With virtual job interviews being the current norm, it’s always a good idea to get more comfortable with this type of interview format. Follow these preparation tips and tricks to help make your next interview go smoother, so you can focus on presenting yourself to clients and prospective employers. 

The benefits of interviewing online 

Although it might sound awkward at first, a virtual interview has several advantages over an in-person meeting.  

For example, online interviews take place in the environment you choose while eliminating the stress of getting to an unfamiliar office.  These are also easily scheduled, taking less time out of your day, and allow for use of reference notes and talk tracks just out of camera view. 

Best practices for online interviews 

Even with these benefits, there are some guidelines to keep in mind.  

Before the interview 

  • Ask for logistics info in advance: Request information on the length of the interview, the people involved, the software you’ll need, and the technology backup plan (e.g., what happens if the video conference doesn’t work).  
  • Test the tech: Get familiar with the meeting software in advance and figure out which of your devices has the best sound/camera. Test everything with a friend a few days before the interview and then test it again an hour or so before the interview to be sure you’re ready. 
  • Practice your narrative: Get your intro pitch and work experiences streamlined and summarized. Then run through it a few times to get comfortable with the talk tracks.  
  • Set the stage: Choose a background that looks professional, experiment with lighting, position yourself so participants can see your face clearly, and do your best to make sure that outside interruptions are kept to a minimum. 
  • Dress the part: Even though a virtual interview might feel casual, it’s still a job interview. Dress appropriately as if you’re meeting in person, so you feel formal and polished.    

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During the interview 

  • Name any potential interruptions at the beginning of the interview: If you’re expecting a delivery and have a dog that barks, or if there is construction going on next door, bringing up these possibilities is a good way to warm up the conversation and spark connection.  
  • Keep things concise: Consider the length of the scheduled interview and offer a summary first. If the interviewers want to get more details on a topic, they can ask you to go in depth (or invite you to another interview where you can expand on your experiences.)  
  • Look the camera “in the eye”: It’s human nature to look at the screen—after all that’s where you can see the interviewers—and probably yourself. Instead, try to look at the camera so interviewers feel like you’re engaging with them. (If you’ve prepared reference notes for the interview, stick them right next to the camera so you don’t lose eye contact.) 

After the interview

Remember, after a virtual interview, all the standard courtesies are still in order.  Here are some follow up actions to consider:

  • Sending a thank you to the interviewers: Either email or written is fine, though email makes more sense if the timeline to hire is quick.  
  • Thanking anyone who referred you to the job: Let them know you had the interview and appreciate their help.  
  • Connecting with interviewers on LinkedIn: Though not required, it can be helpful to keep connections with people you’ve interviewed with, no matter the hiring decision. 

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