Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most companies have switched to virtual interviewing. And to ace your virtual interviews, you need to know what to do as well as what not to do. Here are the most important do’s and don’ts when it comes to succeeding in a virtual interview.
DO schedule the interview for a time when it will be quiet in your home.
If you have a choice, try to schedule virtual interviews when it will be as quiet as possible in your home. For example, if you have small children, be mindful of when they might need your attention and don’t schedule your interview then. Or, if you have a dog, be mindful not to schedule your interview during walk-time. And whatever time your virtual interview occurs, make your home as quiet and free from distractions as possible. Turn off any nearby sounds (television, speakers, etc.) and make sure your phone is silenced.
DON’T dress casually.
Yes, your interview is done virtually so the interviewer might not be able to see everything you’re wearing. However, you should still dress the part—like you would if you were interviewing in person. And that means wearing pants or a skirt, along with an “interview” shirt or top. Dressing up will show the interviewer that you take the interview seriously. Also, even if the interviewer can’t see you from the waist down, dressing up will boost your confidence and help set your mindset on the task at hand—acing your interview.
DO practice interview questions ahead of time.
As with a traditional interview, you should spend time practicing interview questions so you sound polished and professional. You should prepare for all of the standard questions like “What’s your greatest strength and weakness?” and “Tell me about a time you dealt with conflict when working on a team.” And you should also have thought through your answers on why you want the specific job and how your skill set will relate to it.
DON’T rely on notes.
To prepare for interviews, whether virtual or traditional, you should do your research on the companies you’re interviewing with and the positions you’re interviewing for. However, if you’ve taken notes during your research, make sure not to glance at them—or any other written material—during your virtual interview. The reason is your interviewer will notice that you’re distracted by something off-screen. And that will be true even if you just glance down for a few seconds—which will not help your case when it comes to advancing in the interview process.
DO download programs ahead of time and make sure your equipment is in working order.
When you receive the virtual interview invitation, you should check to see if any programs need to be downloaded beforehand. One of the top ways to make a bad impression during a virtual interview is to be late because you were still downloading the needed program. If possible, do a test run with your equipment to ensure the audio, visual, and internet connection are all working properly.
DON’T skip the practice round.
Some virtual interviews are real-time conversations between the interviewee and interviewer. But some are done with the interviewee recording answers to questions given on the screen. When you have to record your answers, most interview services will give you a practice round, and you should always take the practice round to work out any kinks before the actual recording starts.
DO send a follow-up email after the interview.
After a traditional interview, it’s customary to send a thank-you email—and virtual interviews are no different. Sending a follow-up email thanking the interviewer for their time and consideration is important because it gives you another chance to showcase your strengths and why you are the right person for your job. It is also a great way to stay in their mind of your interview. Note that if you participated in a panel virtual interview, individual emails should be sent to each interviewer, not just one email to the group.
DON’T forget to ask a question at the end.
To show interest in the position and company, you should always ask a question at the end. Standard questions such as “How would you define someone as successful in this position?” or “What is the most important responsibility of this position?” are acceptable. But you can also ask questions that relate to specific things mentioned in the virtual interview. Of course, never ask about PTO, salary, and benefits in an interview, whether virtual or traditional.