How to Crush Your Virtual Job Interview
Virtual job interviews look like they are here to stay, especially with so many areas in different quarantine stages due to COVID-19. There are some great advantages of virtual interviewing, such as being in a comfortable environment (your home) and not having to travel for an interview! However, there are also a lot of challenges to a successful virtual interview. Our job search clients have been asking us for virtual job interview advice and we wanted to share some of our top tips with you. We’re here to guide you through this process.
Treat it like a regular interview. Don’t let your guard down and not do your due diligence when it comes to preparing for your interview just because it’s virtual. Make sure that you log in to your interview 10-15 minutes early, that you have your documents uploaded and ready to send if necessary, and your presentation or portfolio is loaded for a screen share. Make sure to clear your computer screen of anything potentially embarrassing or distracting in case you do need to share your screen during the interview.
Don’t read your answers. Another common mistake professionals make on a virtual interview is thinking they can simply read their answers. Hiring managers and recruiters can tell if you are just reading, so while you can consult any notes you have jotted down during the interview, do your best to practice what you would say in advance and speak naturally. Since you are speaking through a screen, you may have to make an extra effort to come across as enthusiastic and engaged. Do a practice session with a family member or friend and ask them for their honest feedback about how you come across virtually. Then, make any needed adjustments.
Also, don’t talk too much! Respond to their question, pause to ensure they got it, and ask them if they need any additional clarification. People get nervous on video calls and start to ramble. We know you need help during your job search during these times! Don’t get nervous to make sure that’s not you. Take deep breaths and slow yourself down so you’re mindful and deliberate when you’re talking.
Pay attention to your personal appearance. You have to be able to make a positive impression over Zoom or Skype, so pay attention to smaller details, such as making sure your hair is in place, your nails look presentable, and you are sitting up straight. This also includes dressing appropriately. While dress codes vary by industry, it’s always better to dress nicer than you normally would for a job interview. Remember that the hiring manager will not be able to see your whole outfit, so your shirt or top should be ironed and any jewelry should not overpower you on the screen. We recommend avoiding anything low cut or sloppy.
Choose a neutral background. While some meeting programs allow you to choose a virtual background, sometimes this can backfire on you and be more distracting than helpful. (We saw someone turn completely blue because her device didn’t register her face!) Instead, we recommend choosing a natural background, such as a neutral-colored wall, bookshelf, or window. Keep any background accessories simple.