How to Impress in a Virtual Interview
- 26 Sep 2022
Having gained popularity during the recent pandemic, virtual meetings and interviews are here to stay. There are benefits to both employers and candidates, including the convenience and how efficient they are, with no wasted travel time on either side. They’re also more cost-effective for both parties. However, there are drawbacks too and it isn’t always easy for interviewees to make a great impression through a screen.
Regardless of the position, employers are typically looking for candidates with excellent communication and great interpersonal skills so you need to feel confident conveying this over camera. Here are some tips to help your impress during your next virtual interview.
Your posture speaks volumes about your personality and how you’re feeling. Sitting up straight with your shoulders back and head up lets interviewers know that you feel confident and prepared, whilst slouching or looking away or down suggests you’re uninterested or distracted. Try to sit still and avoid fidgeting as this gives away how nervous you are and can be distracting for interviewers if you’re constantly moving on the screen. In all likelihood, your interviewer will only be able to see your head and shoulders, however, that doesn’t mean your posture won’t be as obvious on the screen as it is in real life so think about how you’re sitting before the interview starts.
Having a virtual interview doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress as smartly as you usually would for an in-person interview. First impressions matter so you want to dress professionally and wearing something that looks smart and makes you feel good can also help with your confidence. Rather than just throwing on whatever’s clean, pay careful attention to your entire interview outfit from top to bottom. Pairing up a tailored blazer with a smart t-shirt can make all the difference and even if your interviewers aren’t going to see your trousers and shoes, you’ll know that you’re wearing them and they’ll make you feel more like the best version of yourself.
Ensure that you are familiar with the technology and platform that will be used during your interview and that you’re 100% confident using its features. Check your internet connection on the day and be prepared for any last-minute issues with your WiFi or mobile data by having a backup option. Make sure that whatever device you’ll be using, whether it’s your laptop, tablet or phone is fully charged. If you’re not used to video calling, seeing the mirror image of yourself during the call can be unnerving and distracting so if it helps you stay focused then switch this feature off during the interview.
Unlike an in-person interview, it isn’t just your own appearance you need to think about but that of your home or workspace too! We’ve all seen footage of Zoom interviews or video calls with unfortunate backgrounds so make sure your interview doesn’t fit into that category by choosing your location carefully.
There are some spots in our homes that lend themselves better to a virtual interview than others - bathrooms echo and kitchens can be the busiest room in a family home, making interruptions more likely. The bedroom might be a better option but only if you don’t have your laundry or unmade bed in the background - remember you want to look as professional as possible.
Ideally, wherever you choose should have a solid surface to balance your device on during the interview, as well as decent lighting and a reliable internet connection. If you’re struggling to find a clutter-free background, you might want to choose a virtual background instead but think carefully about any colours or images you use in these to be sure they’re sending the right signals to a potential employer.
Maintaining eye contact is vital, particularly during virtual interviews as it strengthens the connection between you and your interviewer. To help you make eye contact during a video call, place your device around eye level and when answering questions be sure to look directly into the camera. It’s fine to look down at the screen to gauge your interviewer's reaction or to check your notes but be sure to keep making eye contact throughout the interview.
Looking away is a natural reaction when we’re trying to think of an example or come up with an answer to a particularly tricky question, however in a virtual interview, it’s easy for this to be mistaken as disinterest or distraction so try not to gaze off-screen for too long if you want to create a positive impression.