How to knock your virtual interview out of the park
With virtual interviews becoming the norm, it’s essential that job hunters understand the nuances of virtual interviewing and how to prepare for success. Much of what is useful to know about in-person interviewing is still useful, but virtual interviewing does come with its own set of dos and don’ts. Check out these practical tips and tools that anyone can use to successfully navigate a virtual interview.
First, prepare using in-person interview standards
- Research the job and company. Just as you should while preparing for an in-person interview, you need to begin by researching the job and the company you’re applying with. The more research you do on the job and the company, the easier it is to connect your experience and skills in a meaningful way that resonates with the employer.
- Gather practice questions. You’ll also want to research possible questions that you could be asked. Be prepared to answer questions related to your background, work ethic and specific examples of how you would contribute to the company.
- Practice out loud. Stand in front of a mirror and practice out loud. It might feel awkward, but you need to get used to your own voice, so you speak confidently at an appropriate volume. You should do this in front of a mirror, so you can also pay attention to your mannerisms. If you have nervous habits, frequently touch your face, or the like, you’ll need to work on altering these for your interview – they can be distracting to those interviewing you.
- Prepare your own set of questions. It’s shocking how many people don’t do this, especially since it’s so important! Having great questions to ask at the end of an interview not only shows your interest in the position and company, but it’s also your chance to interview the interviewer and confirm the job is a good fit for you. Note that it’s okay to ask questions that arise during the interview as well.
Then, prepare for the nuances of a successful virtual interview
There are so many aspects of an interview that it can be overwhelming, especially when you add technology into the mix. Remember, you can’t control everything that could happen during an interview, but you can be prepared to deal with issues as they arise. And that’s why it’s so important to prepare, plan and practice. Here’s how you can do that for a virtual interview.
- Your appearance is key. Make sure your clothing and background are professional. You should dress professionally and appropriately for the job you’re interviewing for, just as you would in person. Be sure to plan where you’ll do the interview and practice there, too – make sure the lighting is good and that what’s showing behind you (and will be visible to the interviewer) is clean and appropriate.
- Show personality. Even though it’s virtual, this type of interview is still a two-way conversation. Showing your personality during an interview is very important – it’s one thing that could make the difference between you and a different candidate. In a virtual interview, your face and voice will be the focal point of showing your personality. Knowing how to use your facial body language to convey meaning such as smiling and expressing calm or understanding will help reveal your personality in a positive way.
- Look for and provide visual cues. Look for and provide visual clues like you would in person. Watching your interviewer’s facial expressions and body language can give you cues like when to move on, when to elaborate, etc. Similarly, you can cue the interviewer that you’re thinking about your answer, that you agree with what they’re saying, etc.
- Pause, effectively. Don’t be afraid of “effective pausing.” It’s okay to take a few moments to collect your thoughts or look at your notes before answering a question. Use body language to show the interviewer you’re engaged.
- No pets, no kids allowed. Be sure to put your pets in a different room where they will be safe and calm to avoid any distraction. Similarly, make plans for children or others in your home to be in another room or location, so you don’t get interrupted. It’s key to keep all your focus on the interview – disruptions that can be avoided can send the wrong signal to the interviewer.
- Prepare for expected disruptions. Unfortunately, distractions can still occur despite your work to avoid them. Be prepared for how you’ll handle an interruption, so you can do so calmly and effectively. You can even set the stage for expected disruptions if needed. For example, if you know a train passes your house every day at noon, and that’s the only time you could do the interview, simply let the interviewer know they might hear it at the beginning of your interview.
Finally, use this amazing (and FREE) virtual interview practice tool
Davenport’s career services team offers a free virtual interview practice tool that’s available to anyone, not just Davenport students. The tool allows you to choose from pre-determined interviews or build your own set of questions. You can then record yourself in a practice interview.
- Practice a few times, then record. Once you get acquainted with the tool, record yourself practicing your answers. Then, watch and listen to the recording to get a sense of what you sound and look like when filtered by a device. Why? Trust us, it’s not to make you cringe! You need to know how your expressions and voice comes through online, so you can make adjustments and leave your interviewer with the best possible impression.
- Send in your recording for personalized advice. Once you’ve practiced and recorded your best interview, send a copy to the career services team at firstname.lastname@example.org to get personalized advice on how you can improve. The team will identify effective and not-so-effective answers as well as provide feedback on your background, posture, facial expressions, appearance and background noise or interruptions.
Have you been laid off or furloughed as a result of COVID-19?
Davenport University is offering a free career-focused class to individuals who have lost their jobs as a result of the coronavirus. The online course, Communications 120 – Career Builder, will give each participant an opportunity to hone their presentation skills, build their resumes, enhance their LinkedIn profiles and earn three college credits. The course is offered online with two classes available starting May 6 and two additional classes available starting July 1. Get more information or sign up here.
Are you a Davenport University student or alumni?
Don’t forget that the Career Services Department provides lifetime support for all students and alumni. Contact Davenport’s Career Services team with any additional questions you might have about knocking your interview out of the park and landing that job.