To Get The Job, You Need To Ace the Virtual Interview. Here's How!
Lights, camera, action!
Most people don’t think of being on camera when they picture a job interview, but as employers continue to adjust to life with Covid-19 video interviewing has become the norm. It’s a flexible, convenient, and safe way for employers to get to know candidates and avoid putting the entire hiring plan on hold. However, if you’re not familiar with the process, video interviewing can be even more intimidating than in-person. Avoid the stage fright with our tips to make your interview a one-take triumph.
Before your interview
Getting your interview space and technology ready beforehand is a great start to feeling confident on the day of your interview. We recommend using a webcam mounted on a monitor or laptop for your interviews, but if you have to use your phone, make sure it’s securely propped up. Don’t give in to the temptation to hold your phone – you want your interviewer to be focused on you and the points you’re making rather than their motion sickness from your phone swinging around.
As you check on your camera, make sure the space around you isn’t distracting, cluttered, or showing something overly personal. A blank wall or an office-like space with natural lighting is ideal, but any clean space (that isn’t your bed) will work. Make sure your set-up is in a quiet space with no music, barking dogs, children or other distractions.
Another distraction to avoid is a low battery indicator. It’s a good idea to have your computer or phone plugged in while you’re holding your interview. Video conferencing apps often run down your battery faster than you might expect. Avoid the embarrassment of your computer suddenly shut down and stay connected to power for the entire conversation
It may seem silly, but a dress rehearsal the day before your interview is a good idea! Pick an outfit that is business-professional – even if you’re interviewing from your bedroom. As with any other interview, you want to dress to impress. Check to make sure that your outfit looks as good on camera as it does in person. Remember, you won’t have your slacks or skirt in the frame to dress up your shirt, which means that it’s even more important that your top be professional and polished. That being said, don’t choose sweatpants to accompany your dress shirt. You never know when you might have to get up on camera.
The next step of your dress rehearsal is to check that your tech is ready to go. Set your webcam at eye level and make sure your headphones/microphone are working correctly. The last thing you want is unexpected technical issues throwing you off right before you begin.
Finally, before you end your set up, make sure to place a copy of your resume and any notes you have next to your computer. That way you can easily refer to them during the call.
During the interview
The big day is here! There are a few small things you can do beyond the normal interviewing guidelines to make your video call a success.
First, before you log on to the call it’s critical to make sure your phone is on silent or turned off. It can be a huge distraction for not only you but also your interviewer if it keeps buzzing or receiving notifications. If you’re using your phone for the interview, it is especially important to turn off all notifications.
Body language is extremely important in a video interview. Just like an in-person interview, you want to do your best to seem attentive and professional. Maintaining good eye contact is a big step in the right direction.
In a video interview eye contact is a bit tricky, since you won’t actually be meeting your interviewers eyes. The best way to appear to maintain eye contact is to keep your eyes on the camera – not on the person’s face. It may seem a little awkward, but this will give the impression that you’re making direct eye contact. Looking around the room, at your hands, or even at the interviewer’s face on the screen may make you look distracted or bored.
It can be too easy to let yourself slip into a more casual posture in a remote interview, which you want to avoid! Keep your whole self engaged and to project confidence by sitting up straight, subtly nodding when the other person speaks, and using small hand gestures to show enthusiasm when answering questions.
Remember, it’s important to smile throughout the conversation! You may find that you naturally want to hold a neutral expression, since you’re effectively sitting in a room by yourself, but remember that a pleasant expression will help you seem engaged and enthusiastic about the role you’re talking about.
Don’t panic if technology fails or a distraction pops up!
No matter how prepared you are beforehand, sometimes the unexpected happens. Be ready to adjust on the fly if something comes up (the audio drops out, your roommate starts blaring music, etc); stay calm and friendly; ask if your interviewer can see or hear you. If you can’t resolve the issue immediately, you can suggest hanging up and trying the call again. If you lose each other completely, keep their contact information at hand to reach out right away. Your interviewer knows that these things happen, it’s become very common with the entire world suddenly working (and interviewing) from home.
One last thing…
This is a real interview!
While the format may be non-traditional, employers are still carefully evaluating each candidate for fit and skill. So don’t forget to practice/prepare for answering common interview questions and have questions of your own to ask.
Prefer to get your video interviewing tips by video? Click here for more advice on preparing for a video interview. Want to see more job searching content? Our new Youtube channel is a great resource for preparing to answer tough interview questions. That’s a wrap! Good luck!