Virtual interviews are becoming a popular tool in the hiring world. During a virtual interview, the candidate and employer meet face-to-face via computer (technically speaking, webcam to webcam) rather than in person. This is a relatively new occurrence and if you’re not familiar with all aspects of technology, it easy to forget that your interviewer is gathering an impression of you based on the person they see on their screen, not necessarily what is happening on your end of the call.
Here are 10 simple technology tricks you can do to help you ace your next virtual interview:
On a subconscious level, a spotty wi-fi connection might make you seem unprofessional for reasons your interviewer can't quite put their finger on.
1. Check Your Internet Connection
Ensure you have good internet connectivity. Your interviewer needs to be able to see you and hear you. If you have a poor internet connection, your audio can be unclear and your picture can become frozen or distorted.
Even if your interviewer is forgiving of a few lags here and there, on a subconscious level a spotty wi-fi connection might make you seem unprofessional for reasons they can’t quite put their finger on.
It’s always best to test your connectivity on the virtual platform you are using before the interview to ensure it will work without disruption when it matters.
2. Know the Virtual Platform
If possible, download the video conferencing program you’ll be using ahead of your interview. This will allow you to easily navigate the call once you are in your interview. It will also allow you to create any usernames or passwords required to ensure you are not late for the interview on the day of.
Unlike in-person interviews, being a few minutes early is not a best practice. You will need to join the meeting right at the scheduled time of the interview. More often than not, there is no “waiting room” for you to hang out in while you are waiting for the hiring manager to start the meeting. Typically, those meeting room URLs are assigned to a user, so if you log in too early, you may be logging in to the tail end of someone else’s interview.
3. Check Your Surroundings
Even though you might be interviewing from home, it is important to conduct your interview in a professional setting. You will need to find a quiet place that is free from distraction and background noise.
Be aware of what the interviewer can see behind you. You do not want them to be distracted by unprofessional images or to make a premature hiring decision based on what they can see on their screen. If you sit against a blank wall in a well-lit area, 99.9% of the time, this will ensure the interviewer can be focused on you and what you bring to the table professionally.
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4. Camera Placement
You need to maintain good eye contact just as you would if you were interviewing in-person. Try to place your camera as close to eye-level as possible. The camera on your computer is the “eye” of your interviewer. In other words, direct eye contact means looking into your camera, not looking at the face of your interviewer on your screen.
Tip: To help better simulate a face-to-face conversion, move the video window as close to your actual webcam as possible. This way, when you’re looking at the interviewer, you’ll also be looking at the webcam.
5. Avoid Backlighting
Your light source matters. In order to help your interviewer see clearly, you’ll want to make sure you are lit from the front and not from a source behind (or under) you. If the light comes in from behind, it will cast a shadow over your face which looks awkward to the interviewer. In extreme cases, backlighting can make for an awesome IG post, but it’s not great for interviews.
If you are using the natural light from a window, make sure you are facing the window to prevent any glare on your camera. If you are supplementing your light source with a lamp, have it placed in front (and slightly above you) if you can as well. Make sure you test the lighting on a mock virtual call to make sure your interviewer can see you clearly, and you’re not cast in shadows or blown out.
6. Turn off Notifications
You need to be engaged in the interview. If notifications keep popping up, not only will they will be a visual distraction to you and the interviewer, but if you have the sound on, it can disrupt the flow of your conversation. It is important to turn all notifications off ahead of the interview.
7. Remain Engaged
Even though you are not meeting in person, the interviewer can still pick up on your body language and other visual cues to see if you are engaged in the interview. Sit still, have good eye contact, do not fidget, and smile! Engage in a two-way conversation and let your personality shine through; this shows you are serious about the interview.
8. Make Sure Your Camera is Clean and Free of Cracks
We use our phones, tablets, and other devices for everything these days. Devices can get dirty or damaged without us realizing it. Having an imperfection, crack or fingerprint smudge on our camera lens can be hard for you to see, but your interviewer will notice it immediately. Before your interview, use the device you will use for your call and take a video. (Even sharing a story on social media will get the job done). Play back your recording and double-check everything is crystal clear.
9. Check Your Microphone
Similar to the above, built-in mics aren’t always the best quality; sometimes they are set up to auto-level all incoming sounds to the same volume. You may want to do a few recordings to test your audio with a few different microphones to see which one will give you the best sound quality for your interview.
10. Take a Test Run
Set up a mock interview with a family member or friend to practice the tips listed above. This will allow you to make the necessary adjustments ahead of your interview and will allow you to troubleshoot any technical issues.
With virtual interviews becoming popular, it is important to understand technology and how to utilize it to enhance your interview experience. These 10 tips will help you ensure your technology will work properly on interview day!