Before 2020, in-person interviews were by far the most common way of getting to know job applicants. Of course, once COVID-19 broke out, virtual interviews quickly became the order of the day — and remain so for many companies worldwide.
It is true that there are several unique challenges associated with virtual interviews — both for the interviewer and the interviewee. However, with some forethought and preparation, you can make your virtual interview a smashing success. Here are five tips to keep in mind.
1. Dress for the Occasion
Even though you are not meeting in person, it is still important to dress as you would for any job interview. If you are the interviewer, you want to provide a good first impression of the company; and if you are the applicant, you want to provide a good first impression of yourself. With that in mind, make sure that your clothes are neat and presentable, your hair is clean and well-arranged, and your body language indicates attentiveness and professionalism (no slouching, please!)
In addition, it may be a good idea to practice looking at — and talking to — your computer’s camera. This is how you make “eye contact” during a virtual interview, and it can be a subtle but powerful way to enhance that first impression further. If need be, practice with a friend or family member beforehand to get comfortable with this habit.
2. Make Good Use of Backgrounds and Framing
If you cannot find an attractive space around your home, you may need to explore virtual backgrounds for your interview. Both Zoom and Microsoft Teams have professional-looking backgrounds that you can use. Again, it is a good idea to do a practice run with your background of choice before logging on for the interview — especially if you have not used these virtual backgrounds before. Check that your lighting is good, your face and body do not blend into the background, and your Wi-Fi connection is strong.
Also, it is good to remember that your framing plays a key role in conveying a professional appearance. If your framing is too high (i.e., part of your head is “cut off”), too low (it looks like you are “stuck in a box”), or positioned at the wrong angle (the other participant is looking up your nose), the other party will likely be distracted. You may leave a less than favorable impression on your audience.
3. Minimize Distractions
Working from home comes with its fair share of distractions. Do everything within your power to reduce (or eliminate) those distractions during your virtual interview.
For example, you may need to let your family members know about the interview well in advance and have them stay in another part of the home during the session. You may need to put away pets or have someone else watch them for a while. A quiet, private room with a door you can close would be preferable.
4. Come Prepared
You always want to come to a job interview as prepared as possible. This holds true for virtual interviews as well. For instance, if you are the applicant, you may want to come armed with a list of questions for the interviewer. Of course, if you are the interviewer, you will want to take notes on the answers that the applicant provides.
5. Find Common Ground
It can be hard to connect on a personal level during a virtual interview since so much of human communication is built upon body language and other non-verbal cues. Still, you can do your part to make the interview less “robotic” and more enjoyable. Perhaps the single best thing to do in this regard is to look for common ground. Engage in a little small talk. Keep the interview relaxed and conversational. When both the recruiter and the applicant are at ease, the flow of the interview will go much smoother.
If you would like more helpful tips on how to conduct a successful virtual interview, reach out to our friendly team of experts at Lutz Talent today. You can also view our current opportunities or learn more about related topics by visiting our blog.