More than half of employers now use video or phone interviewing as one of their college recruiting tools. In many ways, you’ll prepare for these virtual interviews—and perform in them—just as you would for a face-to-face interview.
But virtual interviewing is also its own art form (particularly when it comes to interviewing via video). Whether you’re interacting with an employer live on the phone or on screen, or are instead recording your responses to a set of questions delivered asynchronously by a computer, you want to make sure your best self shines through.
Check Your Tech
You will typically use free software programs to interact, and you yourself will be on a computer or telephone. For video interviews, make sure you have access to a computer that is equipped with a webcam and microphone.
You need to make sure all this technology works, too—well ahead of time. (This includes your Internet connection and phone reception.)
Eliminate Background Distractions
From both a visual and an audio standpoint, make sure the setting you pick is quiet and distraction-free.
If you’re interviewing from your residence, ask your roommate(s) to keep the noise down. If you’re interviewing via video, make sure the room you’re in is well lit so that the interviewer can see you clearly.
You also want to make sure that nothing in the background reveals personally identifying information you would not want to share.
Dress the Part—in Two Respects
You always want to dress wisely, in a way that makes sense for both the job/employer itself as well as for your own personal identity. But on camera especially, you also need to take technical factors into account.
Solid colors work best since stripes can sometimes look odd.
Experiment a bit beforehand, with the help of a friend, to get a sense of how you look best on camera.
Speak Clearly, into the Microphone
Be sure you talk loudly enough to be heard, but not so loudly as to be overbearing.
Confirm as well that your computer’s/phone’s microphone is working properly, and that it is set to pick up your voice easily.
Look at the Camera, Not at Your Counterpart on the Screen
If you spend an entire video interview looking at your interviewer’s face on your computer screen—and not instead at your computer’s webcam—you will end up appearing to look down the whole time instead of looking the interviewer in the eye.
Put your computer at eye level as you’re sitting so that its webcam will be more or less at eye level as well.
Adopt a “Yes, I’ll Practice” Mindset
Television news anchors learn to perform well on camera. It looks easy because they have practiced.
You, too, will need to practice communicating on camera and/or on the phone. The more you do, the better you’ll get—and the better your chances will be for interviewing well and landing the job.