As the coronavirus pandemic drags on, it is likely that any interview you attend—whether for a job, an internship, or a volunteer position—will be conducted virtually. While Google is rife with articles offering tips and tricks for acing job interviews, advice about how to handle the particulars of interviews conducted virtually is less common. Read on for some helpful best practices.
Before Your Interview
Prior to your interview, there are some special steps you should take to prepare (in addition to traditional interview prep). First, make sure that all the technology on your end works, including your camera, microphone, speakers, and internet connection. If you are using a laptop, be sure that it is charged or plugged in before the interview begins. Next, consider your environment. Make sure that your location offers good lighting; consider removing any distractions in the background; ensure that you will have quiet during the interview. Lastly, be sure to have anything you might need during the interview at your disposal so that you do not need to get up once the video call begins. Consider having a copy of your resume, a notepad and pen, and a glass of water nearby, as well as any notes you want to reference during the conversation.
During Your Interview:
The key to a good interview is making a solid connection with your interviewers. Unfortunately, connecting is much more difficult to do virtually than in person. As such, you should be particularly conscious of your body language throughout the conversation: remember to smile, make eye contact, speak clearly, and indicate that you are listening.
Two key items that carry over from normal interview etiquette bear emphasis here: being on time and dressing professionally. Though a virtual interview might feel more casual than an in-person one (after all, you are probably not even leaving your house to attend!), that is not the case. Be sure to enter the call on time (that means call in a few minutes early to be sure that there are no technological issues) and make sure that you are dressed appropriately. Be sure to dress as professionally as you would for an in-person interview. And although it may be tempting to only dress professionally up top (since that is the portion of you that your interviewers can see), keep in mind that in the event that you have to stand up for something, a collared shirt paired with lounge shorts is not a good look.
After Your Interview:
Just like with an in-person job interview, be sure to follow up afterward. Send separate thank-you notes to each interviewer. You can use your best judgment regarding whether you think a written or an emailed thank-you note is appropriate (though we would suggest that a handwritten note is less common these days so will perhaps help you stand out). In your note, try to mention something specific about your interview that will help the reader remember clearly who you are.