Virtual interviews have become the new normal, but most of the advice you’ve gotten around job interviews has probably centered on in-person ones. While a lot of the same tips apply — do your research, express enthusiasm, ask questions — virtual interviews require their own kind of preparation.
Here are some tips from Dee Ann Turner, author of Crush Your Career: Ace the Interview, Land the Job, and Launch Your Future, on acing a virtual interview.
Your home environment can create a lot of distractions an office wouldn’t. Before the interview, make sure nothing on your computer screen, on your phone, or in your home is going to interrupt this conversation so that you come off as professional as possible. Turner suggests putting your phone on silent, turning off notifications on your computer, and making sure the dishwasher isn’t running.
Be aware of your background.
You’ll also want to think about what will be most visually appealing to your interviewer. Turner recommends sitting in front of a blank wall in a room with good lighting. “Even the digital backgrounds that are available can distort appearance,” she says. “Be sure that you are positioned proportionately in the setting, neither too large nor too small against the background.”
To avoid technological mishaps, make sure that you have the meeting software downloaded well before the interview, that the link to log into the meeting is working, and that your internet connection is good, Turner suggests.
Dress to impress.
Even if you’ve gotten accustomed to lounging at home in sweatpants, make a point to dress as if you were going out to the interview. Turner recommends even wearing nice pants and shoes, regardless of whether they’ll be visible. “While your flip-flops and sweatpants are not going to show on camera, you will feel more confident if you are dressed appropriately, and you’re likely to perform better in the interview,” she says. “Solid colors look much better on camera. Avoid patterns and black or white for the best appearance.”
Keep notes for yourself on your computer.
One advantage to an online interview is that if you want, you’ll be able to look at notes without it being obvious, Turner points out. If you have a few bullet points you want to remember, you can jot them down on your computer’s Notes app and leave them open on your screen during the interview. However, you should try not to rely too much on this and to be as prepared as possible with answers in your head.
Do you have any other tips on a successful virtual job interview? Let us know in the comments below!
xx, The FabFitFun Team