Six Tips for a Successful Virtual Interview
Virtual interviews have become quite common in today’s business world. Here are six ways to improve your online interviewing skills and win that internship or new job opportunity. Don’t forget to check out Niagara College – Toronto’s (NCT) Career Services video series with our Career Services Placement Manager, Rizwan, for more tips on the interview process. Current students can also register for NCT’s and TSoM’s upcoming Virtual Career and Internship Fair on February 10, 2022 to put their skills into practice!
1. Testing, 1...2…3
Always test your technology before your interview. Do you have all the necessary technical requirements such as a stable internet connection, the latest updates of video conferencing apps like Zoom, and are your devices fully charged? You might also want to ensure your email address is professional and doesn’t include random numbers or letters (email@example.com may have been funny in high school, but it’s time for an update if you want to be taken seriously). A good tip is to include your first and last name, or maybe an initial and middle name if necessary to distinguish yourself from other email users.
2. Set the Scene and Limit Distractions
Make sure your background is neutral, tidy, and professional. Resist the urge to use virtual backgrounds as those can be distracting and look glitchy. Good lighting is key - you don’t want your screen too dark or glaringly bright; natural light is a safe bet. Your interview environment should also be quiet and free from interruptions by a loud roommate, a pet, or noisy neighbours who happen to be renovating their apartment. Of course, some outside noises are out of our control, but do your best to lessen any potential disruptions and if they do occur, simply apologize and move on.
3. Preparation is Key
A common English phrase is practice makes perfect, which means the more you practice something, the better you get. Do your research on any companies interviewing you and prepare answers for common interview questions. Make sure to check out NCT’s career services workshops to perfect your responses and try role-playing interview scenarios with a friend or fellow student. Try to answer questions naturally – don’t memorize your entire answer, just have a few key phrases you are comfortable with using during an interview. Have your resume and the job description on hand, as well as know the main points you wish to make about your qualifications and how you would be a good fit for the job.
4. Dress for Success and Be Mindful of Body Language
Even though your camera is usually aimed from the waist up or higher, make sure you dress professionally from head to toe. Not only will this subconsciously affect your body language, it will also spare you from any embarrassing moments (everyone’s seen that interviewer who was caught in his shorts). Even proper footwear, while likely not onscreen, will make you sit up straighter and feel more confident in your seat. Be mindful of your body language, speak in a clear and pleasant tone, nod and smile when appropriate, and look directly at the camera and not at your own picture. If you wear make-up, make sure it is not distracting and remember, a little powder can be useful in covering up a shiny face that can sometimes happen onscreen.
5. Connect and Be Yourself
Though sometimes easier said than done, try to relax. Ground yourself before the interview by taking several slow and deep breaths. Maintain appropriate eye contact and be friendly and enthusiastic about the interview. Listen carefully and speak clearly. Bonus points if you can connect with the interviewer on some common ground, such as having a shared interest.
6. Don’t Forget to Follow-Up
Thank the interviewer for their time and follow up with an email the next day to express your appreciation for the opportunity. You can briefly express why you think you’d be a good fit for the position and company. Try to personalize the message if you can, especially if there was a topic you and the interviewer connected on.
Remember, preparation and practice are key to a good interview. Even if you don’t end up gaining the position, it’s still a valuable opportunity to network, and hiring managers may keep you in mind for another position that could be a better fit. Always remain professional and friendly and you never know what doors will open for you!
NCT is always here to help their students on their pathway to successful careers with our dedicated support teams and comprehensive resources. Questions about our programs? Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org where we will be happy to answer all of your questions about our new campus in the center of downtown Toronto.
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