How to Prepare for and Ace a Virtual Interview

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In today’s world of social distancing and Zoom meetings, virtual interviews are becoming the norm. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, studies showed around 75% of hiring executives used video interviews to connect with leading candidates.

If you’ve never had a virtual interview before, though, it’s hard to know what to expect. How can you stay calm, make your pitch and impress the interviewer, even when you’re not in the same room? Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Make sure your camera and speakers are working.

You can perform extensive background research on a prospective company. However, if you’re having technical difficulties during the interview, it’s going to reflect poorly on you. Avoid this altogether by testing out your technology well before the actual interview to ensure it’s ready for action when you need it.

Create a calm background setting for the interview.

During the interview, you want to minimize distractions and create a feeling of calm, organization, and professionalism. That’s not going to happen with kids and pets running around or if you’re in a noisy room in the house.

Instead, make sure whenever your interview is set to happen, you have a private space that’s properly staged with good lighting. Also, keep windows closed to cut out noise from traffic and turn your cell phone off. In addition, avoid the pre-set backgrounds available on many virtual platforms, which can look fake and distracting.

Do your homework ahead of time.

When you’re answering a question, you want to be completely focused on the hiring manager, not clicking around the Internet in search of a good answer. It’s why preparing ahead of time – just as you would with a traditional face-to-face interview – is so important.

Research the company, the position, and the leadership team. Create a list of notes and questions you have. Also, have a copy of your resume handy. The one positive of a virtual interview is you can keep all these items right next to you without the hiring manager seeing them. You can then quickly consult them, as needed, during the interview.

Ask a friend to conduct a mock interview with you.

A virtual interview can be more awkward than an in-person one, especially if you’re not experienced with them. To prepare, ask a friend or family member to practice and perform a mock one using the same technology platform, the hiring manager will be using. You’ll become more comfortable in the medium and also get some feedback about areas that could use improvement. You can even record the mock interview and review it to catch distracting habits and fix them ahead of time.

Show your professionalism.

Just as you would for an in-person interview, dress the part, wearing a suit, and making sure your hair looks neat. Also, avoid common interview mistakes, like talking negatively about a past boss or fidgeting. Instead, keep your body language in check, continuing to sit up straight and smile, with the camera at eye level. This will make the impression you’re a serious contender for the role.

Share a story.

Your goal is to stand out during the hiring process, even when interviews are virtual. This is where sharing a story can be helpful. Before each interview, think of one accomplishment that’s relevant to the position or company, one connection you have with the hiring manager, or a time when you faced a challenge and learned something new from it. Discussing these kinds of meaningful experiences will make you more authentic and memorable, hopefully improving your chance of moving ahead in the hiring process.

Need more help preparing for your next virtual interview?

ResumeSpice is here for you. We offer professional interview prep services, whether your interview is a traditional, in-person one, over the phone, or on Zoom or Skype. We know the questions commonly asked and the answers hiring managers are looking for. We can also coach you on everything ranging from your body language to what to wear. If you’re ready to learn more, call 832.930.7378 or contact us online.