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5 Tips for Acing a Virtual Interview

5 Tips for Acing a Virtual Interview

Whether Covid-19 is here to stay or not, it certainly has changed the way many of our standard processes operate, interviewing is no exception. In today’s hiring climate many NH companies are still conducting in-person interviews, but more customary is to find yourself invited to a virtual interview. Although interviews of this nature pose different challenges, the 5 tips outlined below will ensure you ace your virtual interview.

Preparation is Key

It seems obvious to point out preparation, but a virtual interview affords you the opportunity to have notes in front of you. In a traditional in-person interview you probably wouldn’t have a stack of notecards, but since they’ll be off-screen during the interview, it’s a great time to keep your thoughts organized in front of you.

You can use this strategy to keep a few questions for the interviewer at your fingertips. This is also a great way to have a few talking points to recall should you draw a blank. Being on a virtual interview is already an anxiety-inducing experience for many, so keeping clear notes in front of you during this process could keep your conversation moving and your confidence high.

Dress for Success

The cliché news anchor wearing a suit top with no pants is not what you’re going for in your virtual interview. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The hiring manager is reviewing this with a similar scrutiny as an in-person interview and your attire should indicate the same.

You’ve worked hard to get to the interview step. Now is the time to take your effort to the next level and represent yourself in a professional manner, even from the confines of your home.

Maintain Eye Contact

To those not accustomed to online video interactions, it may seem awkward looking into the eyes of the interviewer. Many of us are inclined to look at the interviewer on the screen, but in doing so, you’re making yourself appear like you’re looking down. It’s important to keep your eyes focused on your device’s camera.

A suggestion to help assist you is to tape a picture of a friend or loved one directly next to the camera. In speaking to the familiar face taped to your device, you’ll be much closer to showing eye contact and displaying a confident demeanor to the interviewer.

Test, Test, Test

Everyone entering the virtual interview will gain access from a variety of devices. Unless other arrangements have been set by the interviewer, it’s expected that you’ll receive an email with download instructions for accessing the virtual interview software. It’s essential to access the download from the link provided prior to the day of your interview, if possible.

In addition to the assortment of devices used to access the virtual interview, there are a number of software packages used to stream the connection. Zoom is the company at the forefront of many minds since it’s mentioned quite often in relation to kid’s online classes, but it’s in competition with some heavy hitters. Skype and GoToMeeting have been in the industry long before any “new normal” and could be used at the company where you’re interviewing.

Online video hosting platforms are now starting to give users the ability to test the software prior to downloading. Here are a couple of direct links to help your testing efforts.

Zoom -- https://zoom.us/test
GoToMeeting -- https://support.goto.com/meeting/system-check

Set the Scene

When you decide on a location to have your interview, you’ll want to review your set-up prior to jumping on the call. If you know the time of day of your interview, it’s a best practice to simulate your interview at that time.

Lighting

Often overlooked, lighting can play a critical role in how you appear on your interviewer’s screen. Too much light behind you, and your face will be blackened out. Too much light in front of you, and your face will likely glow. In most cases, a room well-lit from natural light is ideal, but you may have a single desk lamp to provide a little extra light on your face.

Camera Height

Where you position your camera isn’t always something you have a lot of control over, but it’s important to keep some principles in mind. You’ll want to place your device across from you. If it’s slightly lower than your face, that’s ok, simply position your screen in a slight upward angle. Avoid having your device be too low or too high. The perspective from these angles is less than engaging.

Background

Simple is better. Using a plain colored wall or curtains is strongly suggested. Needless to say, you don’t want a week’s worth of laundry or anything distracting going on behind you that could take the interviewer’s attention off the conversation.

Test Wi-Fi

If you have a clearly defined workspace that often connects to the internet, you likely have good reason to be confident in your connection. For those who will be in an environment with an unfamiliar Wi-Fi, it’s best to connect your device in that location prior to logging in to interview.

Audio

Verify the microphone on your device is active. Additionally, ensure your speakers are off mute. Starting off an interview with an avoidable mishap such as this, is not a great first impression.

Summary

Regardless of how quickly society recovers from Covid-19, it’s safe to say virtual interviews are here to stay. After receiving a notification of an upcoming virtual interview, begin the process of preparing for it. Even if you’ve engaged in a Zoom call before, be sure to follow the 5 tips above to ace your interview with confidence.