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Job Seeker Series: How to Nail a Virtual Interview

Virtual Interview
With many organizations currently working from home, you are more likely to be asked to participate in a virtual interview right now.

Virtual interviews are very different from phone screenings and in-person interviews, simply because they are usually conducted via Zoom or Skype. Especially in today's environment, virtual interviews are becoming more common, which can be daunting if you've never done one before. If this process is new to you (or even if you're a seasoned pro), our 8 tips below are here to help you nail your next virtual interview!

1. Do your research

You should have already done a fair amount of research after your phone interview, but now is your chance to dig deeper into the company, learn about their mission and values, identify their audience, and find ways they can improve their process. Take a look at their website, Glassdoor profile, social media platforms, and more to get the greatest well-rounded look at who you’re meeting with. If you know the exact person or team you’re meeting with, look them up on the website too. It never hurts to mention it if you and the recruiter attended the same college or grew up in the same state!

2. Consider your appearance

Everyone is a fan of the “top half appearances” for virtual meetings, but consider dressing professionally from head to toe. You never know when you may have to get up from the computer to grab a document or shut your door, and the last thing you want is to let them see your Snoopy pajama bottoms in the middle of your interview. Make sure you are showered and groomed like you would be in an in-person interview. If your interview is first thing in the morning, give yourself some time to wake up, adjust to the new day, have breakfast, and sit down to your interview bright-eyed and ready to go.

3. Be prepared to demonstrate your skills

It’s possible that the recruiter or hiring manager will want to view your portfolio, so be ready to share your screen and present these if needed. Depending on the position you are applying for, you may even need to do a “micro teach” or a presentation to show off your skills. Be prepared for whatever they may ask, and be sure to practice this ahead of time.

4. Ask questions

Just like in your phone interview, it’s important to ask questions about the job to show that you’re interested. Refrain from questions like, “How much does it pay?” and focus, instead, on questions about the organization, like, “What does the training process look like?” or “What do you think is the best skill to have to be the most successful in this position?” Asking questions like these show that you are thinking long-term about the organization and are ready to join the team.

5. Say thank you

You should always say thank you after any interview, especially ones that are longer and more comprehensive. Consider writing a follow-up email or sending a thank you card in the mail. Keep your notes short and sweet, but reiterate why you would be a good fit for the job and how excited you are to learn more.

6. Test your set-up

When it comes to technology, it seems like something always goes wrong. Test your technology before the virtual interview begins by making sure your microphone and speakers work, your video is on, your computer is plugged in, your laptop is charging, and surrounding devices (like your phone) are on silent. If you plan to share your screen, make sure you understand the platform (like Zoom, Skype, or Google Hangouts) and know how to share your screen. 

7. Minimize distractions, but be honest about your surroundings

During a virtual interview, it’s important to minimize distractions wherever possible. If you live in a louder household, consider moving to a quiet room to avoid bursts of noise and distractions. A cluttered background can also provide distractions, so try to sit in front of a wall or your desk, so recruiters don’t see a messy room behind you. Even though you want to minimize distractions as much as you can, it’s also okay to be honest about your surroundings. Recruiters understand that, especially right now, many of us have kids, spouses, other meetings, pets, and family members in the house with us, so don’t be afraid to be honest about this.

8. Practice, practice, practice

Just like with phone and in-person interviews, it’s important to rehearse for your virtual interviews. This helps you practice giving concrete examples of your skills and how you have used them throughout your career. Recall stories that showcase your strength, and be sure to practice those stories that show your weakness too (and what you learned from them!). Ultimately, practice out loud, so you can hear how your answers will sound to the recruiter.

Need some support as you search for your next career? Check out our article on Top Resources for Arizona Job Seekers!

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