How do you make a good first impression when you can’t shake hands? What if you have a patchy internet connection? Will the interviewer notice if you use notes? These are just a few of the questions that you might be asking before your next virtual job interview.
In this article, we’ll help answer some of your questions and help you pass your virtual interview with flying colours. Read on for all the insider tips on how to prepare for a video interview!
Look at the camera during your video interview
One of the most obvious differences between virtual job interviews and in-person ones is the fact that your interviewer will be looking at you through a screen. This means that showing confidence and establishing a strong connection with your interviewer might be more difficult.
It’s natural to want to look directly at the interviewer’s face during an interview. However, when your interview is on Zoom, MS Teams or some other digital platform, looking at the interviewer’s face means looking down at the middle or bottom of your computer screen. From the interviewer’s perspective, you’d be looking away from them! This could make you come across as underconfident or even uninterested.
The best way to make “eye contact” virtually is to look directly into the camera on the top of your laptop. For you, it will feel a little strange, but for the interviewer, it’s the best way to impress. Don’t worry, it’s okay to look away once in a while so that you can properly see what’s happening on your screen.
Remember to pair this with positive body language. If you’re slouching or leaning over a table, this could create a negative impression on your interviewer. Always aim to sit upright in a chair with your image centred on the screen, just as if you were in a regular job interview!
Dress professionally for your virtual job interview
Another part of making a good impression on your interviewer is how you dress. You might think it’s ok to wear an old t-shirt and a baseball cap because it’s not an in-person interview, but this would come across as very unprofessional.
Dress exactly as you would if this was a regular job interview. We recommend wearing a shirt, blouse, suit jacket, or professional dress. This shows your potential employer that you will take the job seriously, even if you’re working from home with little supervision.
Use sticky notes in your remote job interview
One big advantage to interviewing remotely is that you can use visual aids without your interviewer noticing! Use sticky notes to remind yourself of key points to talk about or prepared answers that you want to give for common questions.
You can post these on the edge of your laptop screen so that you’re not noticeably looking down at notes throughout your interview. These notes should be used to quickly jog your memory, so don’t write whole paragraphs of text down because your interviewer will know that you’re giving them canned responses. Short bullet points will work best!
Prepare all tech before your virtual interview
When your interview relies heavily on your computer and other gadgets working properly, you’ll want to make sure that your tech works and is ready to go. Don’t start up your computer five minutes before your interview starts – you might get caught with a mandatory system update at the wrong moment.
Whether it’s Zoom, Teams or Google Meet, test your account the night before. Make sure your computer is updated and fully charged. Ensure you have a headset if you expect there to be background noise. Check your internet connection and modem are running smoothly. Test your webcam or laptop camera to make sure it’s fully functional.
By doing this the night before, you prepare yourself to deal with any unexpected issues that might pop up. If any problems arise during the interview itself, do your best to deal with them in the moment and if necessary, explain to the interviewer that you’re having some technical issues. Recruiters and interviewers spend several hours a day in online meetings, so they’ll be understanding!
Consider sharing screens during your video interview
Virtual interviews are a great opportunity to show off your digital skills. If appropriate, consider prepping something that you can show your interviewers visually.
Are you a graphic designer? Share screens and show them your latest project or some samples from your portfolio. Are you an executive administrative assistant? Share screens and show them how you organize your Outlook calendar.
A visual demonstration of what you can do will stand out in a job interview. Sharing your screen also shows a high level of confidence, transparency and digital competence – qualities that interviewers value and are actively on the lookout for.
Set up your background and lighting before your virtual job interview
What the interviewer sees on the screen is a reflection of you as a potential employee. If they can see a pile of laundry behind you or if the room is too dark to see your face, it will likely have a negative effect on their opinion of you as a candidate.
Think about how you’ll be seen on the screen and set up your background and lighting so that you present yourself as professionally as possible. A light-coloured wall and regular room lighting usually work best.
If you think lighting or an appropriate background might be a problem, consider using a digital background during your virtual job interview. Download a free background that’s compatible with your video platform and the space behind you will appear blurry, as a landscape or a virtual room, depending on what you choose. This is a common practice in professional video calls, so your interviewer won’t mind!
The bottom line on remote job interviews
Virtual job interviews are a relatively new phenomenon, but if you follow the tips we’ve given you in this blog post, you’ll have a greater chance of success. The key points to remember are: check your technology, behave and look professional and be confident. Good luck with your interview, the whole Adecco Canada team is rooting for you!