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How To Interview in A Virtual Environment

Employers are relying more and more on virtual interviews, especially if you’re being recruited from abroad. While conventional wisdom for in-person interviews still holds true, there are a few additional elements to consider when interviewing in a virtual environment. 

  • Test Your Technology.

    Just as in an in-person interview, first impressions count. You do not want to fiddle with your webcam when you are supposed to be impressing your future employer. To ensure a seamless interview, be sure to ask what technology you will be using for the interview, such as Google Meet, Skype, or Zoom.  Check that you understand how to use the program and that it works with your computer or laptop. Also, check your internet connection around the same time of day your interview will take place, and make sure your bandwidth is strong enough to support the call. A few minutes before the interview, quit any unnecessary programs, turn off notifications, and silence your cell phone. 

  • Cultivate a Professional Atmosphere.

    We’ve all seen videos of failed interviews where a roommate walks by in a ridiculous outfit, or a pet jumps onto the keyboard. Don’t let this happen to you! Find a place where you can have the interview, where you won’t have any distractions, and your backdrop will look neutral or professional. Or, consider using a virtual background if your computer supports this capability. Test the lighting at the time you will be having the interview and make adjustments as necessary. 

  • Dress Professionally.

    Even though you will likely be at home during a virtual interview, it’s still important to treat it with the same respect as if you were traveling to an office. If you’re not sure what the dress code is, assume you should be wearing business attire. 

  • Be Aware of Your Body Language.

    We often forget that if we look directly into the eyes of the image of someone on a video call, it actually looks like we aren’t making eye contact. Instead, remember to look into your webcam often to show your interviewer you are engaged in the conversation. When you aren’t talking, don’t give in to the temptation to let your attention wander. Instead, give non-verbal cues that you are listening - nod your head, smile, and maintain eye contact. 

  • Remember to Make A Connection.

    It can feel harder to make a connection over a voice or video call, but it’s important you strive to do so. Remember that your interviewer is likely going to interview many people for the position and will remember you better if you make a personal connection. People generally love to talk about themselves, so don’t be afraid to make a bit of small talk before jumping into the interview questions. 

  • Follow Up.

    Just like you would for an in-person interview, be sure to follow up with your interviewer within 24 hours, thanking them for the opportunity to meet and reiterating why you are a good fit for the position. If you were able to make a personal connection with the interviewer, find a way to reference it, so your interviewer remembers who you are.