During these uncertain times, more people than ever are conducting virtual job interviews. A job interview can be a daunting experience, but a virtual job interview does not have to be more stressful than usual. Here are five tips to help you shine in your next virtual interview:
Being prepared for an interview is essential, and a virtual interview is no time to slack. You must be intentional in your virtual interview preparations. Be sure to research the company and position so that you sound informed and confident. Make a lasting impression on the hiring manager/team by displaying your eagerness for the opportunity. Convey your expertise, interest in the organization, and excitement for the position.
Make sure you—and not the objects behind you—are the star of your interview. Check your camera, lighting, and microphone to make sure that your technology will not cause any issues. Then choose a location for your interview that is tidy and quiet. Choose a well-lit space where the light source is behind your camera. The area should have neutral tones and a reliable Internet connection. Purchasing a Wi-Fi booster may be helpful if your computer is far away from your router. Turning off other devices that are using Wi-Fi can also be helpful. If you're interested in using a virtual background, be cautious. Often, virtual backgrounds can appear too “artificial” or do not work as expected—and can be more distracting than beneficial.
Dress professionally, but don't feel pressured to wear a suit. Dress for the occasion from head to toe. You never know if your camera will need adjusting or if you will need to print a document during the interview. You don't want to have your interviewer see your pajama bottoms. Wear something that will look good on camera but that isn't distracting. If you are using headphones with a microphone, have somewhere to clip the microphone so that it won't pick up the rustling of your clothes—and that will enable the other person to hear you loud and clear.
Maintaining eye contact with an interviewer is important during in-person interviews. Still, for virtual interviews, this is achieved by looking into the camera. Practice with a friend and record yourself talking so you can get used to staring at the camera and not the screen. The more comfortable you are with looking at the camera, the more natural and relaxed you will appear. To maintain natural eye contact, try moving your active window near the camera.
Even though you had a virtual interview, you should still follow up with a thank-you note to the hiring manager/team. There might be a considerable number of candidates interviewing for the position, so you want to make sure they remember you. In the note, mention your interest in the opportunity and your appreciation for being considered. Here's our suggestion: To stand out, bring up an important detail discussed in the interview, or elaborate on one of your answers to remind them of your qualifications.
Virtual interviews shouldn't be an obstacle. Take the time to prepare, convey your enthusiasm, and make a lasting impression.