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Preparing for a Virtual Interview

Updated: May 10


Your online job interview is an opportunity for a better future, and naturally you want to give a good impression. But preparing for an interview online is quite different to a face-to-face interview. There are different challenges, and the same technology that makes these modern interviews possible, can be the reason they go wrong.

 

So, familiarize yourself with your technology and read these helpful tips to make the best of your opportunity, and show your interviewer what you've got!

 

Managing Video-Conferencing Technology


During a virtual interview, you may have technical issues such as a poor internet connection, no sound, or problems with the video conferencing software. Nothing can make you stress out like technical problems in the middle of an online interview! By preparing before the big day, you can minimize the risk of these issues affecting the quality of your interview.

 

Here is some technical guidance to help you stay calm and professional during your online interview:

 

How to Test Your Webcam


Windows: Use the built-in Camera app to test your camera is working. To open the Camera app, click the Start button, type "Camera" into the search bar. Then click on the app in the search results.

 

 

Mac: Use the built-in Photo Booth app to test your camera is working. To open Photo Booth, press Command + Space to open Spotlight Search, type "Photo Booth," and hit Enter.

 


When you are sure your camera it is turned on and working properly, move it so that your whole face is clear for your interviewer to see. Make sure your lighting is not coming from behind you, and that it is bright enough that your interviewer can see your facial expressions and body language easily. Click here for more guidance on setting up a great video conferencing background.

 

How to Test Your Microphone


Windows:

  • To test your microphone, right-click the speaker icon in the taskbar and select "Open Sound settings."

  • Scroll down to the "Input" section and select your microphone from the "Choose your input device" dropdown menu.

  • Speak into the microphone and watch the "Test your microphone" section for a visual indication that it's working.  


 

Mac:

  • Click the Apple menu, select "System Preferences," and choose "Sound."

  • Click the "Input" tab, select your microphone from the list, and speak into the microphone.

  • The "Input level" indicator will show if the microphone is picking up sound.


Test your microphone by listening to the audio through your computer or device. Try to minimize background noise, and use a headset with a noise-canceling mic if you can. Click here for more detailed guidance on video call and interview best practices.

 

Online Test Tools



 

How to Test Your Internet Connection


  • Make sure you have a strong and stable internet connection by running a speed test like speedtest.net. You can also type "speed test" into Google search and run a speed test there!


  • You will need a download speed of at least 4 Mbps for a stable video conference call, but 25 Mbps + will get you the highest quality HD video and the most stable screensharing experience.


Click here for a quick technical guide to maximizing your internet connection speed.

 

Common Video Conferencing Tools


Virtual interviews are mostly through video conferencing platforms. Here are some of the most commonly used platforms and where to find more information and support:



Familiarize Yourself with Video Conferencing Tools


Before your virtual interview, familiarize yourself with the specific video conferencing tool the interviewer is using.


  • Join a meeting using a link or through the Teams calendar

  • Mute/unmute your microphone and turn your camera on/off

  • Learn how to screen share

  • Use the text chat function

  • Adjust the audio and video settings

  • Troubleshoot common connection problems


By familiarizing yourself with video conferencing tools, you can make sure you have a smooth and professional virtual interview experience. It allows you to communicate effectively, reduces your stress, demonstrates your adaptability, and helps you to manage your time on the day.

 

Dress Professionally


In virtual interviews, your professional appearance demonstrates your seriousness about the job and respect for your interviewer's time. Even though the interviewer may not see your entire outfit, you should still wear appropriate clothes on your lower half as you may have to stand up to deal with an emergency or answer the door! This includes wearing clothes that are clean, ironed, and free of any distracting patterns or logos. Click here for a more detailed guide on best practices when it comes to your appearance for a virtual meeting.

 

Research the Company


Researching the company you are applying to is an essential part of preparing for a virtual interview. It helps you answer interview questions specifically for that company, demonstrate your interest in the company and its values, and show how good a fit you are for the role. Here are some strategies for researching the company effectively:


  • Company website: Start by visiting the company's website to gain a detailed understanding of its history, mission, values, products, and services. Pay special attention to the "About Us", "Company", and "Mission Statement" sections, as well as their blog or news page, for any recent updates or announcements.  

  • Social media channels: Follow the company's social media accounts, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. These platforms offer insights into the company's culture, how they interact with customers and employees, and any recent achievements, events, or projects.  

  • News articles and press releases: Search for recent news articles or press releases about the company to read about its current focus, industry standing, and accomplishments. This information can help you understand the company's direction and demonstrate that you are well-informed during your interview.  

  • Industry reports and trends: Research the industry the company operates in to learn about market trends, challenges, and competitors. This knowledge will help you discuss relevant topics during your interview and show that you have a wide understanding of the company's market.  

  • Employee reviews and testimonials: Websites like Glassdoor and Indeed offer employee reviews, which can have insider information about company culture, working environment, and potential challenges. Remember that these reviews are subjective, so think of them as just one of many sources of information.  

  • Network with current or former employees: Connect with people who currently work, or have previously worked, at the company through platforms like LinkedIn or at conferences. These connections can give you valuable first-hand information about company culture and expectations, as well as advice on how to succeed in the interview process.  

  • Prepare company-specific questions: Based on your research, prepare thoughtful questions to ask during your interview. This will demonstrate your genuine interest in the company and help you gather additional information, to decide if the role and organization are a good fit for you. In a way, this is your opportunity to interview the company!


Wrap Up


We have covered a lot of important information in this article, so here is a quick reminder of the most important tips to get you ready for your virtual job interview:


  • Learn how to use the video-conferencing software you will be using.

  • Test your microphone and webcam to make sure they are working.

  • Test your internet connection to make sure you have a good signal if on Wi-Fi, or that you can connect using a cable.

  • Make yourself look clean, professional, and approachable.

  • Research the company you are applying for a position in.

  • Think of some questions that you want to know about the company, that are not easily answered with a quick Google search.


If you would like more detailed information on buying good quality sound and video equipment, making sure you have the right background and lighting, and even how to dress to impress, read our guide on Video Call and Interview Best Practices.

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