Best Practices for Online Virtual Interviews
A virtual job interview is similar to an in-person job interview in that candidates who prepare, present themselves as engaged and informed while focusing on having positive professional social interactions are usually more successful. Here are a few best practices for online interviews:
Use the Right Equipment Properly: Virtual environments have their own challenges. Here are some tips for selecting and using network connected devices for interviews:
- Exit other applications that play audio and video during the interview as they could interfere and cause distractions.
- If possible, sign into the online conferencing platform the day before the interview to ensure your device meets systems requirements.
- If possible, sign onto the online conferencing platform at least 15 minutes early the day of the interview fair to take needed steps to access the interview.
- Make sure your network and network connected device meet the necessary requirements (camera, microphone, connection functions).
- Ensure you are in a well-lit space (avoid background light) quiet space to ensure your video is clear and uninterrupted.
- Make sure you have a strong network connection. Networks work best when you are close to the WIFI access point or hard-wired to the modem (The goal is to minimize opportunities with internet interruption).
Introduce Yourself, Smile, Speak Clearly and Give your Full Attention: In many ways, a job interview is a test of your social skills as well as your ability to share your knowledge base. Most employers respond well to friendly professional conversation. If you haven't done much ice breaking before, practice in advance with a career counselor or friend.
- Introduction: Introduce yourself, offer a smile and, if you have not done so, share your resume.
- Objective: Tell the employer why you are there, what you can offer their company and what sort of employment you’re looking for.
- Summary: Briefly summarize your education, experience, strengths, etc. Remember, the employers is interested in serving their company with your skills.
- Listen: Listen to what the employer has to say about their company, the position and ask thoughtful questions.
- Give your full attention: It’s easy to become distracted or tempted to multitask during an online interview. However, if your attention is split between other applications, games or outside distractions, the employer or resource contact may notice and feel you are uninterested in the opportunities they are offering or that you will also be unfocused at work.
- Closing: Reiterate your interest and thank the employer.
Dress Appropriately: Although virtual interviews differ from in-person interviews in that participants have limited visual access to one another, in most cases, it’s still important to dress appropriate for the job so that you have a professional presentation on screen. When in doubt, overdress.
Ask Intelligent Questions: If you've studied up on the organizations, you'll probably have some questions you'd like to ask. Not only will you get some answers, but you'll also show yourself to be someone who does his research.
Ask one or two meaningful questions without monopolizing the employer’s time. However, questions on salary should be reserved for later.
Focus on What You Can Offer: Remember, an employer is interested in finding skills to solve problems. You are an investment. You'll be a refreshing change to most company representatives if you tell them what you can do for them and their organizations instead of asking what they can do for you.
Leave Your Resume and Share Contact Information with Each Representative: Make sure that a potential employer or organization has access to your resume collect their contact information so that you can follow-up following the resources fair or interview.
After the Interview
Take Notes: Following your interview, jot down notes about conversations you had with company representatives. If you wait too long, the conversation will become less clear in your memory and you'll forget what was said. It’s best to write down your thoughts on the interview as soon as possible.
Follow Up on Promises: If, for example, a company representative expressed interest in looking at your Web site, make sure to email the URL like you said you would.
Send Thank-You Notes: Write or email each of the people you met and thank them for their time. Reiterate your interest in their company or their services and your relevant skills and experience. Most job seekers fail to take this simple step, often losing out in the end to those who did express their thanks. Your small investment of time and effort -- before, during and after -- might very well turn into an opportunity you wouldn't have otherwise had.