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8 Tips to Ace Your Virtual Interview

Many companies are still hiring amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. These companies may be in a government-mandated work-from-home, but they still need to onboard staff to service clients and customers.  

If you have a virtual interview with one of these organizations, how do you put your best foot forward without physically being in the office?  

Test your equipment in advance. If you are provided with a link to access the video interview, be sure to test the link in advance to ensure everything works. We recommend testing the link as soon as you receive it from the hiring manager to ensure that should there be any technical difficulties, there is time to resolve themConsider asking a friend to download the program the hiring company will be using and practice a test video call. They can provide feedback on how you sound and look.  

Prepare your backdrop. Determine where you will conduct the video interview. Do you have a room in your apartment or house that has a solid backdrop and allows for a quiet space where the door can be closed? We recommend conducting video interviews in an office or dining room. Try to avoid bedrooms and common spaces where people might congregate. After setting up, pull up the video to view what the interviewer will see. Remove anything that is in the frame that wouldn’t represent you well.  

Prep your housemates. Whether it be family, spouse or friends, let your housemates know when the video interview is scheduled. Ask that they keep the volume down during that time, and if you have noisy pets (i.e. barking dogs), see if someone can take them for a walk during the scheduled interview time. If you live by alone but have pets, make sure to preface with the hiring manager that you have animals who might make noise throughout the interview.  

Be prepared for the video interview 10 minutes prior to the start of the interview. If you have a link to access the interview, login 10 minutes prior to the start of the interview. If the company is using Facetime or Skype, make sure to have your computer open or phone ready, as well as the audio adjusted to ensure you can hear and see.  

Remember, wardrobe matters. If your video is on, a hiring manager can see you from your waist up. Dress appropriately. Just because this is a virtual interview does not mean a t-shirt and jeans are appropriate. Suits, ties, blouses, etc. are still expected to make a good first impression.  

Speak slowly and clearly. Technology has come a long way, but it’s not perfect. There will be glitches but speaking slowly and clearly will help the hiring manager understand you should the service cut in and out.  

Maintain eye contact. Just like in an interview, it’s important to make eye contact with the hiring manager. Remove all distractions from the area you’ve chosen to conduct the interview. Turn off notifications on your computer and phone. Focus entirely on the interview and look straight into the camera when answering questionsIt will feel uncomfortable at first, but remember, in doing so, the hiring manager will see someone who appears confident and poised. Minimize the video of yourself completely so you’re not distracted by looking at yourself while responding or listening to the interviewer.  

Take notes. Follow the same etiquette in a virtual interview that you would for an in-person interview. Bring a notepad and pen to take notes and prepare questions in advance. Ask the hiring manager if you can take notes...if you don’t, they may think you are disinterested and doing something else. Remember, they can’t see beyond what the camera is showing them.  

Lastly, ithere are technical issues, don’t be afraid to speak up! If you cannot hear the hiring manager, tell themor use the chat function to message them in the video interviewing platform. Attempt to trouble shoot the issue, but if it cannot be resolved, set up another time for the interview to fix the tech issues. Never assume you know what someone said if the service is cutting out. It’s also difficult to talk over an echo during a 30-minute interview. Speak up if something isn’t right. Hiring managers will understand.  

 

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