We know that virtual interviewing – actually all interviewing – can be nerve racking and is a unique experience compared to a traditional interview. But in today’s world, it is necessary and many organizations use it. It has become a great way – now more than ever – to get to know you and interact with you to see if you will be the right fit. There are many things that you can do to prepare yourself for a virtual interview.​

From ensuring you have the correct equipment to choosing a location with appropriate lighting, you have complete control over the experience and how successful it can be. Ensure you make the right first impression by following the few simple tips below. These were designed with you in mind, to help you get to the next level in your career.

  1. Check your tech. First things first, you want to make sure your technology is appropriate and ready to go. The last thing you want is to sit down to start the interview and realize your camera doesn’t work or your microphone is muffled. So be sure you have all the equipment required and that it works properly (video camera, microphone, battery sufficiently charged, etc 
  2. Test the internet speed. Virtual interviews take place online. So to avoid issues with loading the questions or recording your responses, you’ll want to make sure you have a strong internet connection. Nothing is more stressful than being kicked out of an interview while recording  your response. So close other applications and take extra devices off the network (e.g., cell phone) to free bandwidth for maximum connectivity. Also, it may be helpful to use free websites (like speedtest.net) to check your internet speeds.
  3. Find a good spot. Finding the perfect spot may be harder than you realize. You want a location that balances comfortability and professionality. Ensure the background is pleasant/not distracting and has adequate (but not too much) lighting. Lighting is important for ensuring your face is clearly visible, so be sure to test your camera and find the right direction and angle before starting the interview.
  4. Sit somewhere quiet. As everyone knows, phone calls can be quite distracting and hard to hear if the other person has a lot of background noise. The same goes for virtual interviews. It’s important to find a spot that has minimal external noise, but also amplifies your voice just right. We suggest recording yourself talking at your typical level and pitch to make sure there isn’t an echo and that your voice is clear. If an echo does occur, consider using headphones with a microphone to record your interview. And while ensuring your recording is clear is important, you also should aim to reduce any potential for distractions for yourself. You don’t want to lose your train of thought while recording your response because someone walked past the hallway.
  5. Dress professionally. You may think that because you don’t have to leave your home, it’s fine to wear your comfiest sweatshirt. While you should wear what’s comfortable, it’s best to dress as if you’re walking into an actual office to conduct your interview.
  6. Focus your answers. Once you have the setup and your outfit just right, it’s time to focus on your responses. To make it easier to respond – and to provide the company with enough useful information – you should always try to provide your responses using the Situation-Action-Result (SAR) method. The first step when using the SAR method is to describe the situation: what were you doing, who was involved, or what went wrong, etc. Providing this information sets the stage for what you did or the action you took, which is the next step. Here’s where you lay out the things that you did (e.g., how you strived for the goal, who you went to for help, when you decided to step in). The final step is to describe the results or outcome of your actions (e.g., Were you successful? Why or why not? What else impacted the outcome?). Using this methodology when responding to interview questions ensures you provide useful information in a successful manner.

Employing these strategies will help your virtual interview to be a simple, easy process. Good luck! You got this.