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How To Ace Your Virtual Interview: 8 Tips You Need To Know

Written by: Anita Avedian, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

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Got a virtual interview coming up? Wondering how to stand out? Virtual interviews have become increasingly common in today's job market, offering both employers and candidates the convenience of conducting interviews from anywhere in the world. But navigating this digital landscape requires a unique set of skills and strategies. In this article, we'll uncover 8 insights to help you master your virtual interview and increase your chances of landing your dream job.

Man with a cup of coffee having a virtual interview

What is a virtual interview?

A virtual interview is like a regular job interview, but it happens online. Instead of meeting in person, you talk to the interviewer through video calls on your computer or phone. It's handy when you can't meet face-to-face, like during a pandemic or if you live far away.

During a virtual interview, you still introduce yourself, answer questions, and talk about the job. But you need to make sure your internet works well and find a quiet spot without distractions. Virtual interviews save time and money for both the company and you because you don't have to travel. They're convenient but need good preparation, just like regular interviews, to make a good impression and increase your chances of getting the job. Remember preparing for a virtual interview may be different, however it is still designed for you to articulate, and showcase your skills in an engaging way.

What to wear for a virtual interview

Although you are having a virtual interview, your dress attire and appearance matter significantly. Wear business-appropriate clothing, such as a dress shirt, blouse, or blazer. Solid colors or subtle patterns are best, as they look professional and are less distracting on camera. Even though only your upper body might be visible, wearing dress pants or a skirt can help you feel more prepared and professional.

Grooming is also essential. Ensure your hair is neat and styled appropriately, and if you have facial hair, trim it neatly. Light makeup can help enhance your features and ensure you look polished on camera. Clean, well-groomed nails and minimal jewelry are also recommended to avoid distractions.

Your posture plays a crucial role in how you are perceived. Sit up straight to convey confidence and attentiveness, and position your camera at eye level to make maintaining eye contact easier. Smiling genuinely throughout the interview can create a positive impression and show enthusiasm for the role. In summary, dressing professionally, grooming well, and maintaining good posture can help you create a strong, positive impression during your virtual interview.

How to ace a virtual interview

1. Prepare the right equipment

A virtual interview requires equipment such as a computer, tablet, or smartphone. Set up and test computer technology to ensure it works properly and have a clear and working camera and microphone.

2. Prepare the right software

Make sure you have the right computer equipment, and software programs prior to the interview. Download software application programs (such as Zoom or Google Hangouts etc.) prior to the interview and practice logging on at least a day before your virtual interview. Turn on the sound and video to ensure everything is in working order

3. Confirm strong internet connection

Before your interview at least a day in advance and again 30 minutes before the interview and check internet access and connection. You want to ensure you have the right bandwidth to stream video. Once your connection is made, sign into the video meeting using the link provided by the company or interviewer. Technical challenges can occur so prepare for the worse and try to troubleshoot prior to the interview. Technology does not always work, so have backup options. If this is possible and feasible for you, have a smartphone or tablet that you can use as a backup plan if your computer is not working. Many apps can be used interchangeably from one device to another.

4. Have a clutter free workspace

Clutter can distract from your interview. Have a clean background. Not everyone has an office space in their home however, it is important to have a clean and tidy background if visible on camera because interviewers will be watching and observing. Zoom also has a setting in which you can choose a picture as a background. Choose a solid color and a neutral back.

5. A space with limited distractions

Choose a space that limits distractions with good lighting. Select a quiet space in your home that reduces distractions. Prepare and adjust your space prior to the interview to accommodate family, pets, children, etc. Pets should be housed in a different room and interviews should be scheduled around children's nap schedule, if possible.

6. Dress professionally

As previously stated, although you are having a virtual interview, your dress attire and appearance matters and professional posture. Wear professional attire, groom your hair and face, and make sure to sit up straight. Make sure to smile and make eye contact.

7. Do research

Before heading into an interview, take the time to thoroughly research. Knowledge is power in an interview, as it demonstrates your genuine interest and prepares you to ask insightful questions.

8. Stay engaged and authentic

Stay engaged by using confident speech and facial expression to show interest in the topic. Also, choose a space that you feel most comfortable in. Prepare questions for the end interview and follow-up after the Interview within 24 hours to say thank you for their interview.

