video to freeze while they are talking so you miss out on a question or important information. Sometimes things just happen, and you can’t control everything, but you want to minimize the possibilities.
3. Set up your space
Find a quiet, distraction-free area to take the video call and keep a copy of your resume nearby. You should also have a notepad and pencil or pen around to jot down questions and notes you want to refer back to.
Having your resume next to you will help you talk through your work experience without having to try to remember all of the responsibilities you’ve had. Although you would think it would be easy to talk about yourself, nerves can kick in and make your mind go blank.
Make sure to remove anything that could interrupt you, like a landline, and silence your cellphone. If you are able to, place your camera in front of a bare wall or a bookshelf so the interviewers can focus on you and what you are saying. Aim for good lighting as well, whether it’s sitting by a window or having a lamp close by.
4. Wear a complete interview outfit
It may be tempting to only focus on looking good from the waist up, but it’s better to be safe than sorry and just throw on a skirt, or dress slacks too.
You will take the interview more seriously and put yourself in a professional mindset, and in case you have to get up for any reason during the interview, they won’t catch you in pajama pants!
5. Anticipate potential hiccups
Interviewing from home opens up the possibility of more distractions you can’t control. If you have children at home, or a new puppy or maybe a doorbell ring. Things happen, and we are only human so we can’t control everything.
Let the interviewer know at the beginning. You can say something like “I’m not expecting any distractions, but my toddlers are at home, please bear with me if they cause any interruptions.” Do not panic if something happens, just explain the situation and get back to the interview as quickly as possible.
6. Normal interview etiquette still applies
Virtual interviews are a different format, but still an interview. Make sure to follow the normal interview practices, like making eye contact, not interrupting the interviewer while they are talking, actively listening, and trying to use your body language to show your interest.
There are many benefits to virtual interviews. It eliminates commuting to the company’s office, finding parking, and navigating confusing layouts or buildings. You are in your own space which can put you at ease, and you can jot down notes immediately after the interview instead of having to walk back home or to your car and wait until after you’re back home.