Our world is slowly turning virtual! The daily commute has transformed into a stroll to the home office, and office spaces have given way to virtual meeting rooms. Even the future of recruitment is no longer limited to physical interviews. Instead, interviews take place through the digital domain of computers, screens, and cameras.
If you’re looking to land your dream job today, chances are you will be scheduled to meet your future employer online. Let this article empower you on how to navigate today’s new world of job interviews and stay ahead of the game!
8 Best Practices in Mastering the Art of Virtual Interviews and Remote Applications
The traditional interviews we have grown accustomed to have totally changed since the dawn of technology. Whoever thought you could secure a job only by sitting in front of your computer screen and attending video interviews?
As simple as it sounds, there are some aspects that you may have overlooked. Here are eight helpful virtual interview tips that can help you adapt to the current hiring trends and increase your chances of getting the job.
1. Dress for the Job, Not Your Couch
Just because you’ll stay home and do a video remote interview doesn’t mean you should wear anything you like. Dress professionally, like you would prepare for live, in-person interviews. It’s still an interview, and dressing appropriately will show your sincerity for the position.
Our rule of thumb is to dress one step nicer than the standard attire for the company. If you’re not sure, stick to a business casual type of outfit; being a little overdressed is better than underdressed. And don’t wear shorts or pajamas, even though you think people will just see the top of your body. Sometimes, you have to stand up unexpectedly (and there are plenty of video call interview fails to prove it).
2. Test Your Technology
Your computer, internet, headphones, camera, and everything in between will be your main tools for the interview. While most would brush it off and say it’s fine during the interview, 88 percent of recruiters revealed their number one pet peeve during a virtual interview is an unstable internet connection.¹
While it’s never the candidate’s fault, it’s still your responsibility to ensure the interview runs smoothly. Aside from having your phone’s mobile data as a backup internet connection, you can connect your computer directly to the modem via a LAN cable or go somewhere you know has solid internet service.
3. Practice Makes Perfect, Memorizing Doesn’t
Even in an in-person interview, sounding robotic hasn’t done candidates any good—whether you’re asking, answering, or storytelling. Recruiters are highly trained individuals who can easily distinguish whether someone is genuine or just reading from a script.
Practice in front of the mirror and look at yourself. Do you seem confident and genuine? You can also ask a friend or a family member to practice with you. Ask them to give honest feedback for you to be able to refine your presentation or rehearse more.
4. Prepare How You Would for a Real Interview
Often, virtual interviews aren’t too different from traditional interviews. You’ll be asked questions you need to answer to the best of your ability, like why you decided to leave your previous company. At a minimum, you still need to prepare and provide a brief overview of yourself and your professional journey.
Additionally, learn about the company and the industry by visiting their website, looking for industry trends, or checking what other employees say about the company. Aside from having a deeper understanding and seeing how you’ll fit within the organization, this will prepare you as you proceed with the application.
Be confident and keep your focus. Make sure to prepare for some of the common in-person and virtual interview questions and answers, like “Tell me something about yourself,” “What are your strengths and weaknesses,” or “Why are you leaving your current role?” We recommend using the STAR method when answering these questions.² This method allows you to provide well-structured, comprehensive responses.
Start by setting the stage with a detailed description of the specific situation or context in which the experience or challenge occurred.
Next, explain the task or goal assigned in that situation. Clarify what was expected of you and the objectives you needed to achieve.
Outline the actions you took to address the task or situation. Focus on your personal contributions, skills, and decision-making process. Explain the steps you took and the rationale behind your choices.
Conclude your response by highlighting the positive outcomes or results of your actions. Describe what you accomplished and, whenever possible, quantify your achievements using metrics or specific accomplishments to showcase your success.
5. Make Your Background Presentable
Being in a virtual interview means being in an appropriate location because other attendees can see your background. While backgrounds don’t necessarily tell if you’re the right candidate, it’s still best to keep your background professional, tidy, and presentable by maintaining the right practices.
If you need to do it in the living room, ensure people won’t casually walk in the background. If it’s in the kitchen or dining area, ensure it’s tidy. Or better yet, prepare a virtual background effect, like a coffeehouse or a virtual office cubicle. Here are a few tips:
- Look for an area in your home that has good lighting.
- Setup near a window or in front of a blank wall.
- If you need to, go to a different workspace.
6. Keep Distractions to a Minimum
Being at home can cause multiple distractions during an interview. It could be the TV’s loud volume, dogs barking, or cars zooming that could break your focus. Avoid these distractions by choosing the best spot in the house or getting noise-canceling headphones.
While you want to ensure you have other devices as backups, set your mobile devices and laptops aside unless you need them. Let everyone in the house know about your interview so they know not to interrupt you and to minimize the noise they make.
7. Check Your Tone and Body Language
According to Albert Mehrabian, a retired Professor of Psychology and body language researcher from the University of California, communication is 55 percent nonverbal, 38 percent vocal, and 7 percent through words.³ Recruiters often feel when a candidate is genuine or not through their body language, even when the interview is through video.
- Use your body language to convey confidence and determination.
- Pay attention to your facial expressions and show that you are intently listening.
- Use your hands when speaking, like you would in a normal conversation.
- Look directly at the camera and avoid looking around.
- If you’re referencing a document on a second screen, tell them that’s what you’re doing.
8. Conduct a Test Run
Last, but most definitely not least, is to ensure you conduct a test. Before the interview day, check everything from your internet connection to hardware, including your location and background.
Do a test video call with someone you know to check the quality of the connection, the sound, your voice, the background, and where you’ll sit.
Preparation Is as Good as Execution
Don’t overthink it! Be thoughtful and be yourself.
There are nuances when it comes to virtual interviews, which could affect your job search. However, virtual interviewing is not much different from interviewing at a physical office. You’ll want to demonstrate your enthusiasm for the organization and the value you can bring to it.
Be sure to apply these tips, and good luck in your next role!
ACE YOUR INTERVIEWS AND INCREASE YOUR CHANCES OF GETTING HIRED WITH PORTFOLIO CREATIVE
Achieving outstanding results with your interview is one thing, but connecting to the best job for your skills and expertise is another. Let us help you!
At Portfolio Creative, we fully understand the ever-changing landscape of job hunting in the marketing and creative industry. We’d love to assist you in finding the perfect job while ensuring your journey will be memorable and worthwhile.
Reach out to us and launch your career path to new heights with Portfolio Creative!
1. Laker, Benjamin, et al. “4 Tips to Nail a Virtual Job Interview.” Harvard Business Review, 09 Mar. 2021, hbr.org/4-tips-to-nail-a-virtual-job-interview.
2. Boogaard, Kat. “The STAR Method: The Secret to Acing Your Next Job Interview” The Muse, 2 Jul. 2022, www.themuse.com/star-interview-method.
3. “How Much of Communication Is Nonverbal?” The University of Texas Permian Basin, online.utpb.edu/how-much-of-communication-is-nonverbal. 12 Sep. 2023.