Mastering the Virtual Interview
You’ve passed your classes, walked across the (digital) stage, and gotten your diploma after years of determination, discipline, and effort. Congrats! Now what?
College graduates and young professionals are undoubtedly stepping their first foot into the professional world at a strange and unprecedented time. COVID-19 has permanently changed the way professionals network, communicate, work, and hire. While phone and video interviews have been initial steps in most companies’ hiring process for years, virtual interviews are now a cornerstone of all hiring processes.
If you’re feeling apprehensive about the job application process in a post-pandemic environment, don’t worry. It isn’t as scary as it sounds, and we’ve written down all of the information you’ll need to master the virtual interview process and start your dream job. Here’s a 5-step how-to guide to acing the virtual interviews:
1. Practice makes perfect.
If possible, have a friend or family member conduct a mock interview with you via Zoom, FaceTime, Skype, or Google Hangout. If you can’t make that happen, record yourself speaking on camera and play it back for yourself. Make adjustments based on what you see. Technology changes how we speak, behave, and conduct ourselves, so incorporating it into your preparations is critical.
You want to be as natural and authentic on camera as you are off, so being aware of your instincts while on video helps tremendously. Practice little things like speaking clearly and loudly, staying calm and relaxed, and making eye contact with the person on-screen. How is your body language while on camera? You don’t want to come across like a robot, so make sure you’re still smiling, actively listening, and reacting authentically.
Virtual interviews are just as much about connecting with your interviewer as in-person ones are. Don’t memorize lines or cues, and do your best to go with the natural flow of conversation. Being comfortable and prepared will help you be yourself and move on to the next step of the interview process.
2. Test Your Technology.
Create a quiet, tidy, and well-lit workspace, where the interview can take place without interruption. Aim for a neutral, simple background without distractions. Once you know where you’ll be doing the interview, check that you have a strong, fast internet connection. Is your computer camera and microphone working well? If you plan to use headphones during the virtual interview, be sure that they are working well and fully charged. Make sure you know what video conferencing platform your interviewer wants to use in advance. You’ll want to set up an account and familiarize yourself with the user interface in advance.
3. Dress for Success.
This is not a time to keep your pajama bottoms on off-screen. First impressions are critical, even when they’re virtual, and you only get one shot, so put together an entire outfit. Always lean towards more formal professional attire. Even if the person conducting the interview is dressed more casually, your professional clothing will reinforce your interest in the job.
If you aren’t sure about a particular outfit, there’s a simple rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t wear it to an in-person interview, don’t wear it for a virtual interview.
4. Research, research, research.
Make sure you know everything you can about the role and the company. Have your questions about what the job entails ready to go, along with any broader, company-wide questions. Find out who will be conducting the interview and check out their LinkedIn profiles to get a sense of their responsibilities and expertise. Reread the job description, familiarize yourself with the company website, and keep up to date on company news and events. Demonstrate that you’re excited about the opportunity, and you’ve done your research.
Remember that the virtual interview is a chance to highlight and discuss some of the specific strengths that make you qualified for the position.
Within 24 hours of your interview, send a thank you email to your interviewer. Express your appreciation for their time and continued interest in the position.
Know that everyone, regardless of their time in the workforce, is adjusting to such a remote and digitally-driven professional landscape. Follow this guide, give yourself plenty of time to prepare, and be yourself during the virtual interview process. Trust us; you’ll ace it. All of your education and training has trained you for this moment in your professional career. You got this!
The team here at Ready Set You loves to see students and young professionals soar, and we’re here to help. If you want to talk more about your goals, qualifications, or job hunt, don’t hesitate to reach out.