Over the past couple of years, job interviews have been taking place online more frequently. While some employers use two-way virtual interviews where you meet with an interviewer online, others use automated virtual interviews. These interviews involve answering questions given by an AI within a limited timeframe, then having the recorded interview sent to the prospective employer.
For business students who are searching for jobs, adapting to virtual interviews can take some practice. It’s still crucial to make a good impression on employers, but these interviews aren’t quite the same as traditional, face-to-face job interviews. The following virtual interview tips can help you prepare for upcoming interviews.
Tips to Prepare for Your Virtual Interview
When you’ll be meeting with your interviewer online, taking time to prepare beforehand can help your interview go smoothly. While you won’t have to worry about going to an office for virtual interviewing, being in your home for it can require just as much preparation. Set aside time for these virtual interview preparation tips to make sure you’re fully prepared.
1. Choose Your Outfit
What kind of attire should you wear for a virtual interview? Even though you’ll be at home for your interview, you should still choose your outfit carefully. Dress professionally for your virtual interview, but keep in mind that only the upper half of your body shows on camera. While you should wear a dress shirt, you don’t have to put on a pair of dress shoes. The outfit that your interviewer sees should show that you made the effort to dress professionally for the interview.
2. Choose Your Spot Carefully
Think about where your interview will take place. If you’re using a desktop computer, your options might be limited. However, you can choose from a wider range of options if you’re using a tablet or laptop for your interview. Sit at a desk or table in your home instead of lounging in a chair or on a sofa. If possible, sit in an area with plenty of natural light rather than in a dimly lit area. Just make sure your screen doesn’t have any glare on it.
3. Practice Ahead of Time
During your virtual interview, you’ll have questions to answer, such as why you’re a good fit for the company or what your strengths are. Practicing giving answers to these questions ahead of time can help you feel calmer and more confident when the actual interview takes place. In the weeks and days leading up to your interview, go over answering questions, greeting your interviewer, and asking questions of your own. Being prepared through practice can help you make a positive impression on interviewers.
4. Review All Previous Communication to Ensure Details of Interview
While preparing for your virtual interview, go over all the information and communication you have received about it. Make sure you have the date and time right, as well as which video platform will be used for your interview. Review any other communication you have about the interview in order to help you prepare, such as who you’ll be interviewing with, what you can expect during the interview, and how long it should last.
5. Eliminate Distractions
When you do virtual interviews from home, it’s easy to become distracted by background noise or interruptions. Remove any distractions from the room or area you’ll be in ahead of time. This might involve asking family members to give you privacy during the interview, closing windows to block outside noises, and putting your phone on do not disturb so it won’t ring. Eliminating distractions before your interview means you’ll be able to focus better while talking to your interviewer. Without distractions, you also won’t have to worry as much about unexpected sounds or interruptions.
6. Work Out Tech Issues Early
Since virtual interviews rely on technology, work out any tech issues before your interview. Give yourself plenty of time for this instead of rushing to fix issues right before the interview starts. You should check your internet or Wi-Fi connection to make sure you have a good signal, since this helps lower the risk of having to interrupt your interview to reconnect. Working out tech issues early also involves checking audio and camera settings and making sure the platform you’ll be using is working properly on your computer, laptop, or tablet.
7. Bring Notes with Topics or Questions You Want to Address
Preparing for virtual job interviews should include researching the company you’re interviewing with. Knowing more about the company can make it easier to answer questions, such as why you want to work there. Researching the company also helps you come up with a list of questions you want to ask or topics you want to discuss during the interview. Keep in mind that many interviewers will ask if you have any questions for them. Showing that you’re prepared and have done your research can help impress them.
8. Log On Early
Don’t wait until the exact time your interview is supposed to start to log onto the virtual platform. Instead, aim to log on about five minutes before it starts. Doing this helps ensure that your interviewer won’t be stuck waiting for you, especially if you run into any problems logging on. When you log on early, you’ll also have time to go over your list of questions again and run through answers to questions your interviewer might ask. This can help ease your nerves before the interview starts.
9. Be Prepared When You Click the “On” Button
Before clicking the “on” button to connect to your interviewer, make sure you’re fully ready. Double check the lighting in the room or area you’re in to make sure it’s not too bright or too dim. You should be sitting at your desk or table with your notes next to you. If you still feel anxious, take a few moments to calm your nerves before clicking the “on” button. Be prepared to smile and greet your interviewer.
