In a post-COVID society, virtual job interviews are becoming more and more common. Video conferencing technology has replaced the need for in-person meetings in so many instances, and job interviews are no exception. If you have a virtual job interview coming up, you may be wondering how to prepare. Yes, there are some differences between a video job interview and an in-person interview, but most of the core advice for preparing is the same. Here are 5 video interview tips that will help you impress your potential future employer.
Check – and double-check! – your technology
Sure, we’ve all become masters at Zoom calls over the course of the pandemic. But a virtual job interview is not the time to rely on past experiences and assume you’ll be ok. Load whatever platform you will be using for the interview ahead of time, to make sure it’s working and that you don’t need to perform any updates. Run checks on your microphone and speakers. Make sure any filters or backgrounds are removed (no Zoom cats please!). Make sure you are plugged into a power source and that your internet is reliable. You have enough things to focus on during a virtual job interview, making sure your technology cooperates should not be one of them.
Find a spot away from all distractions
It should go without saying that if you are preparing for a video interview, you want to find a quiet location. If you have children or pets who could interrupt your video interview, find someone to care for them during that time and if possible, do your virtual interview in a location other than your house (because kids have a way of finding you no matter who is watching them!).
Aside from the obvious distractions like children and pets, you should also make sure your background is free of distractions. Avoid having anything with words behind you, or anything messy or cluttered. Pick a well-lit location with a solid wall and minimal décor. If you are unable to find a location with a suitable background, you can choose a virtual background on Zoom. Choose something simple – your video interview is not the time to be funny or make a statement.
Finally, turn off all notifications on your computer and phone. It can be very distracting and come across as unprofessional if your potential future employer hears Facebook notifications or incoming email alerts during your video interview. So be sure to close all applications aside from the platform you are using for the interview.
Dress for success
Even though you are home, you should still dress as though you are going to your video job interview in person. If you would have worn a suit, you should do so for this. Make sure whatever you are wearing looks neat and well-pressed, particularly when sitting down. You should also dress from head to toe. Even though it’s likely you’ll be sitting for the entirety of the interview, if you have to stand up (to retrieve something, for example), you wouldn’t want your potential employer seeing your pajama pants instead of the bottom half of your outfit!
Arrive early and be prepared
Just as you would arrive early to an in-person interview, you should arrive 5-10 minutes prior to the start of your virtual job interview. Prepare as you would for any interview – have your notes on the position handy, prepare answers to likely questions, and have a few questions ready to ask your potential employer. Taking the time to prepare for a video interview is just as important as preparing for an in-person interview. Treat them the same.
Be confident and appreciative
Having confidence in a job interview is important whether it is in-person or virtual. But even more so in a virtual interview, confidence is vital. Project your voice loudly, speak clearly and slowly. Don’t rush to answer or fill in quiet moments – remember there is often a sound delay when using video conferencing, so take a pause before responding. And when tech issues inevitably happen, have confidence that you can continue the virtual interview without letting them distract you. Maintain eye contact with your employer to the extent that it is possible on video. Make sure you are looking at them, and not yourself on the screen.
When the video interview is over, express your appreciation to the interviewer for taking the time to meet with you. Follow up with a thank-you email within 24 hours, letting them know that you enjoyed the interview and hope to get the opportunity to work with them. You can make the email more personal by including a reference to something you discussed in the interview.
Virtual job interviews are here to stay, and with the proper preparation, you can make an impression that will help you secure the next interview, and ultimately the job you want!