July 30, 2020  |  Purdue University Global

Over the past decade, technology advances have dramatically changed the face of the recruitment and hiring process. Today companies can identify candidates and learn all about them through their social media profiles, particularly on LinkedIn. Additionally, companies seeking ways to save time and money are now turning to video interviews.

In a 2018 LinkedIn recruiting report, 18% of surveyed companies said video interviews were the most useful interviewing innovation. The same report said that KPMG Australia, a global audit, tax, and advisory firm, used video interviews to cut the number of in-person interviews from thousands to hundreds, freeing up significant recruiter time. And that was 2018, long before the coronavirus pandemic made working from home the “new normal,” according to the Society for Human Resources Management.

If you're ready to pursue a new career or change roles within your field, now's the time to start prepping for job interviews. Whether you're preparing for a video interview or an in-person one, many of the same rules apply. Start by doing your homework on the company and the job requirements, practice responding to frequently asked questions, know why you are the right candidate for the job, and so on.

>> Learn the Top 6 Soft Skills That Employers Want in 2020

But if you're preparing for a virtual interview, you need some specific video interview tips. Here are six guidelines for a virtual interview.

1. Prepare the Setting

Set the stage for a professional meeting by choosing a quiet location. If possible, position your computer and webcam so there's a blank wall behind you. That way the interviewer's attention will stay on you. If that's not possible, choose a space that has a professional appearance—a room that has a desk or bookshelves is a great choice. Most importantly, make sure your environment is free of background noise (television, the buzzing of a fan) and personal items (laundry, kid toys) and that you've eliminated the possibility of interruptions.

2. Test the Technology

Make sure that all of your technology is working as expected. That means you've downloaded and tested the video software that will be used during the interview (many companies use tools like Skype or Zoom), your internet connection is secure, and the webcam and microphone properly function. If you need to call into a conference line using a cell phone, make sure your battery is fully charged.

3. Dress for the Part

You might be doing the interview from home, but that doesn't mean it's okay to wear your everyday clothes. Indeed.com recommends dressing the same way you'd dress for an interview at the company's office. If you're unsure of what to wear, always err on the side of more professional than casual.

4. Body Language

The way you express yourself with body language becomes even more critical when a job interview is conducted virtually. You can no longer rely on physical interaction like hand-shaking, but you can do some things to build a connection with the interviewer. Sit up straight, smile, and look at the webcam rather than at the computer screen to create the illusion of eye contact. Remember to keep your energy level up too, because your enthusiasm for the job may be harder to read from miles away. 

5. Be Confident

Video interviews are a new experience for many people, so you don’t need to feel embarrassed if this is your first time interviewing in this way. Just be prepared and handle any issues that arise quickly and with confidence. If you're preparing for a career in which you'll work with others in various locations around the country or the world, like in business or information technology (IT), being technologically confident and able to troubleshoot effectively in a virtual environment is a critical part of the job. Your virtual interview is a great time to demonstrate this skill.

6. Practice Makes Perfect

Ask a friend or family member to play the role of the interviewer in a few trial runs. Conducting a mock interview will help you identify any issues (such as a faulty webcam or microphone) that need to be fixed before the real thing. It will also ease your concerns about how you look and sound to someone on the other end of the connection.

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