If you’re a college student ready to enter the job market, you know that interviewing is part of the process. You may not have been expecting the world to look the way it does today, however, as companies have shifted toward remote work and virtual interviews. While some things about interviews remain the same you may be wondering how to ace a virtual interview.
What’s the same?
- First impressions still matter. Make sure you put your best foot forward by dressing appropriately and being well groomed. The company you’re interviewing with may not require formal attire, but choose an outfit that matches the company culture.
- Be on time. Show up in advance of the interview. Nothing makes a worse first impression than being late. Remember that showing up on time is a sign of respect for the person who is interviewing you and will help you ace a virtual interview.
- Do your research. Know as much as you can about the company who is interviewing you. Browse the website, find any connections you might have in common on LinkedIn, and use a site like Glassdoor to learn about their reputation.
- Ask great questions. Prepare in advance to ask questions that are specific to the role with the company. The questions you ask should show you’ve done your research and show that you are interested in learning more.
- Make good eye contact. While this might seem strange to try to ace a virtual interview with good eye contact, do your best to connect with the interviewer. If you’re looking at notes or glancing out the window, it may be read as disinterest or lack of confidence.
- Project confidence. When a company asks you to describe your skills and experience, don’t be shy. Know what you’re good at and share that with confidence. A tool like CliftonStrengths can help you put words to what you naturally do well.
- Send a thank you. Always, always, always send a thank you to the company when the interview is done. This small act goes a long way toward creating that first impression and will help you ace a virtual interview and take the next step with them.
What are the unique considerations to ace a virtual interview?
- Remove distractions. Aside from companies getting a first impression of you, they will also be getting an impression of your environment. Make sure that what’s behind you is the impression you would like to make. Notice things in the camera’s view and adjust them. No unmade beds, posters that could raise eyebrows, or empty bottles and cans. A clean space will help you ace a virtual interview.
- Sound quality. Always wear headphones when interviewing virtually. Your computer’s microphone is not ideal for clear communication. Test your mic when you join the call. Turn off any alerts on your phone and computer or other sounds from roommates, pets, or any other potential noise-makers while interviewing.
- Light quality. Make sure you are set up in the most ideal spot for lighting. Avoid being backlit and avoid being in a dark space. Re-arrange lamps, your desk, or anything else in the room to provide the best lighting possible. This can make or break your ability to ace a virtual interview.
- Show up early. Not only should you plan to be on time, but show up early to troubleshoot any tech issues that may arise logging in. Know how to get in touch with someone if you should have issues. Showing your proficiency with technology will help you ace a virtual interview.
- Seek good wifi. Find the best room for a strong connection prior to logging in for your interview. You may not always be able to control the connection but you can set yourself up for success. They can’t hire you if they can’t connect with you.
If your goal is to ace a virtual interview and land your dream job, make sure you remove distractions, check your sound and lighting, show up early, and harness good wifi. The rest is up to you!