As a result of the recent Covid-19 pandemic, more people than ever have virtual job interviews in an effort to keep up with social distancing regulations. A virtual interview can be interchangeably referred to as a video interview or online interview as well. Typically, the meeting takes place using a computer and video chat software such as Zoom or Skype and can require an external video camera, microphone, or headphones.
Other than that, a virtual interview takes place much like how it would in person. However, there’s a bit more responsibility on you to make sure it all happens smoothly. To help you prepare for your next online interview, here are five tips to keep in mind.
TEST YOUR TECHNOLOGY
This is a technological age, and now more than ever, employers are looking for hires that have competency in their technical skills. Because of this, they may use your virtual interview as a testing ground.
Check your equipment ahead of the call to avoid experiencing any issues that may disrupt your discussion or connection. That means ensuring both the computer itself, if that’s what you’re using, and the internet are working optimally. If either seems to be having an issue, you may have to buy an external microphone, camera, or Wi-Fi extender, depending on the problem.
Yes, no one will know if you’re wearing sweatpants, but dressing for success doesn’t work as well when you only meet it halfway. Get in business attire just as you would for an in-person interview. You may not be able to impress with a firm handshake virtually, but you can give all the appearances that you would. A confident smile and a clean, pulled-together look can do a lot to cover for any nerves you may feel.
While you don’t want to be too flashy with your appearance, you want to make sure that you’re still the focus of the video. Finding or creating the right setting can help keep the interviewer’s attention on you and not what’s in the background.
GET RID OF ALL DISTRACTIONS
Since you’re not in an office or professional setting, it can be almost too easy to get distracted during a virtual interview. That includes things happening in the space around you, such as the television, or on your device. Silence your cell phone beforehand and disable any pop-ups on your desktop so that nothing catches you off guard. It’s just as much for you as it is for the interviewer. Interruptions can stop your train of thought and leave you scrambling to pick the trail back up.
However, you can’t control everything. If something goes wrong, keep calm and address the problem as quickly as possible. Your ability to handle a stressful situation will stand out just as much as a perfectly smooth interview would have.
REHEARSE A FEW INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Even if you’re applying to multiple positions or companies, you want the interviewer to feel like you’re dedicated to joining the team. Before you head into the call, do your research. Come in knowing the group’s mission statement, goals, and needs. That will help you not only address any questions may have but help you prepare some of your own.
So, when the interviewer asks you, “do you have any questions for me?” you can respond with a resounding, “yes.”
A video interview is just as important as an in-person meeting. Your interviewer made time to speak with you, so make sure you follow up as usual. Send an email within 24 hours of the meeting to whomever you spoke with, thanking them for their consideration and expressing your interest one last time. Be concise, but maintain your interest. You can incorporate a detail from the meeting that stood out to you if you like.
THE BOTTOM LINE
While many Americans will be returning to their offices or seeking out in-person work soon enough, many will be remaining at home. Data from Global Workplace Analytics show that “regular work-at-home has grown 173% since 2005,” which means that virtual isn’t going anywhere even after the pandemic ends. Learning to handle an online interview gracefully is just one of the many hiring skills that will soon be necessary to know.