Many of the country’s workforce will be remaining remote for some time to come, and although you might not be perfecting your firm handshake any time soon, there are still things you CAN do to prepare for to a virtual interview. We put together a few tips that should help you feel more confident landing the job.
Test Your Technology – Take some time before your interview to make sure your device is working. Check that you have a consistent and strong internet connection, that your camera quality is clear, and your volume setting picks up your voice and that you can hear clearly. The earlier you do this, the better. If your camera is blurry or volume is not working, you’ll need time to come up with an alternate solution. Also, make sure that your device is sufficiently charged and that your power cable is plugged in to an active outlet during the interview, just in case.
Lighting and Background – Scan your home before the interview to find a suitable location for the video call. Choose a space that is clean and minimally decorated to portray a professional setting. Avoid rooms like your bedroom or public areas like your kitchen table if other people are around.
For the best natural lighting, it is recommended that you face a window. If this is not an option, find a room that is well lit and have a light source in front of you to ensure that your face is not in shadow. As for a background, a blank wall is best to ensure that you are the focal point during the interview. If that is not possible, find a location with minimal decor on the walls.
Limit Noise – Background noise can be a real distraction during a video interview. Make sure your phone and computer are silenced, TVs & stereos are muted and windows are shut to decrease outside noise. Communicate with the people you live with to ensure they are as quiet as possible for the duration of the interview. This might be harder if you have children or animals in your home, but try to be as prepared as possible.
Dress Professionally – Just as an in-person interview goes, you want to make a good first impression and dress the part. Pick your outfit ahead of time and ensure that it is clean and wrinkle and stain free. Remember, this is a business interview– casual attire is not an option.
Pay Attention to Your Body Language – Ensure that the camera is at eye level, and be mindful of your posture and body language throughout the interview. Sit tall and keep your shoulders back and body relaxed. Make sure you remove unnecessary distractions from your line of sight. And remember to smile!
Come Prepared – Virtual interviews are still interviews. You should be prepared to explain your career history and elaborate on your achievements and lessons learned. The interviewer may question any gaps in your resume, so be sure to have appropriate answers for any missing time. It’s fine if you stayed home to raise your family or were needed to care for a sick family member. You may want to have a list of other skills that you developed while away from an office or other lessons learned while performing these “at-home” duties.
Always research the company, industry and interviewer prior to the interview. It’s recommended to prepare a list of questions to discuss at the end of the interview to show your interest. It’s not recommended to ask about benefits or salary during a first-time interview unless the interviewer asks you (it’s illegal for an interviewer to ask you your current salary in the state of Massachusetts). They can only ask what your requirements are for this particular job, so it is important to know the going rate for jobs in your field and in your job market (location). These can be found at websites like:
Keep your answers more general such as, “I am interested in finding a position that is a good fit for my skills and interests. I would be looking for a salary that is competitive in the current market.”
Be sure to express your interest in the position if that’s the case, and you can certainly inquire as to the next steps in the process.
Follow Up – It is polite and expected that you will follow-up within 24 hours after the interview with a thank you email or letter. This is an opportunity to provide additional information about a topic in the interview and reiterate your enthusiasm about the role.