Virtual Job Interview Tips

Written by
Carolyn Seward

Apr 12, 2022

Apr 12, 2022 • by Carolyn Seward

Photo credit: insta_photos/Adobe Stock

Although many people may be returning to the office, virtual interviewing is here to stay!

Employers are finding the process of interviewing candidates remotely to be highly efficient so many are planning to keep some form of remote interviewing in their process to select candidates.

Here are five tips to help you shine in your next remote interview:

1. Dress to impress

We have all enjoyed a more casual dress code over the past few years, but some candidates are taking it too far according to industry recruiters. Show recruiters you have put in the effort and value their time by looking your best in a business appropriate outfit. Don’t forget to include your bottom half; you may need to get up in the middle of the interview for an unexpected reason and you won’t want to show off your latest athletic wear. Solid colors as opposed to patterns tend to show better on camera.

And as a bonus, looking professional will often help you to feel more confident and induce your best performance – this applies for phone interviews also. 

2. Get your set-up ready

Test out your desk set-up in advance so you feel comfortable. Ensure that your camera is positioned at eye-level to give the best impression. Sometimes that might mean putting a few books or a box under your laptop.

What does your background look like? A plain wall is best, so try to avoid any posters or distractions in the background. While some platforms do offer virtual backgrounds, that may not always be available. Ideally a light behind your camera will give you the best look. Try placing a lamp or a low-cost ring light behind your camera, this will always look better than a light behind you which will cause shadows over your face.

The day before your interview always try to log onto the platform. If you are switching between laptops or using a new platform you might have to take the time to download applications or upgrades. Having this all tested in advance will allow you to relax.

3. Record your interview prep.

Curious how your answers sound? Wondering how your posture is? A great way to improve your first impression is to view yourself from the interviewer’s perspective. Set up some time and record yourself in a mock interview, either with a friend or with some scripted questions you can pull from the Internet.

Watch the playback and check out how you come across. Are you making eye contact with the camera, or looking at a different spot on your screen? Do you sound clear and confident? How is your background and lighting? Bonus marks are awarded for this technique because it helps you to practice your answers!

4. Build rapport

An important part of any interview is to build a connection with the recruiter. That small talk at the beginning is more important than you realize. Not only will it help you to feel more comfortable and confident, but it also helps the recruiter to see how you would be as a coworker, or working with clients. The human element is more important online than in person. Have a few questions in the back of your mind ready for some chit-chat. Just remember not to not get too personal!

If your interviewer makes note of something, you can remember that detail to include in your follow up thank-you e-mail. For example, did they mention they were planning to watch the hockey game? Bring that up with something like, “Hope you enjoyed the game ... I see your team won!” This helps to remind them of you and the connection you made; and shows your attention to detail.

5. Avoid Interruptions

Everyone understands working from home comes with extra distractions like pets, family members and even the doorbell. The recruiter certainly isn’t going to penalize you for any of these interruptions. However, it will cause you to lose focus and not perform your best. It can be harder to give it your all when you are worried about how they reacted to your wi-fi glitch.

Try to anticipate and minimize any interruptions in advance. Tell your roommates or put a note up on your office door. If you know your Internet can act up try to plug right into your modem. 

These small tips will help keep you calm so you can perform your best!

Click here to check out some career resources from the Insurance Institute of Canada.

Carolyn Seward is the manager of the Career Connections program with the Insurance Institute of Canada. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History, an Organizational Change Management certificate and is currently completing her CHRP in Ontario.