Mastering a Virtual Interview

May 29, 2020

With COVID-19 still affecting our daily lives, many aspects of ‘normal life’ have gone virtual. This includes everything from buying groceries to attending classes. If you have been job searching, you probably know interviews have gone virtual, too. Whether you’re a recent graduate or in the market for a new job, you should anticipate a virtual interview. The fundamental tips below will ensure a positive virtual interview:

1. ALWAYS Test the Technology

The minute you agree to a virtual interview, test your technology to ensure you’re set up for success. Check your internet connectivity and confirm your camera and microphone are working. This allows time for troubleshooting if needed. Do not be late or miss the interview due to a technology error.

2. Set the Scene and Minimize Distractions

While testing your technology, determine where to take the interview. Find a room with optimal lighting, preferably near a window, or a blank wall to guarantee you’re the focal point of the conversation. Whether you sit on your living room couch or home office, tidy up your surroundings.

Remember to eliminate all distractions. Turn off the TV, silence your cell phone, and close any nearby windows to muffle outside noise.

3. Prepare Questions

Coming to an interview without questions may lead the interviewer to think you haven’t done your research on the company or the job. Just because you’re on a computer doesn’t mean you can search the web for answers mid-interview. You want to appear focused and ready to answer any questions without the help of the internet.

Research the company ahead of time and jot down notes for easy reference. Also print out a copy of your resume, so that you don’t forget key talking points. Being prepared and asking relevant questions demonstrates interest and enthusiasm, making a memorable impression.

4. Practice, Don’t Memorize

You don’t want to sound robotic throughout your interview—whether answering or asking questions. It’s important to keep things simple. It is also easy to tell if you aren’t being genuine, so it’s a good idea to run through a few practice rounds with a friend or family member. This will give you a chance to rehearse and answer a variety of questions.

Don’t feel like you have to give a long-winded answer if the question doesn’t warrant it. Being clear and concise is one of the most important things in a job interview.

5. Dress the Part

It is necessary to look your best. You might be sitting near your bed, but you shouldn’t look like you just rolled out of it. Employers notice effort. Dress as you would for an in-person interview. This will help you be in an interview-ready mindset. Studies show people feel “most authoritative, trustworthy, and competent when wearing business attire.”

6. Monitor Your Body Language

You can’t firmly shake hands or easily exude enthusiasm via video. But what you can do is monitor your body language. The main way to communicate confidence is to sit up straight, smile, and keep the camera at eye level.

7. Be Yourself

A key task for the interviewer is determining whether you would be a good fit for the company’s culture. This can be challenging during a virtual interview because there is a physical disconnect. It’s more difficult for the interviewer to understand your enthusiasm through the screen, so make sure you’re expressive when answering questions.

Ultimately, the key to acing a virtual interview is proper preparation. From ensuring your technology is working to conducting research before the interview, sitting down at your computer poised, confident, and ready for any and all questions will help set you apart from other applicants.

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