Ace Your Virtual Interview

Thanks to technology, reaching a diverse applicant pool is easier now more than ever. Video conferencing systems are widely available for use by anyone and all you need is a reliable internet connection. Virtual interviews were a common practice prior to the COVID-19 crisis, but even more companies have adopted the practice to maintain their interview and hiring process. 


As an interview candidate, preparing for a virtual interview should not be any different in comparison to face-to-face. Here are some tips to make a lasting impression.


Dress Professional 

Let’s be honest with ourselves. In times of quarantine, most of us have moved from a “business casual” dress code to more “athleisure” – and that’s putting it nicely. I think we have all seen the video of the guy being interviewed on the news dressed to the nines – from the waist up – blissfully unaware that the entire country can see that he is still in his boxers. Learn from other’s mistakes. You should dress no different for a virtual interview as you would for in-person (pants included). Regardless of what position you are interviewing for, dressing professionally shows that you are serious about the opportunity. 


Be Mindful of Your Surroundings

Interviewing from home is not ideal for everyone. Do your best to find an area with decent lighting or near a window with natural light. Be mindful of the surrounding space. Tidy up – fluff up the couch pillows, throw away all those snack wrappers and push that pile of laundry out of frame. Make sure you are leaving the impression that you are organized and detail oriented. 


Test Your Technology

Typically, when you are scheduled a virtual interview, you will receive information on how to attend. There could be an attendee ID, call in number or software you need to download. Test all of the links. Make sure your computer/laptop/iPad is compatible with the technology and you have all of the information you need.


Be Prepared

Preparation should be no different. Just because you are on the computer, doesn’t mean you can use google to help you answer questions. Do your research on the company and position beforehand as you normally would. It’s okay to make have notes with you, but don’t rely on them. Looking down, off to the side and clicking around will make you appear unfocused or distracted.


Log On Early

As with any interview, aim to arrive early. While you may not have the typical worries like finding the building or a parking spot – things can still go awry. The internet is unpredictable. Links are slow to load, you can’t log into your email, or your computer decides it has to do an update RIGHT NOW. Plan to sit down at least 15-minutes early. Gather your thoughts and go over your notes. In the end, its better you wait for the hiring manager to log on than them to be wondering where you are. 


Follow Up

Following up should happen with every interview, at every stage. Always ask for an email address if you do not already have one. Close the loop. Thank them for their time, reiterate your interest in the position and the company and express your eagerness to move onto the next step.

Preparedness will help set you apart from other candidates. Ensure your technology is in working order, dress appropriately and clear your mind and space from distractions. Good luck!