During the current pandemic, virtual interviews have risen in popularity and most likely will continue to be a staple in interviewing for a long time. The ease with which virtual interviews are conducted is very attractive to many companies. After the pandemic, you may be asked to do a virtual interview because you live far away from where the company is based from and your first or second-round interviews will be virtual. Regardless of when or why you complete a virtual interview, it’s important to understand the differences from an in-person interview as well as how to succeed in the virtual environment.
1. Familiarize Yourself with the Virtual Interviewing Platform
To begin, preparation is essential to do well in any interview, but there are some things you can do specifically for virtual interviews. First off, make sure you are familiar with the platform that you will be using for the interview. Zoom, WebEx, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet are just a few of the platforms that you may interview on. Some of these may need to be downloaded and be aware of what information is needed, like links or meeting IDs and passwords. You should also make sure that you have the latest version of the platform downloaded on your computer. Once you are comfortable with the platform, now you should focus on your physical preparation.
2. Plan Your Interview Space and Your Attire
Moving onto the environment of the interview. Plan out where you will be doing your interview ahead of time. You want a plain background like a clear wall or organized office. The background should not be busy because you do not want to distract the interviewer, the main focus should be you! You also want to limit disruptive noises, but in this new virtual environment, people are more understanding of the occasional dog bark. Make sure that the device you are using for the interview as well as your other personal devices are silenced and that any notifications you get will not distract you or the interviewer. You also want to make sure your camera angle includes the top of your head and the top of your shoulders. Even though the interviewer will likely only see you from the shoulders up, in order to put yourself in the best mindset for the interview, I recommend wearing a professional outfit from head to toe, just like an in-person interview.
3. Keep Your Camera in Focus
Fast forward to the interview, make sure you are looking into the camera and not at the image of your interviewer on the screen. This will help make a connection with the interviewer because they will feel as if you are looking directly at them. This can be challenging so consider taping googly eyes on either side of the camera to emulate making eye contact. You could also tape a picture of the interviewer near your camera to make it feel more natural. Some platforms allow you to minimize your own image on the screen to reduce distractions. For Zoom, you can select “focus view” which will make the person speaking the entire screen. For Google Meets you have the option to pin the interviewer’s image which would put your image smaller in the corner. Practice with your specific platform to make sure you understand the various options. As with in-person interviews, it is incredibly important to speak clearly and enunciate your words through a virtual platform. Depending on the internet connection and microphone quality you may be harder to understand. Lastly, be prepared for any unexpected technical issues that may occur. Always make sure you have the interviewer’s contact information so if you do get disconnected you are able to reconnect and continue the interview.
Overall, the main thing about virtual interviews whether it be through Zoom or another platform is to be prepared. There are other aspects to consider when doing any interview, so if you want to learn more about other aspects of interviewing schedule a virtual practice interview with the Center for Career Development today!