As much of the Australian workforce continues to work from home – either as a permanent change, as a hybrid or mixed arrangement, or when the pandemic spreads through the community and requires a shutdown – virtual, or online job interviews continue to be the safest and preferred method for job candidates, as well as recruiters and hiring managers.

But for many job seekers, interviews on Zoom or Microsoft Teams and the like are still a new experience, so it’s a good idea to be across the basics, at the very least, in order to stand out from the pack and foresee any technical issues that might impact your interview performance.

Here’s a list of what to consider when preparing for a virtual job interview, and how to ace it on the day.

Before the interview

  • Familiarise yourself with the platform that you’ll be using. This gives you a chance to research, download and test the technology to minimise as many issues on the video call as possible.
  • Pick a suitable interview location. Find a desk, dining table or other space that reflects a home office as best as possible. Don’t conduct the virtual job interview outside, as wind, birds, traffic and other noises will be picked up by your microphone. Additionally, try to avoid the couch or sitting on the floor.
  • Adjust the height of your computer, laptop or mobile phone. Make sure you appear in frame and not at a weird angle. Mobile phones should not be held in your hand but propped on a shelf or stand.
  • Check your lighting. Is it too dark or too bright in your chosen area? 
  • Be wary of what’s in the background. Check there’s no mess behind you or anything that could be a distraction during the interview.
  • Do a test run to see how you appear on camera. Do you look neat and presentable? Do you appear happy? How will you show that you’re engaged with your interviewer?
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re using a recruitment consultant, ask them any other questions you might have about the virtual job interview. They are there to help you prepare.

During the interview

  • Wear professional interview attire. Although you’re at home, it’s important to present yourself as though you’re in a face-to-face interview. Wear something professional and avoid distracting patterns or stripes.
  • Be prepared for lag time. Always leave a few seconds’ gap between your interviewer speaking and your response. If the sound or video cuts down, don’t be afraid to politely ask your interviewer to repeat themselves.
  • Be equipped. Have your resume, cover letter, the job description, a notepad, pen and a glass of water nearby.
  • Look at the camera. Maintain eye contact with your interviewer by looking directly into the camera instead at their face or your face on screen.
  • Turn off notifications. Make sure notifications are turned off on your phone and computer to avoid interruptions.

After the interview

  • Wait a moment. Make sure you have logged off the platform properly before you relax or react. You don’t want to catch yourself still on the video call with your interviewer when you thought it had ended.
  • Thank your interviewer. Like you would after an in-person interview, it’s good practise to send a polite follow-up email to thank your interviewer for their time and keep the lines of communication open. 
  • If you used a recruiter. Get in touch with them to run them through how you think it went. Feedback from both parties is essential even once the interview is done.

While the world has changed and technology plays a bigger role in our lives, online and virtual job interviews are likely to remain a permanent feature in the recruitment process. Once you learn how to navigate them well and build up confidence, you’ll be able to put your best self forward, impress your interviewer and land your dream role.

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