How to Succeed in Virtual Interviews
Check your equipment ahead of time.
One of the worst things that could happen in a virtual interview is your equipment having issues or your microphone unexpectedly not working. A way to prepare your equipment is to set up a zoom call with a friend to go through all the functions you will need to conduct the interview. Make sure your sound is loud and clear, your camera isn’t blurry, and that your internet connection is stable enough to handle the video call. Having all of the technical details ironed out beforehand will put your mind at ease and allow you to focus on the interview.
Have a simple background.
A simple background is a key to keeping things professional. Sitting in bed or on the couch is not the type of setting you would be in if you were conducting an in-person interview. Do your best to emulate a regular interview setting, meaning at a normal chair and sitting up straight. Having a busy background like the majority of your bedroom or your entire kitchen can distract your interviewer and make the setting less professional. If you are having trouble finding the perfect spot, just set a chair up in front of a blank wall and prop your computer up on something in front of you. Also, green screen backgrounds on Zoom tend to be a bit distracting, so stay away from them if you can.
Make sure you have a quiet and comfortable space.
Just like with your background making sure you are in a quiet space where there will not be much background noise is key. If for some reason you really can’t convince your roommates to leave during that time try using the microphone from a set of headphones, or something that won’t pick up a lot of background noise. Remember to test the audio quality of that headphone microphone as well. You do not want your interviewer, or yourself, to be distracted by things going on around you. Also, make sure that your location is comfortable enough to sit still in for the duration of the interview. You do not want to be fidgeting or twisting in your seat which can also be distracting and make you look more nervous than you are.
Still dress to impress.
Just because you are not in person does not mean appearance isn’t important. Do not treat a virtual interview like any other zoom call with your classmates or teachers. Showing professionalism through a screen can be difficult but appearance is a good way to prove that you are taking the call seriously.
Make eye contact.
This is an important tip for any interview. By now you know that you are supposed to make eye contact with an interviewer, but in a virtual interview where are there “eyes”? The webcam. It may seem strange but looking at their face on the screen will not seem like eye contact to them. So be sure to make eye contact with the webcam on your computer and not so much eye contact with the video on the screen. It can also be tempting to look at yourself on the screen the whole time, but this can lead to unnecessary fidgeting like touching your hair or itching your face. So, try to focus on that camera as much as possible to really make that connection.