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  • Writer's pictureHolly Hrywnak

Landing the Job With a Virtual Interview

If 2020 taught us nothing else, it taught us that almost anything could be done virtually, including job interviews. While stores, shops, and offices are starting to open back up, virtual interviews are here to stay. It’s convenient not only for the interviewer but also for the interviewee. Actually, 60% of hiring managers and recruiters are using video technology. Although virtual interviews are convenient and may seem super easy to nail, that’s not the case. Let’s go over some tips for nailing your virtual interview.

First of all, just because it’s a virtual interview doesn’t mean you should be business on top, PJs on the bottom. You should still dress for success. You only have seven seconds to make a great first impression. Yes, you will only be seen from about your shoulders up, but we’ve all seen the viral videos of people not knowing their camera was on and standing up without pants. Don’t be that person. Dress like you would for an in-person interview. When you dress better, you feel better, and that will show through in your interview. You also want to make sure you have a clean and organized space. Yes, many virtual platforms have some background options you can choose from, but if you don’t have the proper lighting or equipment, using the virtual backgrounds could be a distraction for the person interviewing you. However, if you have to use a virtual background, use a professional one, like an office space instead of outer space or a skyline of some exotic place.

Speaking of distractions, you want as few as possible. The best place to have your interview is in the quietest place in your house with the door closed. You don’t want the TV blaring in the background, pets barging in, or other people in your household to make a cameo appearance on your interview. It’s your time to shine, and you don’t want anything taking away from that.

Let’s talk about technology. Treat your technology as if it were the car you would be driving to your in-person interview. If you were driving to the office for an interview, you would make sure your car had gas, you knew the route you were going to take, and you left with plenty of time to make it to the interview early. You want to do the same thing with your virtual interview. Instead of filling your car up with gas, you want to make sure you have a strong and steady internet connection. You can always run a speed test to ensure you have a good upload speed. You’re “uploading” the video, so that is the speed that counts. Now, you don’t have to know the best route to your interview, but you do need to know the software you’ll be using. Various platforms are used for virtual interviews like Google Hangouts, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or WebEx. You want to make sure any software you need is downloaded and will work on your computer. You also still want to “arrive” at the interview early. Logging into the platform 3-5 minutes early will give you time to make sure everything is working, you have a distraction-free background, and that you don’t have the potato filter on.

Finally, you still want to make sure you have answers for the most commonly asked interview questions, and you want to do your research on the company. 47% of candidates are rejected because they only have a vague idea about the job role and what the company does. Make sure you are using professional body language. Just because you’re interviewing from the comfort of your home doesn’t mean you should be any less professional. You want to spark conversations with your interviewer and be authentic. Does anyone really know where to look when you’re on a video call? Well, the best place to look when you’re speaking to someone is at your webcam. Try to avoid looking at yourself when you’re talking. You can keep some notes handy and refer to them as you need, but don’t let that stop the pace of your conversation. If you need a minute, keep your composure and just be yourself. Ask for a few seconds to think and answer if you need it. Recruiters will understand and note your ability to stay calm under pressure. You also want to keep an eye on the interviewer. If they look distracted or bored, it might be time to move onto the next question.

Following these tips will help you with all of your virtual interviews—one last thing. After your interview is over, don’t forget to send an email thanking the recruiter for their time. Ensure you’re also keeping an eye on your emails for any follow-ups needed from the recruiter or the next steps you need to take. Happy interviewing!

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