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Virtual Interviewing: Four Simple Steps to Prepare

Posted by Edilma Rodriguez on May 11, 2020

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All of us (OK, most of us) have had dreams of being in front of the camera.

The glamour, the audience applauding, the big paycheck for our appearance. The reality is that dream may never happen to the extent you hope, however you could have the chance to still be on camera for a virtual interview to make your career dreams come true.

Preparation is key for virtual interviewing, the new normal in Job Search 101. Job seekers have two choices when it comes to virtual interviewing. Embrace it and have fun, or risk being passed over for the job due to a poor performance. Every day we are performing; we just haven’t done it with a webcam in our face. Get ready, because this is going to be an exhilarating experience.

Four Simple Steps to Prepare for a Virtual Interview:

1) Choose your “set,” your background

A job search is a professional environment and your background should reflect that. Make it well lit, clean, organized and pleasant to the interviewer on the other end. Make it simple with nothing that can be distracting. Make sure you check even the smallest of details – are there books with questionable titles or unnecessary décor items? The last thing you want is for the interviewer to be more interested in your background than you. Lastly, make sure the webcam is at eye level so the interviewer can see a full picture of you, not just your neck or forehead.

2) Do your homework

Research the company and learn as much as you can about them and the role you’re interviewing for. The obvious place to start is the company website, Internet search orlocal business journals. The more you know, the better. Ask yourself, how do your skills and work experience match this job? Be prepared to answer how your past accomplishments can add value to the company. Be ready with stories and examples. Use the STAR strategy (Situation, Task, Action, Result). If you’re not familiar with this approach, look it up and prepare.

3) Be mindful of your image

Did you know it only takes seven seconds for someone to make a first impression of you? Think about what you want the interviewer to see during your time together. You cannot interview in your pajamas, no matter how cute they are. Do not choose a business top with sweatpants. The camera could tilt. Be aware of your body language, remembering to sit up straight, just like your mother told you. Your hair, make-up if appropriate, body language and demeanor all make a difference. Before your interview, practice in front of a mirror; you’ll see things there you may want to tweak. Make sure you are well-hydrated beforehand so you can speak clearly. Lastly, don’t forget that you are making eye contact with a small green light on the computer near your camera. Put a sticky note close to it to remind yourself that is where and WHO you are looking at. Although this is virtual, it’s still a person-to-person meeting and it can be as warm and charming as you would have been in-person.

4) Eliminate distractions

Eliminate anything that could distract you. Yes, you love your dog, the most adorable dog in the world, but Sparky needs to be somewhere else during your interview. Does the garbage or lawn service come at a certain time? Make sure you schedule the interview time around anything that could disrupt you. Phones, laundry, dishwashers and microwaves can all make beeps. Make sure those things are off or away from you.

Most importantly, remember that all of your attention belongs in front of the camera. Your virtual interview is equally as important as an in-person interview and could be your ticket to success. You’re on. Lights, action, camera.

Written by Edilma Rodriguez

Edilma began her career with Goodwill in 2003 as an Employment Support Specialist. She worked with a variety of state programs including W2, Food Share and WIOA. Edilma is a key facilitator and presenter of workshops focusing on career readiness and job retention. Currently, Edilma is the manager at the Goodwill Workforce Connection Center in Milwaukee's Bay View neighborhood. Within this role she builds and connects with a variety of employers and community partners, serving as the primary contact for community outreach. Additionally, she assists clients with their employment search process, which includes resume writing, preparing to interview, and online applications. She has a B.A. in Communication and is a Licensed/Authorized Public Translator and Interpreter.
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Mission Support Center
Tel: (414) 847-4200

James O. Wright Center forWork & Training
Tel: (414) 353-6400

Metropolitan Chicago -
Tel: (312) 994-1440