Best practices for acing a virtual interview
Video conferencing for interviews
Life lately hasn’t exactly felt like” business as usual” for job seekers and businesses looking to hire. Many companies had to shift to remote workforces overnight, closing their physical offices and spaces.
This situation creates obvious challenges for the interview process. Yet many companies have forged on with hiring plans, particularly those businesses experiencing demand spikes.
Employers have increasingly utilized virtual interview settings but now rely on them entirely. And it’s worth considering that video conferencing interviews could very well become the norm in a post-pandemic world.
With that in mind, let’s look at some of the best tips and strategies for acing your virtual interview and making the impression that you set out to make.
Dress for the job, not the couch
A common virtual meeting hack that many remote workers utilize is wearing sweatpants or shorts with a business professional top. With many stuck indoors all day, it can seem pointless to dress up if you can get away with this new trick — but you’re putting yourself at risk if you do so for an interview.
If you shift out of frame or get up without remembering you have pajamas on, it would reflect very poorly on your character. Such slip-ups have been documented countless times on social media amid COVID-19.
Consider that, at the longest, you’ll be interviewing for an hour, two hours at max. Make the effort to choose a professional outfit, as it shows your interviewers that you’re serious and motivated about this opportunity.
Check your internet connection and hardware beforehand
Technical difficulties often derail meetings — yet they can often be resolved more quickly or avoided altogether by checking technology and the internet connection ahead of time. Imagine the problems you’d encounter if your internet cut out in the middle of an interview.
To ensure that everything is working properly, give all everything a once over:
- Check that you have a stable connection to the Wi-Fi. Maybe keep an Ethernet cord and adapter as a backup.
- Test your laptop or desktop camera and microphone. Make sure there’s no echo and the picture is high resolution.
- Become familiar with the video conferencing tool, especially if you haven’t used it before. Know all the features and commands.
Taking these precautionary steps can avoid an embarrassing situation down the line that may negatively impact your interview.
Prepare like you would for any other interview
It might seem like the rules are a little relaxed for virtual interviews (which can be seen in the dress-up hack employed by many). However, that could not be further than the truth. While seasoned employees might have more informal meetings, you should treat every virtual interview as if you were going in-person.
This is not the time to cut corners. Put in the time and effort to research the business, maybe even look at the LinkedIn profiles of the interviewers you’re scheduled to meet with.
Also, take the time to prep yourself and how you’ll convey your skills, knowledge, and experience. The virtual format can be foreign for many, so perhaps take some time to practice to yourself in the mirror. It’s not a cheesy trick at all, and doing so may help you feel more comfortable and confident in your ability to articulate your strengths, your interest, and why you’d be a good fit.
Lean on body language
It can be difficult to gauge whether you’re getting your point across in a virtual meeting. One way to add emphasis or otherwise convey your message is to leverage your body language. Facial expressions can be used to show you’re intently listening or talking with excitement. If you use your hands a lot when you speak in-person, don’t retract yourself in the virtual environment. It can help give interviewers a clue as to your personality and character.
The other side of this consideration is to keep an eye on any bad body language. Never, ever slouch when you’re on a virtual interview, for example. If you’re surprised or puzzled by a question, try not to let that show through.
Get away from distractions
You should set up your interviewing space as far away from distractions as possible. Yet that can be a challenge when family members are roaming about or your significant other is also working at home and on a conference call.
Make sure that you position yourself away from televisions and other screens that could catch your eye or otherwise cause a distraction. Also, it’s worth talking to whoever you live with about your schedule. If they know you’re on an interview at a specific time, they can take steps to minimize noise or disruptions, like barging in on your space and asking a question.
Follow up with a video message
It’s best practice to follow up after every interview. One way to differentiate yourself as a job seeker is to record a quick video message thanking the interviewers for the time and reiterating your personal value proposition and interest in the position. If you use this tactic, make sure to follow all the steps to ensure you’re recording a high-quality video that will deliver the impact you desire.
These strategies and tips can help you nail your next virtual job interview. And if you’re looking for a video conferencing tool to help power your job search effort, consider using Cisco Webex.
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Sep 16, 2021 — Aruna Ravichandran