Virtual interviews may seem uncomfortable and awkward, but if you follow these steps, they can become second nature! Keep reading for some key tips on making a memorable first impression and acing your interview!
Dress to impress
Remember to dress the part! Even though you are interviewing from home, you should dress the same as you would for an in-person interview and, if unsure, check with your recruiter or the company with whom you are interviewing to be sure you are dressing the part. You can never go wrong with business professional dress; appearing presentable and composed goes a long way!
Set up your space
Be sure to keep your background space tidy and minimal. Having an organized background space looks more professional and will reduce distractions. For example, if you are set up to virtually interview in your kitchen, a frequently trafficked area of most homes, make sure it’s quiet, the countertops are clean, and, if others are home with you, that there isn’t frequent traffic and noise in the room. You want the interviewer to focus on you, not background distractions.
Pay attention to small details
In addition to setting up your space, make sure that the placement of your webcam and the lighting is optimal. These are two important details that can change the entire vibe of the interview. Adjust your webcam to ensure that you are the center focus of the screen (you should never look down at the camera) and check ahead of time to see if the lighting in the room is appropriate (lighting is optimal when it’s in front of you, not behind).
Check your technology
Make sure your Wi-Fi connection is strong ahead of time in order to avoid any technological issues when the time comes for your interview. Test out the technology by calling a friend or family member via video beforehand to ensure everything works properly, including your microphone!
Also, take this time to note the placement of your camera and the lighting to determine if any changes should be made. Ask the person you called if everything looks good on their end since they are seeing exactly what the interviewer will see.
Have your materials ready
Like you would for an in-person interview, have a copy of your resume in front of you and a few notes and questions about the company. Use these materials for reference throughout the course of your interview, but never read directly off them. Your eye contact should always be on the interviewer, but having materials nearby as a point of reference is certainly allowed!
Reduce the risk of distractions
Let’s face it, whether you live with family, friends, roommates or even alone, distractions happen! Your job is to reduce the risk of distractions ahead of time. Make sure everyone in your home knows the exact day and time of your interview. Politely ask that they not make too much noise and respect your space during this time.
Even if you live alone, there could still be many distractions such as white noise from a washer, dryer, dishwasher, or any other household appliance. Remember to turn these off or make sure you are in a space where the interviewer can’t hear them. Also, make sure that your cell phone is silenced and your television is shut off. Just because you are at home does not mean the interviewer should be exposed to these aspects of your home as well.
Be on time
If it was an in-person interview you would likely show up well 10 minutes before your scheduled interview time. The same goes for a virtual interview! Just because it’s virtual doesn’t mean that you should log on at the last second. Try your best to log on a couple minutes early to show that you are reliable and punctual. This is a huge reflection on the type of employee you would be, if hired.
Use professional body language
Body language is important in all interviews, but it can be a bit more difficult to demonstrate non-verbal cues when you are interviewing through a screen. Here are some important things to remember:
- Since you can’t actually shake hands, greet your interviewer with confident smile and wave. This will start the interview out on a positive note.
- Sit up straight! Having good posture will communicate to the interviewer that you are confident and engaged.
- Make “eye contact” by looking directly into the webcam when you are speaking! This sounds obvious, but it can be easy to forget. If you are looking directly at the interviewer through the screen it actually will appear to them that you are not making eye contact.
Don’t interrupt the interviewer
This one may seem like a no-brainer. In an in-person interview, it is very easy to determine when the interviewer is done speaking because there isn’t a technological barrier. However, it can be a bit more difficult to pick up on these cues through a computer screen due to things like computer lags, poor Wi-Fi connection, etc. Before responding to their questions, take a quick pause to ensure that they are done speaking. This will avoid any awkward miscommunications and show that you respect what they have to say. It will also give you a moment to collect your thoughts before answering their questions.
Much like you would do if the interview was in-person, it is still appropriate to send a follow up e-mail thanking the interviewers, individually, for the opportunity to interview. This will communicate to them your gratitude and continued interest in the company. These thank you e-mails should be sent within 24 hours of your interview.
The Right Team. Right Now.
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