It’s true: We’ve all got mixed feellngs about the recent shift to this hyper virtual world. Depending on how you slice it, there’s good, bad, and straight up weird.
If you ask us, one positive outcome of an online job market is the ability for companies and job seekers to keep the hiring process moving through video interviews. However, just as with any in-person interview, there are a few things you should do to prepare.
Here are 3 quick tips to come across as the professional, polished, and personable superstar you are, even via webcam.
Take the interview in a quiet space without distractions
Quarantining with your OG roommates, AKA mom and dad? Totally get it. In times of panic and uncertainty, there’s no safer place than your parents’ digs.
What’s not cute is being on a video interview or conference call when your dad walks up to you in flannel pajama pants to ask if you’d like more coffee. (Of course I want more coffee dad, but I’m in a meeting.)
If you’ve been working from home, you likely already have a dedicated desk/work area. If not, make one for your video job interview. Somewhere quiet, out of the way, free from clutter and possible distractions or interruptions.
If you’re limited with options, the kitchen table is fine, as long as you ask the parents or roommates before, “Please, please, please don’t walk through the kitchen for the next 45 minutes.”
Using headphones for audio is also a great way to shield yourself, and your interviewees, from some of the background noise. If you’ve got a doggo at home who always seems to find the squeaky toy right when you hop on a call, make their day (and keep them quiet) with a peanut butter-filled KONG right before your interview begins.
Check your tech
This one cannot be skipped. If you cancel an interview last-minute due to a spotty internet connection, or join and get kicked off because your computer dies, it’s going to reflect poorly on you.
We know, we know — it’s legitimately not your fault. Darn tech!
But here’s the thing: You should be testing all of these details well in advance of the interview, and prepare for any issues that arise. Otherwise employers may see you as unprepared, and unprofessional. Yikes.
Here’s a tech checklist you can run through prior to an online interview:
- 72 hours before the interview: Download whatever platform the company plans to use for the virtual interview. They haven’t told you yet? Shoot them a quick email saying like, “Hi [Company Point of Contact], I’m looking forward to our upcoming interview! I didn’t see a video link in the email or calendar invite. Which platform do you all use?” They’ll appreciate that you are proactive, and that you pay attention to detail. Plus, you’ll serve your original purpose of finding out what software they use so you can download on your computer and test to make sure it works.
- 48 hours before the interview: Test your computer’s webcam and audio to make sure they’re working properly.
- 3 hours before the interview: Log into the video platform you’ll be using and run a test with yourself to make sure your internet connection is sound and stable.
- 30 minutes before the interview: Crunch time. Go ahead and get settled! Make sure your computer is set up, plugged into the charger, and close any web browsers and apps that aren’t absolutely necessary.
Business on top, whatever you want on the bottom as long as you're being professional
When it comes to actually taking the interview, just as with an in-person interview, how you present yourself is how you make or break yourself.
You’ve already got your dedicated space to take the interview, you’ve got a checklist to make sure your tech runs smoothly, so let’s get you squared a way to know the employer’s socks off. (Well, let’s be honest...it’s a video interview, so they’re probably wearing slippers.)
- Would you do your hair and put on a nice shirt for an in-person interview? Great! Do that for your virtual one, too. You wanna wear pajamas from the waist down? Knock yourself out.
- Grab a pen + paper for notes and questions, along with a fresh copy of your resume, and have them handy throughout the interview.
- Maintain eye contact. Wait, what? Yes, this is a little weird. It’s easy for your eyes to wander when you’re not actually talking to a person in the flesh. Maintain “eye contact” by looking straight into the camera instead of your computer screen.
- Keep good posture, and use hand gestures when appropriate. You want to make it clear you’re fully engaged in this semi-cyborg conversation. Also make sure you’re speaking clearly and confidently.
- Place your phone in silent mode. Enough said for this one.
Remember - just because this is a video interview doesn’t mean it’s not a great opportunity for you to shine. Think about how to put your best foot forward to show up as confidently as you can. You’ll want to make your interviewer feel like they know you and connect with you - and they can’t wait to meet you in-person soon.
Want to take a bite out of more career advice? Here’s another great post from our team on the power of personal statements for your Biteline profile.