Person with laptop during virtual job interview

Posted & filed under In the Know

While it may be some time before we’re all back to “business as usual”, hiring needs and job opportunities are still popping up. Here at South Shore Staffing, we’re always looking for new job seekers and we, along with our clients (and companies all around the world), are focusing on taking the safest approach to interviewing and hiring during these challenging times. 

By now you’re most likely more than familiar with Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, etc. Maybe you’re using them to keep in touch with friends and family or maybe you scored your first virtual interview for a new job opportunity. Before you sign in and turn on your camera, check out these six virtual interview tips to help you ace that interview from behind your computer screen. 

  1. Consider your location

A good virtual interview location will minimize distractions and allow you to present yourself as professionally as possible. 

  • Background: Make sure it’s “quiet” so the focus is on you, not what’s behind you or what’s going on around you. Stay away from bright windows, you may get washed out by sunlight. Find a room with minimal distractions and avoid sitting in front of busy areas like a shelf of family photos. 
  • Sound: Find the quietest spot you can. A full house is par for the course these days but you don’t want family background noise to be the defining characteristic of your interview. Also, consider shutting the shades or put Fido outside while you’re on the call. A barking dog is extremely distracting! Maybe even wear earbuds or an external microphone if you know your home can get a bit noisy.
  • Seating: Even if your bed, or the floor of your closet, is the quietest spot in the house, try to avoid conducting an interview from those areas. Instead, sit on a firm chair with your feet on the floor and look straight ahead at the camera. Good posture projects a sense of confidence and poise, and first impressions are KEY! 
  1. Test your tech

Spend some time ensuring your connection and technology is working properly. Maybe ask a friend to help with a mock interview. 

  • Can they hear you? Do you need to speak louder? Softer? Enunciate better?
  • How is the lighting in your room? 
  • What do they think of your location/background?
  • Also, remember to plug in your laptop so you don’t have to worry about losing power midway through your interview.
  1. Dress for success

We’re all living in sweatpants these days but first impressions ALWAYS matter. You don’t need to dust off a full suit for your virtual interview but you do need to put effort into presenting yourself as professionally as possible. There may be lots of jokes out there about business attire on top and pajamas or sweatpants on the bottom half for virtual calls, but we recommend you get dressed from head to toe to avoid any accidental embarrassment. It also will help you get into your best professional mindset by looking and feeling the part. 

  1. Prepare! 

The format of a virtual interview will run just like any other job interview. You’ll discuss the job opportunity, the company, your work experience and how everything fits together. Brush up on common interview questions, know your work history, research the company you’re interviewing with, and be sure to have a few of your own questions for the interviewer. 

Virtual interviews can feel a little awkward so prepare fully to present the best version of yourself!

  1. Body language matters

Remember that you are on camera at all times. Speak directly and clearly to your interviewer, maintain good eye contact, do not get too close to the screen or lean far back in your chair, and smile or nod when appropriate. Try not to fidget, rock in your seat, wave your hands, or turn away from the camera. Show your personality but keep it professional.

And leave your cell phone in another room! Constantly looking down when your screen lights up or forgetting to put the phone on silent as notifications start pinging away is a HUGE interviewing faux paus (virtually or not!). 

  1. Follow up

After your interview, send a thank you email to your interviewer, reiterating any key points you made in your call, clarifying anything you may need to and expressing further interest in the position. Be sure to indicate clearly the best ways to reach you for next steps in the process.

Remember, we are all in this together. It may be your first virtual interview but it may also be the hiring manager’s first time interviewing someone virtually. Stay calm, be fully prepared and go with the flow. We’ll all get back to normal eventually!

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