Tips for a Successful Virtual Interview

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As organizations like PlanSource manage this COVID-19 crisis, we have begun using digital technology early in the hiring process in place of face-to-face interviews.

As a job seeker facing this reality, you should approach these video interviews no differently than you would an in-person, face-to-face conversation. Remember: video meetings are still interactive events where you have an opportunity to build a connection with hiring managers. Bring your best self to your virtual interview just as you would in an office!

Tip #1: Location, Location Location

  • Pick a quiet, well-lit location to ensure that what the interviewer sees looks professional. Get rid of any distractions (pets, children, spouses, etc.) so you can concentrate during your meeting.
  • Move things in the room around if necessary, to create an appealing backdrop.
  • Think about what the hiring manager is seeing and hearing – is it professional?

Tip #2: Check that Tech

  • Before your interview, do a practice run with your webcam, microphone, Wi-Fi, etc.
  • Avoid using your phone or tablet –make sure you are on a PC or laptop and that you have access to test your equipment.
  • Don’t forget to test the volume – if the microphone is too low, the interviewer won’t be able to hear your answers and questions. If it’s too loud, yikes!

Tip #3: Prepare your Environment

  • Stay away from large, empty areas that do not have a lot of furniture as it can create an echo. Plants and soft furnishings absorb sound and stop the echo from happening.
  • When you set up the webcam, make sure it’s an arm’s length away from where you’re sitting and set at eye level. Use books or a box to make it higher if you need to.
  • To prevent undesirable lighting effects, position a lamp in front of you but behind the camera. Ensure the light doesn’t create shadows.

Tip #4: Dress Appropriately

Even though the interviewer might not be able to see all of you, you should still dress exactly as though the interview were face to face (imagine you get up for a second and you are still in your favorite, very lived-in pajamas…yeah. It’s happened before.)

woman looks at a computer confusedly

Tip #5: Have a Backup Plan

Things do go wrong, and the unexpected can strike at any time. Always make sure you have the interviewer’s number so that you can call them if you need to!

Tip #6: Silence that Cell Phone

Make sure that any applications that might make alert noises are switched off on your computer and cell phone.

Tip #7: Sit Still

If you are fidgeting, moving around too much, etc. this could be distracting for the interviewer. You don’t have to be a statue (unless that’s the job you’re going for) but try to sit still, lean in and take notes.

Tip #8: Follow Up

  • Don’t forget to craft a follow-up note/email to close the loop and thank the interviewer(s) for their time. This a good way to send other critical pieces of info and solidify your connections.
  • Most importantly, be curious and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine. Ask and answer questions normally and with a controlled cadence. Employers are interested in your core skills, but they are equally as interested in your soft skills and communication. There is no better way to demonstrate this skill set than on a video interview.

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