Technology has changed the way we do a lot of things. Years ago, your best shot at a virtual interview was a phone discussion, but now you can have real-time discussions over video as part of a recruitment process.
Virtual interviews are more or less scheduled meetings between a recruiter and a candidate for a job position across a virtual medium. They became a popular option for recruiters during COVID-19 and have remained a part of the recruitment process for many hiring managers post-COVID.
While it may seem like it’s supposed to be an easier feat, you’ll be surprised how many job seekers have it tough preparing for and acing virtual interviews. It is because of this reason I’ve curated 20 tips to help you prepare for your next virtual interview.
Tips to Help You Prepare for Your Next Virtual Interview
Regardless of the virtual interview software you use such as Zoom, Google Meet, these tips should apply. Let’s dive right in.
Wear professional clothing
Sure, you’d be in your space during the interview. However, look and dress the part in professional clothing. Every angle visible to the interviewer should suggest you’re putting on neat, professional clothing.
Inform those at home
One time I was trying to concentrate on a virtual exam when someone in the house had the water tap running. You can imagine the shock of the invigilators hearing the tap from the house bathroom.
Ensure those at home or around the set stage know about your upcoming virtual interview. You don’t want to hear your roommate screaming because of the football game while you’re trying to answer “Tell me about yourself”.
Check and test the tech
Tech problems during video interviews can be frustrating. It is recommended to double-check your computer, smartphone, internet, and other necessary factors to ensure a smooth interview.
Properly test your internet connection, and other equipment before starting. I recommend even having a backup plan in case the first plan fails.
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Use adequate lighting
Lighting is important. Let the interviewers have a clear picture of your face and general composition. Avoid dark or dim-lit rooms as they do you a disservice.
Choose an adequate sitting arrangement
Get a good chair and table for the exercise and keep it at a comfortable distance from your computer. Don’t get too close to the screen or stay too far. Make sure you’re always in the picture with your whole upper body and adequate space above your head.
Proper posture is important as well so you don’t look to be uneasy and start slouching or fidgeting.
Research the company
You’re not heading to a physical location, but some knowledge of the company will help you feel more confident. Do some research about what they’re about and how they’re run. If possible, learn some key names, job descriptions, and other relevant information. If you don’t know where to start, you can check out some handy tips on how to research a company for an interview.
Do all you can to limit the chances of being interrupted, but take them in your stride if they happen. While setting up the space, you can leave a note outside the door to avoid disturbances.
Also, silence your phone and other electronic devices that might make noise or cause undue interruptions.
Be on time
Virtual or physical interview, showing up late doesn’t speak well of your person. Ensure everything is set up correctly while you tune in 10 minutes before the time. Files and similar documents that may be required should be on standby and ready to be shared on demand.
Punctuality is crucial and will get noticed by the interviewer.
Begin with pleasantries
You’d have greeted in a physical interview, so do the same with pleasantries in the virtual interview. Use the early moment for a virtual handshake and to settle into the process.
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Forging an initial connection with the interviewer will transmit warmth and openness, leaving you generally comfortable to proceed.
Maintain a good posture
Sit with your back straight and maintain a good posture. It would help if you didn’t slump into your seat, as this would make you look less engaged or disinterested.
Stay a little distance from the table, sit on the edge of the seat, and plant your feet on the ground. When you do that, there’s less chance of ruining your posture.
Close programs you don’t need
No matter the specs on that PC, limit your chances of interruptions by closing every non-essential application or tab. Closing running programs will limit interruptions and avoid situations where your virtual interview ends prematurely or the awkward case where a tab or app plays audio.
Let the interview remain your sole focus unless you’re asked to share a document and you have to open another application/tab.
Have a copy of your resume around
Your resume might come in handy at some point. You can use it for references, especially if questions about gaps pop up. Even if you have a soft copy, it’s best to have a hard one at arm’s length.
Practice possible interview questions
Another tip to help you prepare for your next virtual interview is to practice possible interview questions. The internet will help you with this one. Also, you can ask former employees or people who have occupied similar roles about possible questions.
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Here are some questions interviewers might ask you:
- Why are you interested in this position and company?
- How did you hear about us?
- What can you do to add to the growth of this company?
Show focus with the right facial expressions
Use your face to show you’re present and interested in the proceedings. Nonverbal communication is a vital part of any conversion. Your eyes, body language, and gestures are ways of communicating with the interviewer.
Show intent at every step of the interview.
Keep a handy note
Apart from your resume, be prepared to show examples of your work to your interviewer. Also, notes give you pointers, especially if they’re about the company or relevant information you want to share during the interview.
Check for glare/reflections
Check for glare before finalizing your outfit and location. Ensure nothing in your shot reflects or glares so your interviewer doesn’t get distracted. You’d want to remove watches, mirrors, jewelry, and eyeglasses before a virtual interview.
Except you absolutely must use your glasses, consider taking them off or checking whether they would reflect.
Be careful with the sound/microphone
Sound is essential to maintaining a clear and hitch-free conversation at all times. However, ensure the sound or microphone works properly. Check for echoes, shuffles, and other unnecessary sounds.
For virtual interviews, I always recommend using external microphones. With them, you get better control over the sound.
Steady gaze at the camera, not the screen
Stare at the camera like someone about to take a picture. It’s easy to look around your computer screen but avoid doing so. Maintain a steady gaze on the camera like you are physically speaking to the interviewer.
Prepare Questions You Might Ask
At the end of interviews, many interviewers give room for questions candidates might have. The same goes for the virtual process. Before the set time, prepare questions you will likely ask on paper.
Here are sample questions to ask:
- What happened to the last staff in this role?
- What are your expectations for this position?
- What’s the leadership and management structure of the company?
These types of questions show you have initiative and genuine interest in the company and how it’s run.
Overall, maintain a positive attitude about the whole process and your chances of landing the job. There’s no need to be apprehensive about the video interview. It’s a time to show what you can do and why you’re a good fit for the position.
There you go! I hope these 20 tips prove helpful as you prepare for your next virtual interview. Remember to be prompt, ready and focused for the entire process. The main difference between a virtual and physical is your physical aspect of everything so keep to time, dress professionally, and always be engaging.
Let me know if you found any of these tips helpful. All the best for your next virtual interview!