Preparation is the key to success in any interview. It’s even more important in a virtual interview because more aspects are within your control. Tips for being personable over webcam and tricks like notes, good lighting and a zoom background with logo can help you knock a virtual interview out of the park.
Choose the Right Attire, Lighting and Background
If your interview takes place in daylight hours, a window can provide great natural lighting. If not, consider purchasing an inexpensive ring light to show yourself clearly and professionally in your virtual interview.
When picking an outfit, it’s crucial to consider how the webcam will frame your upper body and face. Choose pieces that give a professional look that isn’t cut off by bad framing.
Finally, consider your background. It should be clean and uncluttered to keep the focus on you. A plain wall is a safe choice, but these aren’t available in every home or apartment. A virtual zoom office background with logo can give you a professional look in these situations.
Test Sound, Audio and Appearance Beforehand
Block out at least half an hour before your interview to test out your equipment. Technical issues are the virtual interview equivalent of showing up late — a terrible first impression.
Know your way around your platform and properly test all elements of your presentation before you get into the interview. Make sure the microphone is clear and functional, you’re dressed correctly, the lighting is sufficient and the video quality is clear. Remember that video call clarity on your end is dependent on your internet’s upload speed, not your download speed.
Practice Remote Meeting Etiquette
Once you’re in the interview, here are some etiquette tips to keep in mind:
- Look into the webcam, not at the images on the screen. Eye contact is important in interviews, but in a remote interview, the camera is the other person’s “eye.”
- Speak at a relaxed pace. It can be hard to understand a person over webcam if they’re speaking too quickly. A pace of 115 words per minute is recommended for a job interview, which is much slower than a podcast or a TED talk pace of 150 words per minute.
- Use hand gestures in place of body language. Since you’re only presenting the top third of your body, hand gestures can add visual interest and make you seem more personable to the interviewer.
- Stay alert and focused. It can be easier to get distracted in a virtual interview since you’re not in an office setting. Fight this urge and remain alert, responsive and engaged through your entire interview.
Use Notes Smartly and Sparingly
A tried-and-true interview strategy is to prepare answers to common questions beforehand, but these answers must be delivered naturally. In a virtual interview, you can keep a short list of bullet-pointed notes to the side of your screen to remind you of your answers. Be sure to only glance at them occasionally and keep your focus on the interviewer.
Nailing a virtual interview requires different skills than in-person interviews, but anyone can shine with proper preparation. Short notes, good lighting and zoom office backgrounds can support you in your job search.