8 Tips to Impress During a Virtual Interview

by Susan Mullin

Technology is changing how hiring managers operate. Have you prepared for a virtual interview?

laptop on desk showing a virtual interview video call

Sitting in the same room with a potential employer is no longer a required first step in the interview process; increasingly, hiring managers are using technology to conduct virtual interviews. Software like Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime are especially useful when the candidate and employer are in different locations. Do you know how to make an excellent first impression through your computer screen?

How you conduct yourself in a virtual interview could be the difference between landing the job and needing to continue your search. The experienced recruiters at TorchLight, D.C.’s leading marketing and communications search and staffing firm, offer these eight suggestions to ace your next on-screen interview:

Keep it professional

While you may be taking the call from the comfort of your home, be careful not to be too Make no mistake, a SKYPE or FaceTime interview is a formal interview, and you should treat it as such.

Dress the part

If you were going for an in-person interview, you would come dressed in appropriate clothing, right? You should wear the same professional attire in an on-screen interview. You are still speaking face-to-face, after all, even if a computer screen separates you from the interviewer.

Find a quiet location

Don’t let unexpected noise from pets, children, neighbors, or the television interrupt your important interview. A hiring manager will not find the cat climbing on your lap or a screaming child in the next room during the interview charming but distracting.

Consider your surroundings

Before the interview, confirm what the camera will pick up around you conveys a serious, professional tone. You may be a huge football fan but a life-size poster of Aaron Rodgers shouldn’t be your backdrop. Scan your surroundings. Don’t let an unintended glimpse of your interests or personal ambitions give the employer any reason to count you out for the position.

Sit up tall

Sit at a desk or table instead of cozying up on the couch. It’s nice to be relaxed in an interview, but there is such a thing as being too relaxed. You want to demonstrate you are serious about the position. Your posture and body language can speak volumes.

Stay engaged

Position your screen in a spot where the interviewer can see you well and you can see them. Keep the phone or computer still and sit in one spot. There is nothing more distracting than the camera or screen being moved around while trying to engage someone in a conversation. Now is not the time to multi-task.

Avoid errors with equipment

It’s happened to all of us—we think we have a handle on technology and it fails us. Prepare for an upcoming virtual interview by testing out SKYPE or FaceTime with a friend or family member before your interview, especially if you aren’t the most tech-savvy. That way, you can work out any issues well in advance and handle the video conference with confidence. Also, potential employers will be looking for your command of technology—an increasingly important skill in today’s business world.

Don’t fuss

Very few people feel they look stunning on-screen, but you should show confidence during the interview. Avoid fussing over your appearance—fixing your hair or adjusting your clothing—to keep the interviewer focused on your qualifications instead of your clothes. If it helps you relax, know the interviewer likely feels a little awkward, too.

While these tips are simple, little details can make a big difference in an interview. Prepare for a virtual interview just as you would if you were meeting in the hiring manager’s office. And with any interview, remember to send a thank-you note immediately following your meeting!

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Posted in , Interview Tips