The popularity of virtual job interviews has increased significantly since the beginning of the Covid pandemic in 2019. A 2021 Indeed survey found that 82% of their respondents have implemented and continue to utilize virtual interviews over in-person ones since that time.
According to Forbes, the average number of people who apply for a job is around 118, and only 20% of applicants receive an interview, so it is essential to perfect your interviewing skills to ensure you have the best outcomes once you land an interview.
Enhancing your virtual interview skills must go beyond simply having a quiet space and ensuring your microphone is on if you want to make a lasting impression. This article will provide ten essential tips to help you conquer your next virtual interview and land the job you have been working hard to achieve.
10 Ways to Ensure You Stand Out in Your Next Virtual Interview
1. Prepare like you would an in-person interview.
You must take steps to prepare for any job interview, whether in person or virtual.
Start the preparation process by researching the company you are seeking employment with. Learn their mission statement, as well as their values, to ensure they align with your own. You can apply this knowledge throughout the interview to make yourself a fantastic candidate. In addition, thoroughly read the job descriptions and qualifications and brainstorm ideas for how you will tie in your experience to demonstrate you are well qualified.
Research common interview questions, especially if there are ones specific to your industry, and prepare your answers beforehand.
Compile a list of questions you would like to ask your potential employer at the end of the interview. Specific questions about the position, workplace culture, and management styles are a great option to ensure the job will be a good fit for you. It can also showcase your knowledge about the company and position.
Finally, compile notes throughout the preparation process. Notes will remind you of key points you wish to touch on. However, ensure you never read directly from your notes throughout the interview process, as it will make you seem unprepared.
2. Wear professional attire
Part of the initial research into the company's culture is determining how employees dress daily. If it is a more traditional company or you are unsure, aim for a button-up shirt with a suit and tie or a nice blouse. When in doubt, never dress below business casual. However, if the company is more relaxed, seek an outfit that matches the company's culture.
Neutral colors such as black, olive, tan, or blue are excellent options on a computer screen. Otherwise, make sure you look clean, well-put-together, and professional.
Though your interviewer will likely not see your bottom half, we highly recommend you wear pants anyways.
3. Do a complete setup and test run.
There are three steps to ensure your space is ready for a successful video interview.
Check your technology.
Ensure your computer is fully charged, your internet connection is running well, and your microphone and camera are functioning correctly.
Check your background.
Ensure you have a neutral background free from clutter. A plain wall rather than an open room works best. Ensure a natural light source or lamp is facing you so your face is lit up and easy to see. Also, make sure there are no glares that will reflect on the camera and distort your image.
Check your positioning.
Ensure the frame is visually appealing and you are at the correct distance from your device. You want to be seen from about mid-waist up. It is best to use a larger device. However, if you are using a phone, do not hold it in your hand. Instead, prop it up so you aren't making your interviewer nauseated if you can't keep the phone perfectly still.
4. Check how you sound.
Checking how you sound is more than just making sure your microphone is working during your video call. Ensure there are no echoes in the room where you will have your virtual interview, practice your pitch to make sure your voice will sound good and know how loud you must speak to ensure your interviewers can hear you.
Also, make sure you sound natural. Sounding natural means you are an authentic representation of yourself and not speaking in a certain way to impress your interviewers.
5. Focus on body language.
Body language is essential, especially during a virtual interview. There are four key components to ensure you make a good impression.
- Practice eye contact. Make sure you look at the interviewers, which means you are looking directly at the camera, and not at yourself. If you have difficulty avoiding staring at your frame, hide it so it's not distracting you.
- Have good posture. Keep your shoulders back and sit straight. Do not rest your head on your hands, and avoid touching your face altogether.
- Smile often and be aware of your facial expressions throughout the interview process.
- Don't fidget. Hand gestures are very distracting, especially on camera, so try to keep them at a minimum.
6. Prepare a "digital handshake."
The term "digital handshake" comes from two businesses or professionals building trust through digital channels. This process is usually done through social media.
Much like two companies building trust, you want to grow confidence and a relationship with your interviewer without getting to shake hands with them. It is essential to find a way to make a connection with your interviewer. Some key ways to do this are to be enthusiastic when you introduce yourself, share a small amount of small talk and find a common interest, smile, and give a brief wave as you say hello.
