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  • Preparing for a virtual interview

    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 that are seeking ways to save time and money are now turning to virtual interviews.

    In fact, an OfficeTeam survey revealed that 6 in 10 companies use video technology to conduct employment interviews. Thirteen percent of respondents also said their organizations would increase their use of video interviews in the future, while 85 percent said the number of video interviews would remain the same.

    If you're nearing graduation and 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 virtual 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 more about tips for a successful job interview.

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

    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 sends a professional vibe-a room that has a desk and/or bookshelves is a great choice. Most importantly, make sure your environment is void of background noise (television, the buzzing of a fan) and personal items (laundry, kid toys) and that you've eliminated the possibility of interruptions.  

    Test the Technology

    Make sure that all of your technology is in order. That means you've downloaded and tested the video software the company would like to use (most companies use Skype), your Internet connection is secure, and the webcam properly functions. If you need to call into a phone land line or are using a cell phone, here's a phone interview tip: make sure your batteries are fully charged!

    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. Here's a video interviewing tip: dress 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 causal. Wear simple patterns, neutral colors, and basic jewelry to help keep the interviewer's focus solely on you.

    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 there are things you can do 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.  

    Be Confident

    Even if you've never done a virtual interview before, don't let on that this is a new experience. 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 comfortable in a virtual environment is a critical part of the job.

    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) 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.

    Now that you've got the tips to prepare for a virtual interview, put the finishing touches on your resume and cover letter and start applying for your dream job. Good luck!

     

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