While telephone interviews are still common in the hiring process, virtual interviews are gaining in popularity. Virtual interviews are a simple, cost and time effective way of interviewing over long distances. Compared to a phone interview, however, there are a few extra things to keep in mind.
Before the Interview
- Download and register on the program you will be using. (Very often this will be Skype or Google Hangout)
- Use an appropriate username. Just like an email address, it should be professional.
- Test and check the hardware your will be using. Does your webcam and microphone work? Have you adjusted the settings of the program for maximum quality and run speed?
- Make sure there is reliable Wi-Fi or internet connection where the interview will take place.
- Consider your background. This means no inappropriate or distracting items in view of the camera i.e. a messy room. Ask roommates or others to stay out of the room on interview day. Secure pets in another room.
- Check room lighting to make sure you are easily visible in the camera. Look for dark shadows or excess brightness.
- Practice using the program (with appropriate background, etc.) with a friend to make sure everything is ready.
- Research the company and position, read over commonly asked interview questions and prepare your answers.
- If you are interviewing on a program like HireVue, you may not actually be talking to a person. HireVue uses text question which you read and then are given an allotted time to respond. Know the time limit (usually three minutes) and practice keeping your answers to that length.
- Practice using InterviewStream at the Center for Career Development & Academic Exploration or through Handshake.
On Interview Day
- Choose professional attire that will show up well on camera. Dark, subdued colors do better than light and bright ones.
- Take just as much care for your appearance as you would for an in person interview. New technology allows for life-like video quality, so attention to detail is important.
- Close all nonessential programs and processes to make the most of your computer’s speed
- Do a final test on the equipment to ensure smooth communication.
- Keep a notepad handy so you can easily write notes during the interview.
During the Interview
- Use your notes when needed, but do not rely on them more than you would in a live interview.
- Talk and look into the camera (instead of the computer screen). Especially while answering questions. Do not look around your room or away from the camera.
- Do not do anything else on the computer while interviewing. If you are doing anything else on your computer, it will be obvious to the employer.
- Make sure to use the picture-in-picture so you can see how you will look to the interviewer.
After the Interview
- Establish next steps: the interviewer will usually explain what you can expect to happen next: an email or another phone call from the interviewer or someone else in the company. If not, ask.
- Before the telephone interview is ended, be sure you have the interviewer’s name, title, and contact information.
- Send a brief thank you note by mail or email. Refer to the interview, mention one or two items that were discussed and reiterate your interest in the position and their company.