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Virtual Interviews: How to Land the Job Online

by michaeld on December 1, 2011

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You’ve made it to the interviewing stage with a prospective employer, and they’ve invited you to do a web conference interview. While the concept of being questioned via video may seem intimidating, the experience gives you a unique opportunity to showcase your talents.

Given their virtual nature, video conference interviews do present challenges that in-person interviews don’t. Keep the following tips in mind when preparing for and giving your web conference interview.

Understand the Technology

You’ll be nervous enough without experiencing technical difficulties. Before the interview, become comfortable with using the videoconferencing software. Make sure you understand all aspects of the system, and test it out on a friend or family member to ensure that the audio and video works well.

Rehearse

The intent of any interview is to familiarize the interviewer with you and your accomplishments. Prepare for your web conference appointment as you would any other interview by reviewing your resume. Practice discussing your various attributes and how you can benefit the company. Try rehearsing your presentation via web conference with someone willing to give you constructive feedback.

Dress Professionally

Wear the same business attire you would for an in-person interview. Don’t assume because it’s not a face-to-face meeting that you can fudge on formalities. Show your interest in the position and your respect for the company by wearing a suit or dress.

Consider Your Surroundings

Unlike interviewing at the company’s site, teleconferencing requires that you pay special attention to the location where the interview will take place. Look around your home or office for an uncluttered area with good lighting and make the area as aesthetically pleasing as possible. A messy background is distracting and reflects poorly on you. If necessary, suspend a backdrop behind you.

Avoid Interruptions and Distractions

Tell others with whom you live or work that you’ll be involved in a job interview and should not be disturbed. Make sure things are quiet, as sound carries easily through the microphone and could lead to unsolicited noises that distract from your professionalism. Turn your cell phone off. During the interview, avoid slouching, fidgeting or tapping items such as your foot or a pen.

Use Standard Interview Etiquette

Begin the interview by exchanging pleasantries and commenting on something positive that has happened at the company recently, or offer a compliment, such as for the company’s website. (Research the business before the interview so you have conversation material.)

Be Open and Direct

Answer questions in a confident manner. Never mumble or rush through an answer. Expand on your comments when appropriate to show the interviewer your willingness to be forthcoming and participatory.

Make eye contact by keeping your eyes on the webcam. Looking directly at the computer screen results in the interviewer seeing the top of your head, which distracts from the interview — even if the person understands the technology and why this is occurring. By keeping your eyes on the webcam, you’ll appear more sincere.

Ask Questions

Many interviewers will at some point inquire if you have any questions. Use this opportunity to ask for specific details of the position. Also show your professionalism and interest by inquiring about the company’s plans for future growth and its key objectives.

Gracefully Conclude

At the conclusion of the interview, offer an informal closing statement that includes a thank you for the interview, and finish by expressing your interest in the position.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Peter Jones December 14, 2011 at 8:01 am

Great article as it is becoming more and more common to be interviewed through webcam. Technical difficulties is something that unfortunately if it did happen would be difficult to control…I’ve had one before and my main thing was to try to remember to make sure I wouldn’t experience any interruptions as I knew that would really put the interviewer off!

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