Updated: Oct 24
9 Tips To Ace Your Virtual Job Interview
With my most recent job hunt, I was introduced to the new normal of virtual interviews. Virtual and OnDemand Interviews are not much different than in-person interviews, but can require more preparation to ensure you are set-up for success to prevent your best and most authentic self.
From prepping your technology to tidying up your background, like most interviews, ultimately, the key to acing a virtual interview is proper preparation.
So if you are currently on the job hunt or moving to the next step of the interview process, here are my tips for job seekers or movers to help you ace your virtual interview.
Test Your Technology
If you have not been using your technology daily, test your technology to ensure your microphone, camera, and the internet is working once you confirm and agree to a virtual interview.
Suppose your picture is grainy, or you are experiencing audio issues. In that case, you may need to buy a mini webcam with a built-in microphone to be ready for the interview— so try to test your technology as early as possible.
On the day of the interview, be sure to test your equipment and internet connection again. If the company is doing a virtual interview, this means you will most likely be working from home at some point if you land the job. Messing around with your technology may give the hiring manager the impression that you are not technologically savvy and, therefore, not the right candidate for the job.
Charge Your Technology
It may seem obvious, but many people forget, only to have to excuse themselves during the interview to grab their charge or worse their device dying during the interview.
Ahead of your interview, make sure your technology is charged or you are near to an electric socket or charging station,.
Set The Stage
While testing your technology, determine where to take the interview. Find a room with optimal lighting and near a blank wall to guarantee you are the focal point of the conversation. On the day of the interview, be sure to clean up your space. This will help limit distractions in the background and will help you prevent as detail-oriented and organized. It is hard to convince employers you are detail-oriented and organized when there's laundry visibly piling up in the corner.
If you have uncontrollable chaos in your background, try a virtual background or blurred background for the interview.
Once the mood is set, eliminate all distractions by turning off the TV, silencing your cell phone, disabling work/personal apps on your technology, and closing any nearby windows to muffle neighborhood traffic. But, of course, unexpected disruptions can happen. If you believe a distraction may happen during the interview, let your interviewer know as soon as possible.
To help present needing to get up during the interview, have water, gum, notepad and pen at arm's reach to your interview seat.
Utilize "Hide Your Video" Feature
Since the pandemic, my job as a Customer Success Manager entails a lot of virtual trainings and meetings. Seeing myself on screen while presenting became unsettling very quickly. Fortunately for me, and others alike, many meeting apps - like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet - allow you to hide your video on the meeting app. Hiding your video can help ease your nerves during the interview and maintain contact with the interview.
Be Prepared For OnDemand Interviews
Before my virtual interview, my current job required an OnDemand Interview through HireVue to get through the first round. This is different from a virtual interview as it is an one-way video interview when technology facilitates pre-determined questions rather than a traditional interviewer. You are prompted to record answers to questions that are then submitted to a company.
The benefits of doing an OnDemand interview is you can do it at your own pace, desired time, and of course, in your own space. The disadvantage is that you are not speaking to another person, so you will not receive nods or other standard gestures like in a traditional interview. Also, you will need to be concise as each response has a time limit. For different tips and tricks on how to stand out in an on-demand interview, check out this video by HireVue.
Practice Your Virtual Interview
Before the interview takes place, try practicing the virtual interview by recording yourself answering common interview questions like, "Tell Me About Yourself." or "What are your strengths and weaknesses." This will help you become comfortable with being in front of the camera, and you will be able to take note of and correct your body language, eye contact, and background noise and scene.
Be Present and Be Authentic
One of the most important things to remember when video interviewing is to be your authentic self. Smile when you give your answers, be as personable as you can, and give them a glimpse of your authentic self as a candidate. Because virtual interviews prevent a physical connection, you will need to increase your enthusiasm and natural personality as best as you can through a video lens.
Also, interviewing can be anxiety-inducing, even for the most experienced professionals. Before the interview, take a few minutes to do some quick deep breathing exercises to reduce anxiety. A trick I use for interviews (virtual and in-person) is inhaling lavender with deep breaths before the interview and applying lavender oil behind my ears and on the inside of my wrist to help me remain calm throughout the interview. This allows me to be present and focus on making a connection and good impression during the interview.
Treat Your Virtual Interview Like An In-Person Meeting
Above all else, treat your virtual interview like an in-person meeting. It may seem a bit informal, but hiring managers and interviewers expect you to treat it no differently than an in-person meeting. So be on time, dress professionally, do your research on the company, ask questions, and immediately follow up with thank you emails to everyone you met. YOU GOT THIS!