The Dos and Don’ts of Virtual Interviews
The Dos of a Virtual Job Interview
Research the Company
Look into the company, the position, and the interviewers before the interview just as you would for an in-person conversation. You definitely shouldn’t be scrolling through Google during your interview, so get the information you need ahead of time. LinkedIn is a great tool for seeing the professional backgrounds of your interviewers, and the company website as well as the job posting can help you to frame questions you want to ask as well as the direction to take the interview in.
Dress for Success
Dressing professionally is still a requirement for a virtual interview. You want to look put together and in line with the company’s dress code. When in doubt, throw on a blazer for a professional appearance.
Have a Professional Background
Make sure the background of the video call is presentable as well. Opt for a tidy section of your home or a blank wall to keep distraction to a minimum. Also, beware of lighting issues. If you’re sitting in front of a window on a sunny day, you’re likely to look like a shadow to your interviewer. Find a spot you think is acceptable, and test it out on video to make sure everything is as you expect it to be.
Test Your Tech Beforehand
Murphy’s law would have it that your technology would let you down at the time you need it most. Test all of your technology before the interview to make sure everything is running smoothly. Check your internet connection, the video platform, and any hardware you plan on using, like headphones. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, so even if you’ve hosted dozens of virtual meetings, double-check that everything’s operating how it should be.
Send a Follow-Up after the Interview
A ‘thank you’ after your interview does more than send your regards. You’re showing the interviewer that you care about the role, while also displaying your respect for their time. In your follow-up email, you should reflect on why you’re right for the job, recall a conversation that came up in the interview that especially stood out to you or got you excited about the company, and, of course, thank them for their time and consideration.
The Don’ts of a Virtual Job Interview
Don’t Move the Camera
Have your computer or webcam on a flat, secure surface. Don’t balance your laptop on your knees or a pillow, as the screen’s movement will distract your interviewer. Take the interview from a desk or kitchen table where you and the computer can be stationary the entire time.
Don’t Lose Your Personality
It’s incredibly important to display your personality in a virtual setting because you are at a slight disadvantage since you’re not in person. Be friendly and warm, and keep it professional. Make eye contact and smile, and show your humor when it’s appropriate. Remain confident throughout the interview, and try to maintain good posture. These all seem like small things, but body language is a big indicator for some interviewers.
Don’t Get Distracted
Your surroundings right now might be a little hectic, but—as much as you can—avoid any distractions during your interview. Silence your notifications on your laptop and phone, find a quiet space, and focus on the questions and the conversation you’re having. Your ability to engage and stay interested is even easier to judge because your face is on your interviewer’s screen.
Don’t Turn Off Your Camera
If your interviewer scheduled a virtual meeting, they want to see your face. A phone call obviously gives them the ability to talk through the same questions, but as we mentioned earlier, body language is important. Keep your camera on for the entirety of the interview, no matter how tempting it may be to switch it off.
Don’t Use Your Computer during the Interview
Just as you wouldn’t want to be caught reading from your notes in an in-person interview, don’t use your computer during the interview. It’s very easy to tell when someone drops eye contact in a virtual meeting, so make sure you’re keeping your gaze on the person you’re speaking with and not referencing your résumé or other notes on your screen. If you want to take notes or have prepared questions to ask, opt to have them on a notepad in front of you rather than on your computer. This makes it much more obvious to the interviewer that they aren’t losing your attention to something on the internet.
There are many things to consider when it comes to interviewing virtually, but with a little preparation, you’ll breeze right through your interview. If you’re looking for tips specific to Zoom, a commonly used virtual meeting platform, we’ve put together this article.