How to Maintain a Professional Environment When Having a Virtual Interview

The 2020 pandemic has forced many of us to stay inside. Social activities we once did in person are now done over screens. 

Virtual happy hour, anyone? 

As the world keeps turning, people are still looking for new jobs and opportunities. That means virtual interviews are also becoming more common as companies choose to vet potential new hires online. 

But just because your job interview is taking place on your laptop in the comfort of your home doesn’t mean you should roll out of bed right before. As virtual interviews become the standard, interviewers will expect a certain level of decorum. 

Here’s the good news: 

There are plenty of virtual interview tips that will help you ace your next virtual job interview. 

Read on to learn more about:

  • The trend of virtual interviews 
  • The overlap between traditional interviews and virtual interviews 
  • Video interview tips for dress, environment, tech, and behavior
  • How to make your virtual interview an opportunity 

Job Interviews Are Heading Online

Even before the pandemic, many companies were conducting virtual interviews. In 2013, an Office Team survey revealed 63% of companies used video interviews. According to a Gartner poll, as companies have adapted to the pandemic, that number jumped to 86% in April 2020.

Despite their prevalence, virtual interviews may seem intimidating. But following some simple video interview tips will give you the confidence to succeed. 

The Same Interview Rules Still Apply in Virtual Interviews

Don’t think just because you’re in your house that this is a casual exchange. 

Do everything you would usually do for an in-person interview:

  • Research the company
  • Practice common questions
  • Be polite 
  • Have questions prepared

Don’t do anything in a virtual interview that you wouldn’t do in person, like looking at your phone or chewing gum. 

While virtual interview tips are useful, learning how to interview well in every situation can help any professional. 

What to Wear For a Video Interview

Dress professionally, just as you would for an in-person interview. Think strategically about color — try to contrast with your background and avoid colors that could wash you out on camera, like white or yellow. Wear a flattering top, keep accessories minimal, and yes, wear pants.

Set Up Your Virtual Interview Environment 

After dressing yourself, the next important step is finding a proper space for your call. 

When choosing your background, our virtual interview tips suggest you:

  • Have a neutral backdrop
  • Don’t have anything in your background you don’t want someone to ask about
  • Clean your space
  • Don’t use a virtual background

Also, grab everything you’ll need beforehand. Don’t leave your interviewer looking at an empty chair because you left your paperwork in the next room. Anticipate everything you will need, including your resume, portfolio, and notetaking materials. 

Another essential video interview tip is to check your lighting. Make sure the room isn’t too dark. Light yourself from the front to avoid backlight casting you in shadows. 

Test it out beforehand and see if you need to add more lighting, like turning on a desk lamp or sitting closer to a window. 

Ensure Your Virtual Interview Tech Is Functional

Technical issues are a nightmare to deal with during a virtual interview. Thankfully, these virtual interview tips for checking your tech will help you avoid any preventable failures. 

Double Check Your Wi-Fi

Confirm that your internet connection is up and running well. Consider if you need any extra hardware like an ethernet cord, and make those items readily available if you’re unsure. 

Also, give your housemates a heads up about the time of your interview. You don’t want your internet connection to be strained because your roommate decided to download every episode of Breaking Bad during your meeting.

Test Your Tools 

Do a video interview practice run with friends or family. Ask them if they have any video interview tips for your meeting. Can they hear you okay? Make sure the audio is clear and consistent.

Charge Everything

Making sure you have power might seem like a no brainer, but better safe than sorry. Fully charge any electronics you might need.

Vet Your Profile

If you’re using a personal account for the video conferencing software you’ll be interviewing on, audit your profile before your virtual interview. Verify your college Skype account is updated so that your screen name isn’t BeerLover101, and you’re not doing a keg stand in your profile picture. 

Download Any Software You Need 

If your interviewer uses their own virtual interview software, then download and test it ahead of time. There’s nothing worse than realizing you forgot to download the video platform you need to use until one minute before the meeting. 

Turn Down the Background Noise

Kevin Parker is the CEO of virtual job interview technology, HireVue. Parker told Forbes one of his biggest video interview tips is to choose a quiet location.

