While the job interview itself is critical to landing a job, whether remote or in-house, in today’s digital landscape, acing your virtual interview can be even more important.
Experienced at being in front of a camera, TV Anchorman Adrian Dearnall gives us several tips to stand out from the crowd when conducting remote interviews. First and foremost, the key to success is preparation. Just as you would prepare for an in-person interview, preparing in advance for your virtual interview can be the difference between success and failure; being hired for the position or hearing those dreaded words, “thank you but we have gone with another candidate.”
For hiring managers, the virtual interview allows them to narrow down their pool of candidates while reducing or eliminating travel expenses. After all, part of the appeal to companies is the cost-savings of hiring remote employees. They want to not only understand how you are the best candidate for the position through the interview process but more importantly, they want to know how you are the best REMOTE candidate for the position. Thus, the necessity and importance of acing your virtual interview.
Keys to preparing for a virtual interview
- Embrace technology. Technology is a key factor not only for the interview but in any remote job. A hiring manager will be looking for your ability to interact with them through video-conferencing as well as how tech-savvy you are to handle your daily responsibilities. Since there are a wide variety of video-conferencing systems now being used such as Zoom, Skype, and Microsoft Teams, be sure that you are familiar with the one the hiring manager will be using and even do a trial run beforehand to check the connectivity and that your devices such as a microphone and headphones are all functioning properly.
- Best first impressions. The virtual interview is your chance to make a great first impression. The hiring manager already saw something in you that they like from your resume, now is your opportunity to truly WOW them and help them to understand that you are the best remote candidate. The location that you select to conduct your interview will tell the interviewer a lot about you. For example, if you are interviewing from a cluttered, noisy space, the hiring manager will have a difficult time accepting that you are organized and that you can free yourself from distractions. Instead, select a quiet, location that is free from clutter, brightly lit, and comfortable. Test out your perfect spot before the interview and be sure to eliminate or reduce any distractions such as the television and be sure to silence your cell phone.
- Body language. Your body language and the non-verbal messages that we all send are just as important if not more so during a virtual interview as they are in-person. You cannot offer a firm handshake or exude enthusiasm but you can sit up straight, smile, and make eye contact. An interviewer wants to know that the signals that you are sending are in agreement with your words as well as how you represented yourself on your resume. If you have used words like “organized”, “focused”, and “attentive”, you should display these traits with your body language and actions as well. You want to have everything that you need at your fingertips (organized); to concentrate on the conversation rather than flipping through screens or clicking around (focused), and make eye contact by looking directly at the camera (attentive).
- Look your best. Just because you may be sitting in your home interviewing for a new job does not mean that you should be in your pajamas and slippers. You must dress the part, wearing the same professional attire that you would if you were meeting the hiring manager in person. According to Harvard Business School online, studies show that most people feel “authoritative, trustworthy, and competent when wearing formal business attire.”
- Be real. During a virtual interview, hiring managers want to know about the authentic you– your likes, interests, and even what you like to do outside of work. Along with the typical interview questions, they may inquire about your emotional intelligence and the soft skills that you possess such as communication and the ability to work independently. Be sure to think of your answers to the questions in advance and even practice your delivery beforehand. You may even want to consider having cue cards nearby to remind yourself of some of your practiced examples. Although you do not want to appear distracted, note cards may help you to gather your thoughts so that you can make the best impression with the hiring manager.
If you want to ace a virtual interview, the best advice that anyone can offer is to be your authentic self. Since it is certainly more difficult for an interviewer to understand your enthusiasm from behind a screen, it is all the more important that you prepare and practice in advance to ensure that you are authentic while sharing your best qualities and helping the hiring manager to understand how you are the best candidate for the position.