A virtual interview does not differ much from a meeting in person, but does require a few extra steps. Take a moment to review the tips and tricks below to make the best impression on the people interviewing you. You have one chance to make a first solid impression – make it count!
Prepping for the Interview (Virtual or Not)
1) Before applying for your dream job
- Make sure that your LinkedIn profile is up to date, and have someone proofread it. Even one typo can make a difference between you and the next candidate – the devil is in the details!
- It’s no secret that most recruiters DO check candidates Facebook profiles, so make sure to remove any public post or picture that could give the wrong impression from your wall.
2) Once you are notified that you have been short-listed for a position
- Ask who you will be interviewing with, and study their profile on LinkedIn, as it can be used as a great ice-breaker, if you have something or know someone in common.
- Also prepare a few, well-thought out and genuine questions, to save for the end of the interview, based on what you have read about them online and what you actually know about the company.
- If you are unfamiliar with the technology used for the interview, and have a chance to test the platform beforehand, your camera and the sound of your microphone, do so. Calling a friend will avoid small technical problems and take away unnecessary stress.
3) A few minutes before the virtual meeting
- As you would do for a live interview, show up online a few minutes before, and check the following:
- Take a moment to make sure that your real name is properly displayed. If you are in the middle of an intensive job search, leave it this way, so that it always displays the same.
- Had a little fun with your friends during a recent Zoom apero? Remember to remove funky/personalized backgrounds, so that the focus is on you, not what’s behind you, no matter how nice it looks.
- Make sure to sit in a well-lit, quiet room, with as few interruptions as possible (disturbing noise, pets, children, etc). Again, if you are going through an intensive period of job interviews, have a little sign that says “ON AIR” and tell your family or roommate(s) not to enter if this sign is displayed on the door.
- Verify your surroundings, to make sure that they are neat and tidy. Remember that the cool artwork or a bottle of alcohol in your living room could be offending to some. Have that critical eye! The more neutral, the better.
- Have a glass of water handy – you never know when you might need it!
4) A note on virtual dress codes
- Many businesses have adopted a casual, more relaxed dress code, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, for the purposes of a professional interview, make sure to dress appropriately from head to toe (and yes, that includes shoes), even if only to embody the feeling of a live interview. This will have a direct and positive impact on your posture and non-verbal body language without you even being aware of it.
- It is well known in the media industry that diagonals and bold patterns should be avoided. Use this pro tip to also make a favourable impression on video camera.
During the Interview
- If your interviewer(s) turn(s) their camera on, you should definitely do it too. However, if they don’t, it may be best to ask them what they would prefer, to avoid any awkwardness.
- If you need to use your cell phone or tablet, be sure to find a place to put it down to avoid constant movement and being too close to the camera (ideally, you want to appear from head to shoulder/mid-body).
- Remove any temptation that would make you look fidgety such as a playing with a pen or other accessory.
- If anything happens during the interview (technical problems, background noise, etc.) don’t panic, it happens frequently. The recruiter will analyze your reaction to stress and your ability to adapt. Apologize nicely and come back to the discussion.
- Try to look at the camera as much as possible. This will positively attract the attention of the person on the other side of the screen and show confidence and interest.
After the Interview
- Similar to what is best practice after a live interview, DO take the time to send out a thank you note to your interviewer(s) – at minimum to the HR person who contacted you to set up the interview. Refer back to a thing or two that was discussed during the interview, reiterate your interest for the position and close your email by telling them that you remain available for any other questions and that you are looking forward to the next step.
- If you don’t have an email contact, a LinkedIn instant message could also be used. Avoid using Facebook messenger, as a lot of people like to keep their private and professional lives separate.
And in conclusion, remember the most important thing: YOU GOT THIS!