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Virtual Interview Tips

Virtual interviews can be stressful and intimidating, but proper preparation and perspective can make a significant difference.

Before the Interview

Research the company –

Research is crucial regardless of the where and how of an interview. Take time to read the company website.

  • Learn their purpose, value, and mission statement.
  • Study their history.
  • Know their competitors and their pain points.
  • If possible, speak to someone who currently works for the company and will give you insight.

Location –

Choosing the right location for your virtual interview is essential. (The back corner of your local coffee shop is not a good choice.) An ideal spot is in a home office with the door closed. If this isn’t an option, find something similar. The key is a quiet space where you will not be interrupted. Declutter if necessary. A tidy, organized background suggests you are an efficient, organized worker.

  • Choose a chair that naturally encourages you to sit up straight
  • Find the best distance from your webcam for screen placement. You want to be close enough that they can read your facial expressions but not so close that your chin is chopped off or you come across as in their face.
  • If you have multiple screens, ensure you face the webcam – nobody wants to interview your profile.
  • Be sure the area is well-lit. Natural light or soft, warm lighting is best.

Take care of technology –

  • Test your internet connection. Check it several hours or a day ahead so you have time to troubleshoot issues. Then, recheck it 20 – 30 minutes before the interview.
  • Download any apps you will need and confirm that they are working correctly.
  • If you plan to use your phone, tablet, or laptop, you will need a stand. Holding it creates distracting movement during the interview.
  • Fully charge all electronic equipment.
  • Test your webcam and microphone.

Choose professional attire –

  • Dress as you would for an onsite, in-person interview. That means proper, professional attire for your entire outfit. (Sure, the interviewer may only see from the waist up for 95% of the interview time, but you never know when you might need to stand or inadvertently show more when reaching for something.)
  • Neutral, solid colors, and basic designs look best on camera and present a professional image.
  • Double-check your outfit the day before your interview to ensure it is washed, pressed, and ready.
  • A professional appearance will increase your confidence.

Set up a mock interview with a friend –

  • Dress the part. Ask for feedback on your apparel.
  • Adjust the lighting and chair position until they give you the thumbs up.
  • Adjust your microphone volume and practice projecting your voice. You want to be clearly understood by the interviewer(s) without shouting.
  • Prepare a list of typical questions and practice your answers.

At the Interview

Follow typical interview guidelines –

  • Maintain eye contact by looking directly into the webcam
  • Pay attention to your posture, but relax –you aren’t a soldier in formation. Let your confidence shine through positive body language. Smile.
  • Accommodate that delay that sometimes occurs in digital connections. Wait until they finish speaking, pause briefly, and then reply.
  • Ask thoughtful questions that reveal your knowledge of the company, understanding of the industry, and interest in the position.
  • Express your appreciation for the opportunity to interview.
  • Ask them what the next step is, when you can expect to hear back,  and if they need additional information from you.

After the Interview

Follow-up can put you at the top of the list

  • Immediately (at least on the same day), email the interviewer(s), thanking them again for the opportunity to interview.
  • Include a brief statement sharing why you believe you are the right choice and what you will do for the company.
  • Quote back a relevant comment that they made during the interview.
  • If you have another pertinent question, that’s fine, but don’t ask something they would expect you to know.
  • Big tip: Don’t skip the email follow-up, but in addition to it, send a written thank you to the interviewer(s). It may seem outdated in our digital world, but it is always well-received and is one of the best ways to ensure you stand out.

Are you looking for a new position in 2022? Contact The Robert Joseph Group. We help top accounting and finance talent connect with the position that best fits their situation, earning that coveted interview. Whether you seek a temporary or more permanent role, we offer the best in Accounting and Finance opportunities.