In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and more people working remotely, video conferencing interviews have become the new norm. One platform in particular, Zoom, has arguably been the breakout winner among videoconferencing platforms. Because of this, platforms like Zoom, WebEx, and Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams are becoming more popular for business meetings and remote/video job interviews in particular. While the employer handles most of the setup, there are still some important things you need to know (and mistakes to avoid!)
What is a Virtual Interview?
A virtual interview is usually conducted by video conferencing software that lets you connect remotely for video or voice-call meetings with one or more people. You can turn video on or off, but if an employer has requested a virtual interview instead of a phone interview, you can almost be sure they want to see you. You should treat your virtual interview like any other job interview, but you should also get familiar with the platform and technology so that you’re comfortable. And you should download the app ahead of time so that you’re ready. Most platforms have options for Android, Apple mobile devices and Mac and PC computers.
What to Wear to a Virtual Interview?
Your attire for your virtual interview should be the same as an in-person interview. This will vary depending on your industry and position, but most likely means that you should wear business attire. Men should wear a suit and tie. Women should wear formal business attire, too.
Avoid clothing that is distracting or brightly-colored. Avoid large earrings, colors like pink or bright yellow, etc. It’s best to look professional, but without anything that will distract the interviewer. The focus should be on the conversation, and your outfit shouldn’t distract from that.
Now that you know what a virtual interview is, and what to wear, let’s look at some tips for how to get ready for the interview. Take a look at some great virtual interview tips that will help you feel confident and impress the a potential employer.
7 Tips To ACE Your Virtual Interview
- GET FAMILIAR WITH THE TECHNOLOGY
Download the app to your mobile device or computer ahead of time Make sure you have your meeting link and access code from the employer, too. They should set everything up and provide this info. If not, ask them for it. Also test your own technology – your microphone, your webcam, etc. Make sure everything is working and looks good so you can avoid any last-minute issues that will cause stress and possibly delay your interview.
- SET UP A DISTRACTION-FREE AREA
We talked about setting up and testing your technology above, but it’s also important to find a room or area of your home that’s best for your virtual interview. Pick a spot that’s quiet and distraction-free. Eliminate visual distractions like items on the floor, distracting items on the wall behind you, etc. If you decide to use a virtual background, go for a background that resembles a library or office. You should look like you are floating in outer-space or on a beach for a job interview. You want the interviewer to be able to focus on your answers and what you’re saying, and distractions in the room will hurt their ability to do this.
- BE ON-TIME BUT NOT EARLY
Many employers are new to using videoconferencing for their interviews, and they may use the same “meeting room” or link for multiple job seekers. So you may be entering a “room” that was being used to talk to another job seeker before you. So we recommend entering your meeting or interview 2-3 minutes before the scheduled time, but no sooner.
- PREPARE ANSWERS TO THE MOST COMMON QUESTIONS
Don’t get so sidetracked by setting up the technology that you forget to prepare for the interview itself. Think about any potential concerns they may have about your background in particularand how you’ll address those. For example, they may want to know why you left your last job so soon, or why you’re looking for a different type of job than you’ve done in the past, etc. Anticipate the questions they’re likely to ask, practice your answers, and you’ll feel more relaxed in the interview.
- WRITE DOWN QUESTIONS TO ASK THEM
Employers want to hire people who ask good questions in the job interview. This shows them that you’re excited to work for them and that you’re curious about their job.This is true in every industry, for every type of job. If you’re not asking good questions in each interview, it’s a possible reason why you can’t find a job.
- SPEAK SLOWLY AND CLEARLY
Before your interview, practice talking slowly and clearly. Even if you have a great internet connection, the Zoom call might cut out for a fraction of a second here and there, and you’ll be much easier to understand if you’re talking slowly and not rushing through your responses. This will also make you seem more relaxed and confident, which the hiring manager will love.
- WORK ON YOUR BODY LANGUAGE
Avoid tapping your hands or feet, clenching your jaw, or doing anything else that will distract from your answers or make you appear nervous or tense. What you say in the interview is half the battle, but how you look and how you say those words is often just as important. So don’t neglect this preparation step. Eye contact is also important. Practice looking into your webcam as you talk, rather than looking at the video of yourself in the corner of your screen. That will help it feel more like a real conversation and will help the interviewer feel like they’re getting to know you better.
- DOUBLE-CHECK THE DATE, TIME, AND TIME-ZONE
The last thing you want to do is miss your interview because of a time-zone mix-up. So check the email from the employer and be sure that you’ve put the meeting on your calendar at the right time, on the right day.. You don’t want to miss your interview and have to reschedule. Be sure to check everything and never assume that everyone is in your time-zone. You could be interviewing with people from other office locations if it’s a large company.
- DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR CLARIFICATION IF YOU NEED IT
It’s okay to ask for clarification on something or ask the interviewer to repeat a question once or twice in your interview. This is true in any job interview and especially a video interview. If you didn’t hear a question clearly, ask them to repeat it. If you’re unsure what exactly they’re asking, ask them to clarify.
At the end of the day, it’s just like any interview. You need to give great answers. You should ask great questions, too. Just make sure you’re comfortable with the technology before going into the conversation so that you can focus on those tasks.