Do’s and Don’ts of a Virtual Interview
As technology evolves and becomes more functional, more and more companies are beginning to use it as a way to interview prospective employees and to save money. A couple of significant advantages of going virtual is that they can save on both the travel costs and time spent sending employees to college campuses and other recruitment locations. If you have a virtual interview in the near future, here are a few do’s and don’ts to think about for a successful experience!
Caption: Keep in mind that your interview is not going into a black hole once it leaves your computer screen. If you move on to the next step of the hiring process, you will likely meet with the same people who watched your interview. Try to put your best self forward and display your personality in your video! Photo credit: Your Career Intel
1. DO Be Extra Prepared
Unlike an in-person interview, virtual interviews require you to prepare not only yourself but your technology and your environment. If you have roommates, it’s important to make sure they are aware of where and when you will be during this interview so they do not interrupt you. Further, it’s important to consider the network you will be doing the interview on. For phone interviews, a landline is the most reliable method. For virtual or Skype interviews, having a strong internet connection can be the most important. For instance, you may think going to the library and reserving a private room may be a good idea, but when there are a lot of people in the same location, the network connection may be slow or pause. In addition, it’s important to prepare your space. A clumsy background can be distracting to the viewer, but a clean stark white may also seem too formal. Try to find a balance of neutral and clean to complement your interview.
Caption: Virtual interviews come in many different forms! If an employer tells you there is a virtual interview, it’s important to clarify the form of the interview and the specific details! Photo credit: INC
2. DON’T Write Out Answers
It can be helpful to have your resume on hand during an interview, or a few notes on a flashcard. However, there is a difference between referencing notes and writing out word-for-word answers to common interview questions. Of course, it is still a good preparation technique to practice answering common interview questions, but reading them off a paper during your interview is not a good idea. Not only will you look unprepared and unconfident, but reading off a script will also blatantly affect how the interviewer perceives you and your professionalism. For a successful interview, be confident, trust yourself, and speak naturally.
3. Do Dress (Half) The Part
Although you won’t be meeting anyone in person, dressing professionally and making sure you appear polished and neat is important. In fact, it’s even more important to dress the part for a virtual interview because, without your physical presence, the interviewer can only get a sense of who you are and if you are a good candidate through two ways. The first is what you say, and the second is what they see. If they see that you look professional, it shows you care about this opportunity. One tip is to make sure that you test your location and webcam in advance. The lighting in the room and the view from your webcam all affect how you look. Plus, if you test and know that only your upper body will show, you can stay in your sweatpants and just dress your top half!
Caption: To avoid being caught off guard during the interview, or having to improvise when your technology or plan doesn’t work, make sure you prepare ahead of time! Photo credit: EZ Talks
4. DON’T Be Shy
You may be confused about how the virtual interview process works for your specific situation or you may simply be unsure about how to ask questions. Some companies, such as EY, use virtual interviews through pre-recorded videos on a platform which allows you to practice before you submit your final attempt. Others expect to call you on Skype or over the phone and interview you in real time. Prior to your interview, you should confirm the details and the procedure for the virtual interview in order to avoid any complications. During your interview, it’s important to speak up and ask questions about what the next step will be and when you should hear back. Being proactive will help you in the long run!
5. DO Practice Before
You may have experience with interviews and feel like you don’t need to practice for this one. However, it is important to practice every time, especially for virtual interviews. You may feel uncomfortable speaking in front of a webcam or on a Skype call, or you may not know how to speak on the phone without being able to see the person you are talking to. By practicing beforehand, you can see how you look and find areas to improve on when you are speaking. Another important step is to have someone else watch your recorded practice interview. This is useful because they may notice something about you from their perspective which can help you improve. A key tip for webcam or Skype interviews is to practice looking at the webcam and away from your image on the screen. Although it may be hard to not focus on how you look, it’s essential to show that you are paying attention to the interviewer and not something else.
A virtual interview can be daunting at first, but learning how to prepare for it can make a career-changing difference! These interviews will become more and more common as technological innovations increase, and knowing how to approach them will only help. CWIB hosts many interview preparation workshops with companies which can be very helpful for learning about a specific company’s process. Make sure to take advantage of these workshops to keep learning about interview skills!