Next week, you have a virtual interview for a job you really want.
Candidly, you’re kind of glad to be skipping the in-person interview and the worries that go with it — like if your hands will be clammy for that first handshake or if your breath is Tic Tac fresh.
At the same time, you want to be sure you bring your A-game to the virtual interview and do everything you can to increase your chances of being hired.
To get your video interview skills ready to go, consider the following words of advice:
1. Show Up On Time
Of course, one of the easiest ways to get any interview off to a great start is by the simple act of being there on time. Now, you don’t need to log in 15 minutes early, but make sure to enter the video chat at least a minute before the start time. To ensure everything goes smoothly, make sure that well ahead of time you have the correct software and that your camera is up and running. You may even want to do a test drive with a close friend to be sure the audio and video are working and any glitches are worked out.
2. Dress for Success
When choosing what to wear for your virtual interview, go with an outfit that you would otherwise wear to an in-person meeting. For instance, women can pair a stylish bodysuit with a blazer and some jewelry for a sophisticated and professional look, while guys can’t go wrong with a button-up shirt and tie. While you might be tempted to wear yoga pants or your favorite well-worn sweats on your bottom half, for safety’s sake, go full-body professional. This way, if the camera is picking up more of you than you realize, your potential new boss won’t see your ultra-casual wear.
3. Have Your Key Message Ready
As people who have been doing virtual meetings for the last year know quite well, Zoom fatigue is a real thing. In that vein, make it easy for those interviewing you by letting them know your key message at least twice during the virtual appointment. When appropriate, you can say things like “One thing I’d really like you to know about me is…” or “One of my key skills is…” Explaining in simple, clear language what separates you from the rest of the pack will help you stand out — and, most importantly, your online-weary audience will also appreciate your ability to be succinct and focused.
4. Make Your Background Neat and Clean
The people interviewing you will not only be looking at you during the virtual interview, but they will also check out what’s in the background. Thus, well ahead of your interview, take an honest look at your office or living space. If you know the webcam will showcase a plain white wall, consider adding a bookcase with a stack of books, a plant and a few family photos.
Similarly, if you plan to hold your interview at a cluttered desk or table that belongs to your spouse, ask him or her to clean it up or remove it entirely and replace it with a bookcase or perhaps a beautiful painting. Use a virtual background as a last resort, as they can be rather distracting and distort the way you look on screen. Plus, the people interviewing you may wonder what you’re hiding.
Good Luck — You’ll Do Great!
It’s no secret virtual interviews are wildly different than traditional ones, but there are certain things that remain the same no matter the setting. From being punctual and looking your best to talking about what sets you apart from the competition and paying close attention to your virtual background, you’ll be well prepared for your interview and hopefully starting your new job in the near future.