7. Limit distractions and try to ensure there are little to no interruptions.
You want to give your interviewer your undivided attention throughout your virtual interview. Ensure your notifications are turned off on all your devices, so no dings are going off and distracting you.
The best interview space is a quiet room at your home or in a private office. If you have children, family members, roommates, or coworkers nearby where you will be, give them a heads up so they know what time you need some privacy. If you do not have a space that will work at home, you can even rent private rooms within a library for free. Libraries have a reliable internet connection and can provide a quiet space with little background noise.
Sometimes interruptions are inevitable. If one happens, stay calm and work through it. For example, if your child comes into the room, rather than yelling at them to leave, have them wave at the camera, say hi, and then calmly walk them out. The interviewer will be paying attention to how you handle a stressful situation, and an overreaction might turn them off to the idea of you joining their team.
8. Be early.
Much like an in-person interview, it is always a good idea to be on time. Even if you have tested your technology and set up your virtual interview space, log in before the interview starts to ensure there are no technical issues. Once you have determined things are working correctly, you can log out until right before your interview time or hang out until your interviewer logs on.
9. Be engaged.
Being engaged is a two-part process throughout your virtual interview. You want to ensure that you appear engaged throughout the interview and that you will be an engaged employee if they hire you.
Being engaged during virtual interviews
- To appear engaged while on a video call, pay attention to what your interviewers are saying and not just about how you will answer before you have heard the whole question.
- Lean forward slightly, make eye contact while your interviewer is talking, and do not interrupt.
- Ask clarifying questions if you are still determining exactly what your interviewer is asking rather than trying to guess.
- If you have to pause to gather your thoughts or because of a distraction, it's ok, but explain why so your interviewers are not questioning if you have an internet lag.
- When you answer questions, it is essential to not just focus on what you think the correct answer will be. Focus on being your authentic self and applying your past experiences in ways that will help to solve a problem and help your company be successful.
Demonstrate you will be an engaged employee
Employee engagement is hugely important to companies and employers. They spend an incredible amount of time, money, and resources keeping their employees engaged, so hiring someone who already is can set you apart from other applicants.
- Highlight experiences where you have gone above and beyond for a current or past employer.
- Find examples of how you would go above and beyond to help their business be successful.
- Understand how your role will contribute to the company and give specific examples of how you can help the role be more successful than someone else can.
10. Follow up
Following up after any interview is essential and critical after a virtual interview. Make sure you have each interviewer's contact and write them a thank you within 24 hours. A thank you email should loosely follow the following format:
- Address the interviewer by name, and thank them for their time with you and the opportunity to interview for their company.
- Reiterate your interest in their company and mention the job title by name.
- If you could not ask during the interview, you can then ask about the next steps in the interview process and what to expect moving forward.
- Offer to supply any additional information or answer more questions if necessary.
- Close the email with a professional sign-off, then proofread your email for any grammatical errors.
If you are still waiting to hear back within the timeframe they have given you, follow up with an additional email after that timeframe has passed to demonstrate you are still interested and request an update.
Get your dream job today!
Making a good impression through virtual interviews is a new challenge for job seekers. Enhancing your video interview skills is essential to ensure you take advantage of opportunities to grow your career. Below is the condensed list that will ensure your success:
- Prepare for your virtual interview just like you would for any job interview.
- Make sure you look and act professionally and research the job and company so you know them well.
- Exhibit body language that demonstrates you are engaged.
- Test your environment and technology early to resolve any technical issues quickly.
- If you have a hiccup like being interrupted, take a deep breath, and move on.
- ALWAYS follow up to show your appreciation for any interest.
With the increase of remote job opportunities, you may find yourself searching for jobs you can do from the comfort of your home. Although the interview process may be similar to a traditional one, it’s important to recognize the differences we’ve discussed in this article. Preparation is key when it comes to interviewing for a virtual job. Taking the time to prepare will pay off in the end. If you don’t know where to start your job search, Talentcrowd can help you discover and land the virtual job of your dreams.