Many events and in-person meetings in the business world continue to convert to virtual experiences, including the interview process. Although virtual interviews are typically conducted in the same structure as in-person interviews, there are a few aspects that candidates need to consider in order to adjust to the changes. We want you to ace your interview, and simple adjustments to a virtual platform shouldn’t be what holds you back. If you’re a student or recent graduate preparing for an upcoming virtual interview, here are some tips to help you succeed.
- Test Your Technology Before-Avoid running into tech troubles during the interview by running your equipment beforehand. Create step-by-step instructions on how to get it up and running so you’re fully prepared and not scrambling around before the video call starts. It’s hard to convince an employer that you’re tech savvy, when your video call keeps cutting out or your audio is unclear. Also, make sure you’re in a location with secured Wi-Fi and your computer is fully charged or plugged in during the interview.
- Set up a Professional Background- If possible, sit in front of a neutral background that doesn’t clash with your outfit. A blank wall or hung up sheet works great. Make sure the area around you is clean to limit distractions, a cluttered background gives a negative impression. Set your computer on a risen surface such as a desk or table. Don’t sit on a couch or in your bed because it gives the impression that you’re lazy and aren’t taking the opportunity seriously. Also make sure the lighting in the room is bright enough. Sitting by a window provides natural light for a clear video. Lastly, be sure to put your face directly in the center of the camera.
- Send a Resume- Before your designated interview time, send the interviewer an updated copy of your resume so they can refer to it throughout your meeting. This shows that you’re prepared and looking forward to the opportunity.
- Practice, Practice, Practice-Prepare for a virtual interview the same way you would for an in-person interview. It’s just as important. Practice your responses to typical interview questions that deal with your strengths and weaknesses as well as your experiences and education. Practice with friends, career coaches, and by yourself. One helpful trick is to do a mock interview by recording yourself on your laptop. This allows you to go back, watch yourself, and see what you need to improve.
- Dress Professionally-Even though you’re not meeting them in person, you’re still attending a professional interview so it’s important to dress the part. Wear your best business attire and avoid flashy jewelry and distracting patterns. Dressing professionally helps you feel more prepared and makes a good first impression on your interviewer, which starts you off on a strong note.
- Limit Distractions-During a virtual interview, there could be many things in or around the room that could distract you or the interviewer. Shut the door, close the window, and turn your phone on silent to limit any background noise. It’s important to limit distractions so your undivided attention is devoted to the interview. This helps the interviewer focus on your talent rather than what’s going on in the background.
- Control Your Body Language-Body language tells a lot about a candidate during an in-person interview. During a virtual interview, it’s harder to see someone's body language, so employers are forced to pay close attention to details. Maintaining eye contact, speaking with confidence, smiling, and sitting up in your chair tells the interviewer that you’re confident and present. Be sure to monitor your body language by limiting your hand movements and refraining from slouching in your chair or resting your elbows on the table.
- Follow Up- Within 24 hours after your interview, be sure to follow up with a thank you email. Thank the interviewer for their time and make it personal by mentioning something you spoke about during your time together. If you have any other questions be sure to ask them now. Following up leaves a lasting impression that could set you apart from another candidate.
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