Stepping into a virtual interview is different in some ways from a face-to-face sitdown with an interviewer. With a layer of technology involved in connecting for the interview, several factors could come into play that impact your interview success.
While some principles of interview preparation are the same in a virtual setting, some require more thought and intention. Keep reading for strategies on how to prepare for a successful virtual interview and put your best foot forward with potential employers!
1. Have the Proper Setup
You’ll feel much more comfortable during the interview if you give some thought to you set up ahead of time. Think of your schedule that day and where would be the best place to take the interview to ensure you can focus, be present, and limit distractions.
We recommend making sure you’re on a laptop or desktop where interviewers can easily see you. If you must take the interview on a mobile device, propping it up on something horizontally is helpful. Having stable video and audio helps both you and the interviewer concentrate on each other, and the content being shared. Also, your background and lighting make a difference in how you are perceived during the interview. Try to find a space where you have ample light in front of you and behind you, and blur your background or use a simple virtual background.
2. Make Sure You are Dressed Well
“Well” can be defined as whatever feels authentic and comfortable for you, and you feel is putting your best foot forward to make a positive first impression. Represent yourself in a way you are proud of. Even through a video call, presenting yourself in the best way possible helps your confidence level during the interview. Look good, feel good, right? You’ll notice your focus, energy, and communication improves as well if you feel good about how you’re presenting yourself.
3. Arrive on Time – Or Ahead of Time
Same as with an in-person meeting, you want to show up to where your interview is taking place with enough time before it starts! Even for a virtual interview on your computer, it’s important to leave yourself enough time to make sure you are in a clear head space to start the call and don’t feel rushed. Logging on ahead of time will give you a chance to test your camera, microphone and background so you can be ready when the interview starts.
We find many candidates we meet with have various security settings on their computers for WebEx, Teams, and Zoom. Logging in early ensures you can allow video and microphone settings on whichever platform your interview is taking place. It’s definitely more stressful to try and troubleshoot the settings once the interviewer has joined.
4. Think About Your Communication
Typically, initial interviews with hiring managers are 30 minutes to 1 hour long. The interviewer has specific questions and information they want to gather from you. Ensure that you give them time to prompt you and inquire further about your experiences.
If you feel yourself getting long-winded, pause and double check that you are on the right track. It’s totally okay to pause and say, “Did that answer your question? I can continue to provide additional examples if needed.” Remember this is a two-way conversation, and the interviewer is prepared to receive questions from you as well. In fact, they look forward to it! Thoughtful questions help you position yourself during an interview, as well as ensure you can determine if the role is a good fit for you.
5. Refresh Your Memory on the Company Website and Job Description
Taking a quick look at the company website and job description before the call is helpful so you have it top of mind! The company values, team culture, and specific skills/knowledge needed for the job will likely come up in conversation. Be prepared to speak on these items and how they’re relevant to you. You’ll feel much more comfortable having information to pull from as you’re answering their questions and ensuring you’re sharing information that’s most relevant to the interviewer. Having some notes by your computer to take a peek at during the call is okay!
If you’re looking for a partner to help you navigate the technology job search, our Lighthouse technology talent managers can help you put your best foot forward towards your next best opportunity in tech! Head to our jobs site to see our current open roles or sign up for job alerts.