Five Tips for a Successful Virtual Interview

Virtual interviews are the new normal, and it looks like they are here to stay. According to a Gartner survey, 86 percent of organizations have conducted video interviews during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pair this with a LinkedIn study showing that 71 percent of companies will continue this practice post-COVID-19, and it becomes apparent that job seekers should expect a majority of their interviews to take place virtually.

While they aren’t exactly a new phenomenon, many job seekers don’t feel comfortable interviewing via webcam. Here are five tips that will help you master your virtual interview:

Be Prepared 

No matter the venue, the key to any interview is to come in prepared. Do your research on the company and read the job descriptions thoroughly. Be ready to answer both general interview questions and specifics about the industry. Sell yourself as the right person for the job. The better prepared you are for the interview, the more likely you are to get the job.

Location Matters

Not everyone can interview from a soundproof office, so finding a quiet location in your house is essential. Consider indoor and outdoor noise and how microphones can pick up items like fans, clocks, and other ambient noises. In terms of video, be aware of what the Hiring Manager will see over your shoulders. If something in the background will be distracting simply take it down or adjust the camera angle so it’s out of frame.

Test Your Equipment

Technology has a tradition of working perfectly until the moment you need it. You can cut down on unexpected issues by testing all of your equipment and software before the interview. Set up your webcam and microphone to your liking and test it with a friend. Download all the necessary software and have it ready to use and log unnecessary devices off your WiFi.”

Eye Contact Remains Important

Though the interview isn’t taking place in the same room, eye contact remains extremely important. While it may seem counterintuitive, you should be looking directly into your camera throughout the interview. Consider putting a colorful sticker or page flag above the camera lens to draw your attention and keep yourself focused.

Be Aware of Body Language

Like eye contact, body language remains important during a virtual interview. Sit up straight, keep your hands on your lap or to the side (unless you are using them for emphasis), and look invested throughout the conversation. Position your camera so that you are at eye level and don’t need to slouch. Also, resist the temptation to fiddle with a pen or your mouse during the interview.

A 2019 Harris Poll showed that two-thirds of U.S. job seekers preferred in-person interviews, emphasizing that most of us aren’t totally comfortable with the process. Interviewing and working virtually gives companies access to more candidates, and candidates access to more jobs.   

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