5 Tips for Acing a Virtual Interview
Not only are many more people having to work remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are also needing to interview virtually for jobs. While some of the basic elements about interview prep are the same for in-person and virtual interviews (you’re interviewing for the same job, after all), there are still some critical distinctions. Understanding what you need to know about video interviews can make all the difference in whether or not you receive a job offer.
Here are five tips for succeeding in a virtual interview.
Test Your Technology in Advance
Whether your virtual interview will be conducted via Zoom, Facetime, Skype, or another web conferencing tool, it’s important to know that you’re set up to work through the platform. Check your system’s requirements and functionality before you need it.
Test out your wifi connection, camera, and audio to confirm that they are all good to go well in advance of your scheduled meeting time. You don’t want to find out 10 minutes before your interview that something in your setup isn’t working.
Consider What’s Behind You
When interviewing in person at a company, all you have to worry about presenting is yourself and your ideas. But in a virtual interview setting, everything behind you in the frame will also communicate your professionalism to the hiring committee. Make sure that what comes through your camera represents the image that you want the employer to see.
Avoid any clutter or distracting visuals behind you. If you don’t have a pleasant, tidy home-office background behind you, then you may want to consider leveraging an artificial backdrop with a neutral office setting. Avoid anything that doesn’t strike a professional tone, like beaches or forests.
Leverage the Mute Function to Avoid Background Noise
If you’re being interviewed virtually from your home, you may not be able to control everything else that’s going on in your household at your interview time. While prepping other family members in advance and arranging for childcare needs to be handled can help, there’s always the chance of an unexpected interruption. When others are speaking, use the mute key on your end to ensure a quiet background—just remember to un-mute when you’re ready to speak.
Use the Right Body Language
Unlike a phone interview where your voice is your only method of communicating professionalism, a video interview requires savvy use of body language. This begins with your posture, since you can convey a positive, enthusiastic attitude of alert engagement simply by sitting up straight rather than slouching. (The latter can send the opposite message, and will make you appear overly casual for an interview setting.) You can also lean forward slightly while your interviewer is talking, just like you might in an in-person interview, to show your interest in the speaker’s words.
Minimize gesturing—you may want to do a test run of yourself on video to see if you overuse hand gestures as you speak, and if so, work on toning it down for your interview. You should also nod from time to time while the hiring manager is speaking to show that you’re following what they’re saying and understand it. And remember to smile when it makes sense to do so—while you don’t want to appear phony with a smile plastered across your face throughout the during of the meeting, showing a smile helps show the interviewers that you’re friendly and approachable—just the sort of person they would want on their team.
Treat It Like a Formal Interview—Including Eye Contact
It’s easy to feel more informal when being interviewed in your own home. But you should treat the virtual interview like any other interview in terms of basic interview etiquette. Maintain eye contact with your interviewers by looking into the camera, not your computer screen, except when reviewing or jotting down notes. (Your camera is higher up, at the top of the screen, and looking there is how you can give your interviewer the sense that you are making eye contact.)
Avoid looking distracted, focusing on your own image on the screen, or checking your email during your interview. Dressing the part—in business attire or business casual depending on the company’s culture—is also critical to make the best impression.
Nailing Your Video Interview
Just as in a traditional interview, failing to take the right steps in your interview prep and performance can eliminate you from the running. Do your due diligence in getting ready for your virtual interview, and you’ll have the best shot at the job.
If you’ve decided remote work is right for you, check out our fully remote job postings. With new postings added regularly, you’re bound to find a remote job that’s right for you.
By Robin Madell | June 5, 2020 | Categories: Work Remotely