Virtual interviews are on the rise, and with more and more companies adopting them as a common part of their selection process, you can expect it to become an integral part of your job search. While there are plenty of similarities between the in-person and online versions, acing a virtual interview does take some prep. Here are a few tips:
Check the Equipment
Technology is unpredictable, and while you may believe that your tech and equipment are ready for a virtual interview, it’s important that you check everything before you actually go live. Do a dry run before the day of your virtual interview. Consider video quality, audio levels, loading speed, and Wi-Fi connections. It’s better to make adjustments in advance than to be scrambling with your Skype or Zoom feed just before the interview. The distraction and stress of not being prepared can have a negative impact on your interview.
Yes, pajamas are comfortable, but conducting the interview in the comfort of your own home still requires you to dress the part. You’ll be on camera and hiring managers will have the same expectations as they would for an in-person interview. Dress professionally and come prepared as though you were meeting face to face.
P.S. Jewelry and lighting may show glare. It may not be noticeable to you, but it could distract the hiring manager. Remember to conduct a dry run – in the outfit and jewelry you will be wearing – before your interview.
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings
The best surroundings for your virtual interview will be locations where distractions, both visual and audio, will not be an issue. Choose a location that eliminates external noise (i.e. street traffic, background chatter, radio, television, etc.) so the interviewer isn’t distracted. It may not be possible to get your pets out of the house for your interview, but if you have your own personal bark and meowing machines, isolate yourself from their disruptions.
Consider Audio Delays When Responding to Questions
Talking over your interviewer is never a positive, and while video feeds have improved greatly over the last decade, audio delays still exist. The delay may be slight, but if you aren’t careful it may sound like you’re interrupting, or not fully listening to the question. Wait until it is clear that the hiring manager is finished talking before you start. You may have the perfect answer ready to go, but be patient, wait for the hiring manager to finish, and then deliver your answer with precision.
The cadence and intonation of your voice are also important. Deliver your responses professionally and avoid tangents by answering questions precisely. Hiring managers will make determinations about you based not only on the content of your answer but also on how you communicate. Speaking too quickly, being overly excited, and going on long tangents are negative impressions you want to avoid in an interview.
Finally… Look at the Camera, Not the Screen
Looking into the camera means you are making eye contact with the interviewer. Seems pretty obvious when you read it, but in the thick on your interview it can be hard to remember. Your focus should be the camera and not the eyes you see on screen. It may take a bit of practice, but you’ll get the hang of it. Remember to conduct enough dry runs to become comfortable, after all, practice makes perfect.