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How to Prepare for a Virtual Interview

JANA STONE, TALENT SOURCER

Virtual interviews have risen in popularity in recent years, and they aren’t going away anytime soon. Conducting them via a computer screen can add some additional complications. If you want to connect with and impress your potential future employer, there are some things you should be conscious of to make the interview as successful as possible. This blog helps prepare you for a virtual interview to ensure it’s a success.

 

What Is a Virtual Interview?

Virtual interviews leverage video technology using a computer with a built-in camera or external webcam and microphone connected to a reliable internet connection. Hiring managers or recruiters use different online platforms with video capabilities, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Skype, to conduct interviews. According to a survey, 75% of business executives interview leading candidates using real-time video, while 50% leverage it to narrow down their pool of candidates.

 

How to Prepare for a Virtual Interview

Here are six tips to help you get ready for your online interview:

1. Prepare in Advance

Always take time and prepare before the interview. Poor preparation can be a deal breaker if you have a weak internet connection, a disorganized background, or muffled or unclear audio.

2. Set Up and Test Your Tech

When you agree to participate in a virtual interview, assemble and test all the hardware and software you need. Connect your computer to a reliable internet connection and confirm that your microphone and webcam are working. Doing this will help ensure your meeting starts on time without any hiccups.

3. Pick an Appropriate Background

Your background could distract the person on the other end of the video call. A cluttered or messy room could send the wrong impression and possibly deter hiring managers from considering you for the position. Go for a blank wall or neutral background. Less is better in this instance.

Also, choose an area with minimal distractions and background noises. If you have kids or pets, keep them out of the line of sight. Communicate with your housemates in advance to ensure they will not cause interruptions during the interview.

4. Set up the Camera

Be mindful of your angle and proximity to the camera. Set up your webcam two feet away and level it above your eyes. You may need to set your laptop on a stack of books to achieve this. Your goal is to simulate a face-to-face conversation as much as possible.

Have a light source from the front to illuminate your face and avoid shadows. Take advantage of natural light and sit down facing a window or place a light source in front of you.

Most video call software has the capability to perform a test call. Do this before the interview to ensure you look and sound your best and make any necessary adjustments.

5. Wear Professional Attire

Even if you are at home, it is still best practice to dress as you would for an in-person interview. For men, consider a blazer, button-up shirt, and chinos. Women should opt for a professional top or dress. There are many reasons you could need to get up during an interview, don’t make the mistake of your bottom half not matching your top half!

6. Show Up on Time

Consider running a test call to a trusted friend to ensure your setup and connections function optimally. It buys you time to troubleshoot any issues before the interview begins.

To avoid starting things on the wrong note, show up on time just like you would with an in-person interview. Open the software a few minutes early to allow time to sort out any tech issues. But there is no need to be in the virtual ‘waiting room’ more than a few minutes early.

 

What to Do During a Virtual Interview

Here are the things you can do to optimize your virtual interview and make it successful:

1. Use Notes

Do your research in advance and write down a few questions to ask the hiring manager about the organization’s values, culture, and job description. Have a pen and notebook within reach to write down notes or any questions that arise, so you don’t forget to ask them when you have the chance.

2. Maintain Confidence

Your body language can convey a lot about you. Sit upright, smile, and focus on the camera instead of the computer screen. In case of an expected question, stay poised and take a moment to collect your thoughts before answering back. When interruptions happen, and you start talking over the interviewer, pause and smile and give the interviewer a chance to speak.

3. Make a Connection

Try to ask the interviewer about their day or their interests to detach them from their routine interview questions. It enables interviewers to make a connection with you that will help set you apart from other candidates.

4. Be Yourself

During a virtual interview, a physical disconnect makes it difficult for the recruiter to understand your enthusiasm on the screen. To compensate for this, be expressive when answering questions. Give the panel a reason to push you to the second interview by highlighting your potential and capabilities.

5. Follow-Up

Before you conclude the interview, request the interviewer’s email. Twenty-four hours after the interview, send a thank you email to your interviewer to express your gratitude for their time. That email also serves as an opportunity to ask any questions that have come up or reiterate any important points.

Proper preparation is critical when you want to ace a virtual interview. If you have any questions, our Lutz Talent team is here to help. Contact us with any questions!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jana Stone

402.769.7057

jstone@lutz.us

LINKEDIN

JANA STONE + TALENT SOURCER

Jana Stone is a Talent Sourcer at Lutz Talent with over three years of recruiting experience. She is responsible for interviewing and placing candidates. Jana focuses on the accounting, finance, office administration, and human resources sectors.

AREAS OF FOCUS
  • Recruiting
  • Candidate Experience
  • Relationship Management
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND
  • BS in Communications and Biblical Studies, Grace University, Omaha, NE

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