Tips to succeed during a virtual interview
The current COVID-19 pandemic has impacted almost every country on the planet, and it’s proving to be a challenging period for many: employees have had to adapt to new working practices, such as working remotely from their workplaces and relying on technology to keep in touch with their coworkers. Job interviews have become entirely virtual as a result of these changes in the workplace, thus mastering the best ways to succeed is crucial.
Because virtual interviews speed up the interview process and save everyone time, they give companies access to a far larger pool of candidates to hire. For job seekers, the prospect of a virtual interview might be intimidating because it eliminates the possibility to wow someone in person. Nonetheless, it can be to your advantage, giving you the opportunity to apply for positions that otherwise may not have taken the time and investment to fly you out for an in-person interview.
It’s more important than ever to be able to present yourself properly for your virtual interview. Here are five suggestions for acing your virtual interview.
- Establish a professional setting
Choosing the right location for your interview comes down to finding a space that is peaceful, quiet and distraction-free. You want to avoid anything that may distract the interviewer, or you, from the conversation. If you live in an apartment complex or share a wall with neighbors who might play music or talk loudly, reach out to them a day in advance. Let them know you’ll be having an interview at a certain time and that they should keep their noise down at that time. A little planning ahead of time can go a long way.
If you don’t have access to a quiet office or workstation, sit at your kitchen table or somewhere with a plain background that won’t detract from the interview’s main focus: you. This may need some furniture rearranging or the removal of the pinned-to-the-wall collage of photographs from your previous bachelorette party.
- Optimize your lighting
The last thing you want during an interview is for your face to be obscured by a shadow or blinded by light coming in through your window. To adequately highlight your face and eliminate uncertain shadows, use multiple lights. To appropriately enlighten yourself, choose a few different lights. There are a few simple and inexpensive options to aid you out:
- Lumecube: Provides lighting devices that may be immediately connected to your phone or laptop to provide a natural glow and brighten your face.
- Spectrum: carries a “Video Conferencing Kit” with two lights to brighten from two angles, ensuring that no one has a bad view with this set up.
- Webcam Light Stand: A product that clips onto any surface, including a laptop or desk and holds small ring lights to move and adjust based on the natural lighting you already have.
Place your computer on a raised place rather than on your lap to get the best results. If you keep papers or other notes by your side, the interview will be more focused on your face rather than what is going on around you. Not to mention that interviewers don’t want to spend 30 minutes staring at your nostrils, making you look like a character from the Blair Witch Project.
- Check Your Internet Connection
Frozen screens and missed calls are the most common ways to miss out on an interview. Although it may appear that you have no influence over your internet connection, there are steps you can do to ensure you have the greatest connection available. For improved reliability, connect your computer to a connected internet connection instead of using an over-the-air connection, as the ethernet cable carries the signal directly to your computer. Disconnect any other devices from your internet and close all other windows on your laptop before the interview begins. At any given time, the average home has 11 gadgets connected to the internet, putting a strain on your internet speed’s bandwidth. Turn off any devices that are vying for your internet connection, such as your phone, iPad, Alexa, or anything else. Consider testing your internet speed using Measurement Lab or SpeedCheck to see if you could benefit from some extra help.
Give your internet provider a call if you have a few virtual interviews scheduled in the coming weeks to see if you can boost your internet speed and capacity for the month. You may have to spend more, but that extra month of better internet connection could be the difference between perfect interviews and a long-term employment offer.
- Do Test Run
Once you’ve got everything set up, run it by a friend, family member, or a professional coach like myself to see how it goes. You can usually download a free version of most conferencing services, so go online and have someone call you. This way, you can familiarise yourself with the platform’s unique features and ensure that all plug-ins and downloads are installed before to the big day. There’s no greater way to waste time in an interview than having your interviewer give you a tutorial on how to use their technology.
Take advantage of this opportunity to get input on everything you’ve set up, including lighting, camera angle, sound, and location. If at all feasible, record the test run so that you may review it later. Nervous twitches appear in all of us, especially on camera, and seeing them for yourself will help.
One thing to keep in mind is where you’re looking… Consider if you’re staring at yourself, away from the camera, or at the other person. Memory, impressions, and eye contact are all intertwined in reality. The University of Wolverhampton and the University of Stirling collaborated on a study that indicated that participants who maintained eye contact through the camera were better able to remember what they said. You can deceive yourself into looking at the camera if you try hard enough. Tape something with eyes slightly above your camera lens to ensure you’re looking through the lens and not down at yourself.
- Dress Correctly
A virtual interview should be treated the same as an in-person interview, with the same dress code requirements as if you were walking onto a company campus. According to research, how you wear has an effect on how you think since it encourages abstract thinking and offers you a larger viewpoint. Putting on that suit or pair of slacks could actually help you be more creative during your interview.