7 Virtual Interview Dos and Don'ts
Best Practices for Your Next Remote Interview
It wasn’t long ago that we shared helpful tips for in-person job interviews; like what to pack in your bag, and mapping the interview location in advance. These days, it’s more likely you’ll be interviewing from the comfort of your own home. Yet for many people, the idea of a virtual interview is actually discomforting.
That’s why we created a new list of best practices for remote interviewing, so you’d have “virtually” nothing to worry about (sorry, we couldn’t resist). Follow these tips, and we promise your interview will go more smoothly than our bad pun.
Do a Dry Run
You might not be able to anticipate every question the interviewer will ask, but you can anticipate how your technology will work ahead of time. Doing a dry run is one of the best ways to alleviate virtual interview anxiety. Once you know what platform you’ll be using, such as WebEx, or Skype, set-up a mock call with a family member or friend, to ensure your microphone and camera are working properly. Though most have no cost to join, you will likely have to download a program in advance, a task you definitely don’t want to leave until three minutes before your interview.
This will also give you an opportunity to check your lighting as well as your camera positioning to make sure you won’t be sitting too close, too far away, or sharing a view of something you’d rather not share (like a pile of laundry in the corner). Which brings us to our next tip…
Don’t Use Creative Backgrounds
That digital background that looks like you’re being chased by a hungry t-rex? Hilarious. Just don’t use it for your job interview. Keep your background professional, to ensure nothing distracts from you and all your great qualifications. To that end, consider what will appear behind you at home and whether it could create an unwelcome distraction or might be considered offensive. Clean and simple are best. If it’s hard to find an uncluttered space at home, it’s okay to use a custom background, but the same rules apply.
Do Your Homework
While you might not have to appear in-person, you still need to do your homework. Check out the company’s website, and look up your interviewer on LinkedIn. Doing so will not only give you good background for the interview, it will also help you spot commonalities that can help forge a connection. Our 10 Tips for a Successful Job Interview has more ideas on how to prepare.
Don’t Wear Your Sweatpants
Just like you shouldn’t use that t-rex background, you should save the comfy pants for after your interview. Dress to impress, just the same as you would for an in-person interview. While friends might joke about looking professional on top, but wearing your loungewear of choice on the bottom, why risk accidentally giving away your secret should your camera or phone slip?
Better yet, wear your outfit when you do your dry run. That way, you’ll be able to catch and remedy anything awkward in advance, like a button that gapes when you sit, or a nude colored shirt that literally appears nude on camera.
Do Laugh Off a Malfunction
What if you’ve done everything to plan for the perfect virtual interview and yet something still goes wrong? It happens! Whether your dog decides to unleash an ill-timed bark-a-thon at your front door, or a family member accidentally interrupts, it doesn’t mean the whole interview is sunk. Fix whatever needs to be fixed, laugh it off, regain your composure, and keep going. Don’t panic if something was less than perfect. With families working, learning, and interviewing from home, we’re all in an imperfect situation. So, even if you’ve put Fido in the other room, but you know he might bark anyway, apologize in advance for the interruption. It’ll help break the ice and make it easier to laugh off if he does chime in.
Don’t Ignore What You Can’t See or Hear
Technical difficulties cut both ways, and it’s possible your interviewer may be the one who faces a glitch. It’s tempting to not say anything, but if you’re having trouble hearing or seeing your interviewer, or if their video froze, politely speak up. If you don’t let them know about the malfunction, you could inadvertently be creating an awkward situation. For example, what if you miss a question or social cue, and the interviewer was left to assume you simply ignored them?
Do Keep the Conversation Going
Similarly, consider missing context. If you’re looking down to take notes, but the camera doesn’t show your pen and notepad, don’t hesitate to say, “Just a moment, I’m taking notes,” to explain the silence and lack of eye contact. However, if you brought notes to the interview to jog your memory, be careful about how often you look down to reference them, so as not to appear distracted.
Now that you’ve brushed up on your virtual interview skills, why not put them to good use? Apply for one of our open positions!
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