Job hunting is a stressful proposition. Between searching open positions for one that fits your skills and interests and trying to find a company whose culture matches your expectations, there are plenty of opportunities for frustration to develop. Then comes the waiting to see if you’ll get a call, hopefully, followed by the excitement when it does come through.
Often, nervousness and uncertainty follow closely behind that excitement, especially if the interview process is virtual. After all, you are not able to read signals as easily in a virtual format, and it can be equally hard to convey your own emotions. Then there is the fact that you’ll have to keep your background — and family — out of the room long enough to show professionalism. However, the following tips can help you ace a virtual interview, no matter what type of position you are hoping to secure.
Put Your Best Face Forward
It’s easy to treat a virtual interview as any other day working from home. However, that would be a mistake. No matter how much you wish appearances didn’t matter as part of the hiring process, they do. It will reflect in the video if you look washed out and exhausted.
Luckily, a few quick fixes can help you look energized and ready to get to work. Give your skin support and a fresh glow by applying face serum. Follow that up with some translucent powder to control reflections and shiny spots.
Have a Professional Background
Not everyone has a home office for remote work or virtual meetings. However, you can have a professional background even if you usually work from the kitchen table. Virtual backgrounds are great, but they can get distorted easily. You might have better luck using a folding screen or hanging a curtain directly behind your seat.
You also want to keep noise and distractions to a minimum. Try to arrange a time when everyone else is out of the house. This not only gives a more professional appearance but also provides you a chance to focus solely on the interview. Additionally, it shows that you are willing to make that extra effort.
Skip the Apologies
Resist the urge to apologize for everyday life that is going on around you. There’s a good chance that the person conducting the interview is sympathetic to your situation. Unless the job requires a secure home office and complete privacy, you can probably explain once that you are in a shared part of the house, and you will stay focused on the meeting. Then, if a delivery driver knocks on the door or your kids run across the room halfway through the session, answer and ask questions like nothing is happening.
Show Up Prepared
You also want to walk into the virtual meeting as prepared as you would for an in-person interview. Take time to research the company, its history, and its culture. Understand average salaries for the position and determine if this job falls within that range. It is also helpful to prepare a list of questions you can ask. Those show the company where your thoughts and priorities are, so take time to think these through.
Use Proper Etiquette
The rules for online and in-person behavior are a little different, and it is important to remember to use proper online etiquette during your interview. This starts with initial greetings. While you won’t be able to shake hands, you can still exchange pleasantries for a minute when things start. Just keep it short and professional.
It is also helpful to think about camera placement and what the other people in the meeting see. For example, you would normally make eye contact with your interviewer in an in-person meeting, but that is more difficult in a virtual setting. You’ll want to look into your camera instead of at the video feed to show you are paying attention.
Online job interviews are convenient, but they can also be intimidating. However, you can ace your next one by preparing yourself, setting up a professional background and using proper etiquette.