5 Virtual Interview Tips
Virtual job interviews have become increasingly common in recent years and are having a profound impact on hiring companies, candidates and recruiters who vet candidates before presenting them to clients. Virtual interviews, which generally last from 45-60 minutes, help reduce time and costs both for the companies doing the hiring and for the candidates in the job search process.
Uncertainty about virtual interviews is now a thing of the past, as people realize that they provide just as good of an experience as in-person ones. Both the candidate and employer’s conversation style, approach, and verbal queues are visible.
Below are five tips on conducting the best virtual interview possible.
1) Test Your Technology: Once your interview is scheduled, the recruiter will provide your log-in link, credentials, and even phone numbers (as backup, in case there are any last-minute technical difficulties). At least one day before the interview, check to ensure your computer or device can access the platform, so that you have enough time to fix any issues well before the actual interview. You may need to download an application, test your internet connection (broadband connections recommended), camera, and sound. Make sure you are not backlit. Make sure that your computer is not set to fall sleep after 30 minutes and that you have a power source connection, as opposed to running off of a battery charge only. It’s also good to have a back-up device – maybe your cell phone or tablet with a wireless connection. Even with the best preparation, connections drop, sound cuts out and other technical issues can disrupt an interview, so have the phone number handy in case you need to call the employer. If this does happen, try to remember that it’s likely not your fault and the interviewer will be impressed that you were prepared for anything.
2) Find out who is participating: Your recruiter will tell you if it is a one-on-one interview or with a panel of people, as well as the names and titles of everyone who may be involved, and their roles in the company. Then research those people on LinkedIn and their company website. This will help you to not only know who you are meeting, but also give you some visibility ahead of time as to what other departments or teams are represented in the panel. With that information, you can anticipate questions and prepare answers for people whose departments or divisions might be impacted by your role in their organization.
3) Record a Mock Interview: This is probably the best advise we can offer you. Take a few minutes to do a dry run with a friend, record it and see where you might improve. You will learn a lot just from watching yourself on camera.
- Look directly at the camera of your computer or device – not the person on your screen. This ensures you are making eye contact.
- Be conscious of your body language, your posture and voice. Sit straight, keep your arms and hands relaxed, and speak in a calm and professional manner.
- Keep your answers on point.
- What’s behind you?
- Is your voice (volume, enunciation & diction) clear?
- If you choose to sit behind a desk, you want to project a balanced presence, so make sure the back of the chair doesn’t tower over your head. Ideally, you should be no more than 20 inches from your screen.
- Eliminate sources of noise and distraction by turning off phone ringers, music and televisions. If you are interviewing from home, let other residents and children know you should not be disturbed, and place pets in a separate area.
- Is the lighting adequate on your face? Project a business-like atmosphere by choosing a well-lit room with natural light, or situate a lamp behind your computer to cast good light on your face.
- Is your desk organized?
All of these factors matter. Treat it like an in-person interview.
4) Be Yourself: Beyond experience, employers look for good cultural fits when hiring new people, especially candidates who will assume major responsibility and lead others. In fact, in many cases, personality and presentation are the primary factors in getting an offer. Your personality and character traits are of significant value and may be the biggest deciding factors in your candidacy. Employers can train someone on any skill, but they can’t train a good personality.
5) Have supports handy: Have a notepad and pen to write down anything the employer might ask of you for follow up. That said, be sparing in your note-taking. Keep your eyes on the camera so the employer knows you’re paying attention. Do not use the writing pad or any other paper for a cheat sheet, and don’t play with the pen. Watch your audience. Stay fully engaged. Acing a virtual interview means being informed, familiar with the forum, professional and prepared.