Interviewing can be the most intimidating part of the job-seeking process. Since the start of the pandemic, most interviews have migrated online. Virtual interviews are quickly becoming the norm. For many interviewees, the thought of creating a lasting impression through a screen seems much more difficult than in person. However, a virtual interview doesn’t have to feel daunting, there are many things you can do to prepare to make a great first impression.
Use the virtual interview to show your competency with technology. Avoid potential technical glitches by testing your equipment before the call. If your video conferencing software produces grainy visuals or muffled audio, it might be time to invest in an external webcam or microphone. You should also secure your internet connection.
Just because you are interviewing from the comfort of your own home, doesn’t mean you can appear on screen in a comfy T-shirt and sweats. Consider a button-up shirt or blouse, and be sure to groom just as thoughtfully as you would for an in-person meeting. Not only will this help you make a great impression with your interviewer, but wearing clothes that make you feel confident will also help project confidence. Just as in person, how you dress can say just as much as how you respond to questions.
It’s easy to let your mind wander, especially if you are staring at a screen. One way to show your interviewer that you’re motivated and engaged is by practicing active listening. Consider nodding your head to give affirmations of understanding while they talk, and asking clarifying questions when necessary.
Since you’ll likely have days or even weeks to prepare for a virtual interview, take the time to minimize distractions. If you can, set up in a room where you can close the door and inform anyone in the house that they shouldn’t disturb you during your interview. Make sure you turn off or silence your phone or any other device that might make noise and pause any notifications on your computer. If there’s a high chance of you being interrupted by something outside of your control, mention it at the start of the interview. The person or people conducting your interview may also be at home and will likely understand a barking dog or crying baby. Many times, it’s not about the fact you got interrupted but how you respond and carry on if an interruption happens.
If possible, sit in front of a blank background, so that you remain the focal point. Choose a space that feels businesslike and make sure the area is clean. Also, check your lighting. The best way not to appear washed out is to keep the light in front of you.
Maintain a professional virtual identity. While this tip is not directly associated with a virtual interview, it’s important to understand that your virtual identity will come into play at some point during the hiring process. What will your future employer find when they type your name into a search engine? Keep your email and usernames simple and stay professional on social media accounts.
Virtual interviews are becoming increasingly popular as workplaces continue to evolve to meet the needs of their employees. Professionals who are or will be navigating the job market are bound to encounter this new type of video meeting and should take the necessary steps to prepare.
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