Mastering the Virtual Interview
Interview Tips, Job Seekers
Job hunting has never been easy, but now there are new challenges to navigate with the move to a partially remote world. Even as some parts of the U.S. have begun opening up, you still need to be prepared to interview or work remotely as some businesses may be working under that model for a while.
So how can you prepare in order to be able to show your best self when you’re interviewing remotely? There are several things you can do to ensure that you nail the virtual interview:
Check Your Setup
First and foremost, make sure you have the right equipment and setup for your interview. Whether you are using a webcam or your phone, make sure you know how to operate your equipment with the program your interviewers want you to use. The best way to test everything out is to do a practice call with someone else. Since many of the common programs such as Zoom, Skype, or WhatsApp have free versions, it’s usually easy to try out the features and get used to them ahead of time.
It’s equally important to ensure that you will have a good place to take your call. Ideally, a room with a door is best so you can have a quiet place free of distractions, but in the current situation that may not be possible. Do your best with what you have available and set things up so you can be comfortable for the duration of the meeting. This might mean rearranging a bit so you can have a stable place to set your phone or webcam and a comfortable seat so you can focus on the conversation.
Make sure you have adequate lighting, check that you are not being backlit by a bright window, and look for distracting items in the background behind you so you can remove them. Some people have been taking advantage of the photo backdrop or blurred background features in programs like Zoom, but make sure you are not blending into your background either. You also want to make sure your camera is at a good angle and not too far away so you can be seen clearly. Again, practice makes perfect here, so do a test run with someone else to pinpoint any problems. This is the best way to check everything over before the real meeting.
Dress the Part
It may feel silly to get dressed up to sit in your own home, but dressing the part for the interview is a great way to center yourself and get in the right mindset. Not only will you look professional and put together, but you will feel more like you are going to an interview. Even if the company you are interviewing with has a casual dress code, dressing nicely for the interview shows that you are in touch with business norms and respect the people you are meeting with. It will also ensure that you will not have an embarrassing wardrobe situation such as stories you hear about people who stand up on camera and aren’t wearing pants! Instead, be prepared and collected so you know you are projecting the right image.
Even though the setting may be different, this is still an interview and you will need to be prepared to speak to your history and accomplishments and ask discerning questions about the role and the company you are applying with. Just as you would in an in-person interview, you want to be calm and composed, ready to have a conversation that will help you both discover whether this is a good match. Knowing that you are going in with the right preparation will make it easy for you to leave a good impression with the interviewers and help you land that job!
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