While the government and many companies are still hiring, the chance to have an in-person interview is slim at the moment. We all need to be prepared to ace our virtual ones! Here are 10 tips to do so:
1. Make sure you have a camera. Even though the process itself is virtual, most employers will want to see you “face-to-face.” To accommodate this expectation, you should have a camera. The camera should be set a eye height (you may need to put your laptop on some books to raise it to the appropriate height) and your light should be on your face and not behind you.
2. Make sure your cellphone is charged; or even better, use a landline for maximum sound quality. Or, if the interview is taking place on the computer, you should use a microphone to make sure you can be heard.
3. Know how to use the technology ahead of time. What platform will the interviewer be using? Be sure to ask and plan accordingly. Download the technology before the interview. It’s never a bad idea to practice. While most of the common platforms work in a similar way, there are some subtle differences.
4. Clean up the area where you will be interviewed; clear your desk / table and look at what’s behind you to make sure the image is clean and professional. If necessary; hang up a sheet behind you to cover things you do not want the interviews to see.
5. Prepare. Just because the interview is virtual doesn’t mean you should “wing it.” You should prepare for your virtual interview the same way you should prepare for an in-person one; do your research on the organization, have your stories ready, and be ready with questions to ask the interviewers. And, you may even want to prepare more—you won’t have the advantage of establishing that face-to-face connection.
6. Put your interview clothes on—even pants. Not only do cameras stray sometimes, you may move around. You don’t want to be caught in your sweatpants (or worse).
7. A glass of water is OK, food is not.
8. Minimize distractions. Close the door, banish your pets and children. Turn off any other phones, alerts, etc.
9. Pay attention to your body language during the interview. You should sit up, and be slightly forward. Try not to play with your hair, twist your rings, or engage in other distracting behaviors. Maintain eye contact (well, camera contact!) and smile.
10. Follow-up. After the interview, be sure to send a thank you email to your interviews; keep it short, thank him / her for their time, and add any point you want to emphasize or that you forgot.
While a virtual interview may feel different that what you’re used to, by following these tips, you can set yourself up to ace the interview!