Virtual Interview Preparation Tips

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COVID-19 has changed how interviewing is done in 2020. The current situation calls for social distancing, so it’s likely your next interview may be a video interview. To ensure the most positive experience, make sure to follow these video interviewing tips.

If you’ve never been invited to interview via video, you will be soon.

Although they are not what we are accustomed to, video interviews don’t have to be anxiety producing, either. If you’re proactive and have the right mindset, you can put yourself in a position to shine as easily as you would in a face-to-face interview.

The following are 8 video interviewing tips that will help you advance your career.

1. Test your technology

At least 24 hours prior to the interview, do a technical trial run to make sure your equipment is working correctly. Download any apps or plugins you’ll need. Whether you’re using Skype, Zoom, Webex or another video platform, make sure you have a username that’s professional, just as you would with your email address or social media handle. Check to make sure your computer’s camera, microphone and internet connection are working. Do a trial run with a friend or family member, if possible, so you have ample time to adjust if any of your equipment or software is malfunctioning.

2. Charge and Ensure Connectivity

If you’re using a laptop or tablet, make sure it’s fully charged on the day of the interview. Choose a spot that has a strong Wi-Fi signal. If you’re using a tablet or laptop, find a way to keep it stationary or your screen may appear shaky if you’re holding the device. Avoid using a smartphone for video interviews if possible.

3. Dress for Success

Attire should be the same as you would wear for an in-person interview. You will feel more confident. Avoid wearing bright, flashy colors or patterns and choose something that looks neatly pressed while you’re sitting down. You may want to wear your video interview outfit during your trial run so you can get feedback from a friend or family member on your virtual appearance.

4. Ensure a Distraction-Free Video Interview

Choose a location that will have no distractions from family members, roommates or pets. Hang a sign on your front door asking mail carriers and package deliverers not to ring the doorbell. Hang a sign on the room your in to remind children not to enter during your interview. If you have a dog that barks, plan in advance to have someone watch the dog or make sure the barking will not be overheard in the room you’re located in.

Make sure the space behind your interviewing location is not cluttered or messy looking. It’s best to have a neutral space without a lot of visible items in the background, which can be distracting for the interviewer.

Set up the lighting in the room so that it’s bright enough to see your face clearly. Always try to illuminate your face from the front.

Turn on “do not disturb” or make sure alerts are off for email, text and social media alerts as well as software updates. It’s best that no notifications whatsoever show up on the screen during the interview. Turn off any programs that might interfere with the webcam or close any browser tabs.

5. Be Early and Well Prepared

Log in at least 10 minutes early, so you can be calm and ready when the video interview begins. Print your resume and have it nearby, along with any questions that you may have. It’s always helpful to have some notes handy to ensure you don’t forget critical questions.

Expect to answer some common interview questions, including:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Why are you leaving your current position?
  • What is your expected salary?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • When are you available to start a new position?

6. Maintain Good Eye Contact and Body Language

It’s easier for your eyes to wander when the person you’re talking to isn’t in the room. Make sure to maintain “eye contact” by looking directly into the camera instead of at the screen or at your own image. Make sure your face is centered and try not to move around a lot. Maintain good posture, sitting with your back straight, feet on the ground and arms resting in your lap or on the desk.

7. Project and Pause

Focus on projecting your voice and check your volume controls. Speak clearly, so the microphone picks up your voice, and the interviewer doesn’t have to strain to hear you. Always remember, digital connections can sometimes be delayed, so avoid talking over the interviewer or having your first few words cut off. Make sure to let the interviewer finish the question and then pause for 2-3 seconds before responding to the interviewer.

8. Share Your Appreciation

As you would with any interview, thank the interviewer for the opportunity and follow up with a post-interview “thank you” note within 24 hours. In your note, briefly reinforce why you’re interested in the job and why you’d be a great match for the role and company. Try to add something that you and the employer discussed while getting to know each other that will make the thank-you message more personal.