69% of employers use video interviews

Did you know that after the pandemic, nearly 70% of employers use video interviews? This shift in hiring practices has become a dominant trend in the job market, emphasizing the importance of adapting to virtual interactions. For job seekers, being prepared for video interviews is essential as it allows them to showcase their skills and professionalism in a digital environment, increasing their chances of success in landing a job. On the other hand, for employers, embracing video interviews ensures a streamlined hiring process, enabling them to efficiently evaluate candidates from anywhere in the world. Adapting to this new norm not only facilitates smoother hiring procedures but also reflects a candidate's ability to navigate and excel in today's increasingly digital work landscape.

Frequently asked questions

Is a virtual interview a video call?

A virtual interview typically refers to a video call conducted over the internet using platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Skype. In some cases, it can also include phone interviews or interviews conducted via other online communication tools. The key aspect is that the interview is not conducted in person but through digital means.

Are virtual interviews harder?

Whether virtual interviews are harder depends on the individual. Some find them easier due to the convenience of being in a familiar environment, while others struggle with the lack of physical presence and potential technical issues. Virtual interviews can be challenging due to difficulties in reading body language, potential distractions at home, and the need to be tech-savvy.

How can I impress in a virtual interview?

To impress in a virtual interview, ensure you have a professional setup: a quiet, well-lit space with a neutral background. Dress appropriately as you would for an in-person interview. Test your technology beforehand to avoid technical glitches. Maintain good eye contact by looking at the camera, not the screen. Be concise and articulate in your responses, and show enthusiasm for the role and company. Having a few well-thought-out questions ready for the interviewer can also leave a positive impression.

Is it okay to have notes during a virtual interview?

It is okay to have notes during a virtual interview, but use them sparingly. Having key points or questions jotted down can help you stay focused and ensure you cover important topics. However, avoid reading from them directly, as this can come off as unprepared or disengaged. Instead, glance at them occasionally to jog your memory.

What is the hardest part of a virtual interview?

The hardest part of a virtual interview can be the lack of physical interaction. This makes it more difficult to build rapport and read the interviewer's body language and cues. Technical issues, such as connectivity problems or audio/visual glitches, can also be challenging. Additionally, managing distractions in your home environment can add to the difficulty.

How do you know if a virtual interview went well?

Signs that a virtual interview went well include the interview lasting longer than scheduled, the interviewer showing genuine interest and engagement, and positive body language and feedback. If the conversation flows smoothly and the interviewer provides detailed information about the next steps or the company culture, it's a good sign. Follow-up emails expressing interest or invitations for subsequent interviews are also positive indicators.

Is it better to interview in-person or virtually?

Whether it's better to interview in-person or virtually depends on various factors, such as the nature of the job, the company’s culture, and personal preference. In-person interviews allow for better interpersonal connection and the ability to observe the workplace environment. Virtual interviews, on the other hand, offer convenience and can be less stressful for some candidates. Ultimately, both methods have their advantages and can be effective in different situations.

What are the disadvantages of virtual interviews?

The main disadvantages of virtual interviews include technical issues, such as poor internet connectivity or software malfunctions, which can disrupt the flow of the conversation. There's also a lack of physical presence, which can make it harder to build rapport and assess non-verbal cues. Candidates might also face challenges in creating a professional interview environment at home. Additionally, virtual interviews can sometimes feel less personal and more formal than in-person interactions.

These tips will relieve your stress and assist you with preparing for a virtual interview. Happy Interviewing!

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Anita Avedian, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Anita Avedian is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (License MFC 38403) and has been practicing psychotherapy since 1996. She is the Executive Director of Avedian Counseling Center and has offices in Sherman Oaks, Glendale, Woodland Hills, and Pasadena. Her specialties include working with relationships, anger, social anxiety, general anxiety, and addictions. She also has been certified in Thought Field Therapy (TFT) and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), both of which she integrates into her practice.

Outside of therapy, Anita offers a monthly anger management certification program to counselors. Anger Management Essentials is an approved National Anger Management Association (NAMA) model, which is used for anger management certification. Moreover, Anita is an Authorized NAMA Trainer and Anger Management Supervisor for certifying anger management specialists. She authored Anger Management Essentials, a workbook for aggression, which has been translated into Spanish, Armenian, and Hebrew, as well as the teen’s workbook which has been translated into Spanish. Anita is the co-Founder of ShrinkSync, the app for therapists; the California Chapter of the NAMA, which is the California Chapter of Anger Management Providers; and the Founder of Toastmasters for Mental Health Professionals.



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