If you're looking for a new job right now, you're likely doing so remotely. Typically, once you get to a certain phase of an interview process, you go on-site for in-person interviews. However, with the move to remote work due to COVID-19, these conversations have now become virtual. Read on for our tips on how to ace a virtual interview.

Woman sitting at laptop

Secure your workspace

When preparing for your video call, find the right spot. If you don’t have a private office space in your home, find a quiet space where you can focus. You’ll want a private area away from the sounds of your dog, roommate, or kids.

Ideally, you’ll want to set up a desk area for your computer and anything else you may need. Make sure that the area showing in the camera frame is tidy – hide any piles of clothes, shoes, shopping bags, or whatever else you may have lying around. Face your computer towards a neutral wall as you want a nice clean backdrop for your interview. Test out your setup prior to the interview to make sure everything looks good. Do you need to adjust the light? Should you move your computer back or up to best fit your profile? Etc.

Lastly, before joining the video call, double check that your camera and audio are on, your WiFi signal is strong, and your computer is fully charged. While interviewers will understand technical difficulties, preparation will make things run smoothly from the get-go.

These are some items you may also want to have handy during your interview:

  • Sticky notes: Write down the most important topics you wish to cover during the interview and attach the sticky note right under your computer’s camera.
  • Notepad & pen: Jot down quick notes during the interview and come prepared with questions to ask at the end. If this is an on-site position, be sure to ask questions about the office and company culture - things you would normally get a glimpse into during an in-person interview.
  • Resume: Your interviewer will most likely ask questions based on the information on your resume, so be ready to reference it.
  • Glass of water: You’ll likely be talking quite a bit, so have something to drink.

Be enthusiastic

Interviewing in-person allows your personality to shine through. So, while video calls might seem less personal and more rigid, always be sure to put your best foot forward. A great way to do this is by showing enthusiasm during each and every interview. If you’re really excited about a company, let them know! Explain what excites you most – whether it’s the specific role, the team you’d join, the company mission and values, or the company culture. Do your research beforehand and learn everything you can. What are the backgrounds of the people you’ll be interviewing with? Is there any recent news surrounding the company? What do they post on their social media accounts? Do they have any interesting posts on their blog? The more you can reference about the company and the team specifically, the better.

How else can you show enthusiasm? Body language! Don’t forget to smile and utilize body language during remote interviews. Make an effort to maintain eye contact with the interviewer by looking directly at the camera (yes, we know it can be tempting to look at the screen). Show you’re an active listener – react to the interviewer with head nods, positive facial expressions, and of course, smiles.

Dress the part

While the bottom half of your outfit doesn’t always show, be sure to fully dress the part to make put yourself in the right mindset. Plus, you never know if you'll need to stand up for any reason. Before choosing your go-to interview outfit, determine the company’s dress code. Check out their social media accounts (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, etc.) and company website for inspiration. If they appear more casual (jeans and T-shirt type of company), a safe bet would be to wear a nice shirt and skip the jacket. Even though you won’t physically be in the office, you want the interviewer to see that you put some effort into how you present yourself.

Man sitting at laptop with briefcase

Whether you’re eagerly seeking your next role or passively keeping an eye on the market, be prepared to interview remotely. While virtually connecting with companies might seem tricky, it’s a great way to propel your career during this time of uncertainty. Stay positive and determined, and remember – Vettery is here to support you each step of the way!