Select a place that you know will be quiet for the duration of your interview. Close any windows or sliding doors in case your neighbor decides to do lawn work or the garbage truck comes early. Silence your phone or any extraneous audio on your computer. 

A crucial virtual interview tip is to alert any roommates or family members of your call. Make sure the kids are being taken care of and don’t waddle into your interview at the wrong time. 

Temper Your Anxiety and Prepare for Awkward Moments

Video chatting can be anxiety-provoking, and not having the other person in the room can feel awkward. 

Plus, there are psychological factors that contribute to video call anxiety. When you’re conversing via video, you can’t read body language and pick up on non-verbal cues like you can in person. Also, seeing our likeness on the screen can be distracting, like talking to a mirror. 

Here are a few video interview tips and tricks for dealing with Zoom anxiety:

  • Stick a post-it note over your image on the screen if that’s a stressor for you 
  • Spend time relaxing before your virtual interview, like meditating or drinking tea
  • Over-prepare so you feel confident that you know what you want to say
  • Know the other person is likely aware that video calls can be awkward

The rhythm of your conversation might be choppy because video chats make it easier to interrupt each other accidentally. Be patient, and remember to take a deep breath before getting frazzled. Try to go with the flow, and don’t get thrown off. 

Additional Video Interview Tips  

Make Eye Contact 

Most people look at the other person during a video call. But one of the best video interview techniques is to stare directly into the camera so that you’re making eye contact with your interviewer. 

Position their video chat window as close to the camera as you can so you can also see their face. Avoid staring at your image, as tempting as it may be. 

Be Enthusiastic

Zoom burnout is real. It can be hard to get in the mental space for a video interview. But shake off the fatigue, and muster your enthusiasm. Even through a video screen, your interviewer can sense your energy, and you want it to be positive. 

Arrive Early

Just as when you interview in-person, an excellent virtual interview tip is to show up early. Be ready and available with the video software open a few minutes before your scheduled time. If your interviewer shows up early as well, they’ll appreciate your eagerness and punctuality.

Be Aware of Excess Fidgeting 

You’re on camera, and there’s not much else to focus on except you. So, any nail-biting or constant shifting in your chair will be noticeable. Make sure you’re comfortable and avoid any nervous behavior. 

Close All Others Programs on Your Computer

Keep your focus on the interview. Turn off any pop-ups or notifications from chats that could distract you

The Virtual Interview Itself Is a Test

These virtual interview tips will come in handy for more than just the job search process. 

As we saw a spike in working remotely in 2020, there’s a chance it’ll become more prevalent and change the way we work. So you want to show your potential employer that you are capable of performing in this capacity. 

Nailing your video interview shows competency and that you’re able to adapt. Companies are staying resilient, and you need to be as well. 

This is more than just a job interview. It’s an opportunity to assess how you’ll perform virtually on a team. Job seekers need to convey personality, ability, and a strong work ethic via video conferencing. 

Take it seriously, and show your potential employer you can do it. 

See Video Interviews as an Opportunity 

There are lots of video interview tips, but most importantly, you should treat your video call interview as an opportunity. Reframe your mindset, and ask yourself, “What is a video interview’s benefit for me?” 

Hack your interview with comforts that will relax you. You can stick self-affirming notes on your laptop screen or brew a beloved artisan coffee in your favorite, interview-appropriate mug to drink during the interview.

Pump yourself up, and remember, you have a home-court advantage. It might help with those pre-interview jitters.

As more companies move job interviews online, workers need to adapt. By following these easy video interview tips, you can ace any virtual interview. 

Prepare your video interview background, choose an outfit that will look good on camera, and confirm all of your technology is working well. Don’t neglect all the basic protocols you’d follow for an in-person meeting, and view your virtual interview as an opportunity.

Do you have any tips for a video interview? Let Bluehost know in the comments below.

Machielle Thomas
Machielle Thomas | Content Manager
Machielle Thomas writes and curates web and email content for marketing professionals, small business owners, bloggers, and more.

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