Tips for Your Virtual Interview
When the day of your virtual interview arrives, it’s common to feel a bit nervous about it. Even though you won’t be meeting with your interviewer in person, you’ll still be expected to make a good impression. This might seem more difficult when you’re meeting virtually, especially if you’re used to doing interviews in person. However, there are ways to ensure you make a favorable impression on your interviewer, even while interacting with them through a screen. The following tips can help make your virtual interview a success.
10. Make Eye Contact
Eye contact is just as important on screen as it is in person during job interviews. Although you’re looking at the other person through a camera, you should still make eye contact regularly during your interview. For virtual interviews, this means looking at the camera rather than at the interviewer on your screen. Looking into the camera during a virtual interview comes across as making eye contact. This can help you appear more confident when answering questions or asking your interviewer questions, even if you’re feeling nervous.
11. Pay Attention to Body Language
When you do interviews in person, you might be acutely aware of your body language. When you do virtual interviews, it’s still important to pay attention to your body language. The way you sit or move can affect the impression you make on your interviewer. For virtual interviews, make sure that you sit up straight and look into the camera. You should try to sit still during the interview rather than moving around, since this might make you seem nervous. You might also want to try leaning toward the camera slightly, which can help you look more attentive during your interview.
12. Be Clear with Conversation Cues
Just as your own body language is important, it’s also helpful to understand conversation cues during virtual interviews. Doing this can be harder compared to traditional face-to-face interviews, especially if you experience slight lags in your audio or video. Watch your interviewer for cues that they’re waiting for you to answer a question or ask them a question, for example. Paying attention to conversation cues can help you avoid interrupting your interviewer while also showing that you have good communication skills.
13. Be Yourself
No matter how nervous you are during your virtual interview, you should always be yourself. Being authentic rather than presenting an unrealistic version of yourself can help impress your interviewer. While you should be professional during your interview, you don’t have to be stiff or formal. Keep this in mind when you’re answering questions during your interview, especially for questions that ask about challenges or areas of improvement. Being authentic can also show through the way you handle unexpected interruptions, such as your doorbell ringing or your dog barking. Remember that interviewers understand that you’re doing your interview from home, so these interruptions can happen. Handling these with a down-to-earth attitude and some laughter can help you appear more authentic to your interviewer.
14. Stay Engaged Even After the Interview Is Finished
As soon as the formal interview ends, you don’t have to disconnect. Instead, stay engaged with your interviewer for a few minutes afterwards. You might casually discuss something you’ve discovered you have in common during this time, or you might chat about a topic that interests both of you before signing off. These moments allow you to better connect with your interviewer rather than a quick and formal goodbye.
15. Follow Up
You might not hear from your interviewer right away after your interview. Following up with them can help you gauge how well your interview went and whether you have a chance at being hired. Consider sending a thank you note to your interviewer a few days after your interview. This is a simple gesture that can make a strong impression on your interviewer, which might help put you above the competition.
Tips for Automated Virtual Interviews
If you’ll be doing automated virtual interviews, many of the tips for two-way virtual interviews still apply. Since you’ll be recorded during these types of interviews, you should still make sure you dress professionally and pay close attention to your body language while answering questions. It’s also important to speak in a clear, steady voice since you might not have a chance to repeat answers. Making a good impression on potential employers during automated virtual interviews can be harder, since you’re not directly interacting with them. This makes it even more important to make sure you’re fully prepared.
Before the interview starts, practice answering questions a few or more times. You should also test your technology ahead of time to make sure it’s working properly, including your audio and camera settings, internet connection, and the platform you’ll be using. During your automated virtual interview, focus on providing concise answers to questions without overthinking. Keep in mind that you’ll have a limited time to answer questions during these interviews.
Whether you’re doing two-way or automated virtual interviews, preparation is key. Taking the time to prepare for these interviews and knowing what to expect from them can help ensure that they go smoothly. While a good interview experience doesn’t automatically guarantee that you’ll be hired, it can help boost your chances of being considered for a position.
Having the right education can also help you make a good impression on potential employers. A Master of Business Administration (MBA) provides you with valuable knowledge and helps you learn important skills for your career. For more information on earning an MBA degree, please contact the Gary W. Rollins College of Business at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.