With COVID-19 underfoot, video interviews are becoming the new normal for job seekers. They allow employers and candidates to meet “face-to-face” and have a more personal feel than phone interviews. When preparing for a virtual interview through a program like Skype or Zoom, it’s important to prepare as you would for an in-person interview.

Tips for virtual interviews

1. First Things First
First impressions are important. Basics like starting on time, leaving your chewing gum in its package, and doing as much listening as talking still apply. You also need to dress appropriately — it’s a good idea to dress as you would for an in-person interview.

2. Picture Perfect
The first thing the interviewer will see is you. The second is the background of the location where you decided to set up your computer or mobile device. Make sure your location is clean and professional. Put away anything that might distract the interviewer, and if you have a setting that might reinforce your intellect or professionalism, such as an impressive book collection or formal home office, consider it as a backdrop. Take a look at the lighting as well. Natural light through a window supplemented by a desk or floor lamp often creates a flattering glow.

3. Whatever Can Go Wrong…
… well, we don’t believe in Murphy’s Law, but triple checking your technology before the interview is a great idea. If you have advanced notice, download and test the video conferencing program you’ll be using at least a few days before the conversation. Make outbound test calls and have someone contact you through the platform. Have your interviewer’s phone number handy just in case a technical problem does come up on the day of your meeting so you can complete the interview via phone.

4. Kids and Cats …
Are both SO adorable. And vocal. And persistent. If you have family or animals in your household, have a plan of action for how they will be managed while you’re interviewing. Find someone to watch your children and put your animals in another part of the house.

5. Eye to Eye
Virtual interviews are better than phone interviews, but they still don’t compare to in-person interviews. This is why eye contact is so important when you’re meeting via computer. Making eye contact with the interviewer’s image on your screen does not necessarily mean you that you will appear to be looking in their eyes, which is important to making a real connection. To them, it may look like you are staring downward. To avoid this, place the box with the interviewee’s face near your video camera.  There may also be a small box with your image on your screen. Get rid of that box. Otherwise, it may be tempting to look down at yourself from time to time to make sure you look okay. To the other person on the conference, it will just look like you are looking away.

Follow these steps to have a professional and successful virtual interview.

Hiregy is a professional recruiting and staffing agency serving Tampa, St Petersburg, Orlando and surrounding areas. Keep up with Hiregy online at hiregy.com, and stay in touch on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.