By Tony Recalde

One legacy of the pandemic is that virtual interviews – whether conducted over Zoom or some other teleconferencing platform – fill a routine part of the recruiting process.

For hiring managers and job seekers alike, this approach brings more efficiency and timeliness to the interview experience. It’s even more convenient if you want a job that’s remote, in another part of the state or even across the country. Today, 93% of employers plan to keep virtual interviews, and nearly a quarter are going to full virtual hiring.

If you’re in the job market and haven’t been through a virtual interview yet, this is a skill that’ll help you land your next career offer. Over the past two years, Far West Staffing Services has coached candidates on how to make the most of virtual interviews and use them to their advantage, and we continue to prepare people with practice sessions and other tips.

Here are some emerging best practices for virtual interviews that will help you put your best face forward.

  1. Know how to work your technology.

Between the end of 2019 and mid-year 2020, daily users on Zoom jumped from 10 million to 300 million, and that number only continues to grow. Hiring managers today expect you to know how to turn on your video, unmute your microphone and make sure you plugged in or charged your computer so the screen doesn’t go black in the middle of the session.

Only use your phone or other mobile device if you don’t have access to a computer, which offers greater stability and comes across as more professional. Many of the jobs we specialize in at Far West Staffing Services are technology roles, and you should consider your skill in navigating teleconferencing functions as a modest tryout for the job.

  1. Control your experience.

This is the biggest advantage for job seekers when invited to virtual interviews. Doing an interview from a familiar space can ease nervous jitters and help you answer questions more confidently – but don’t forget that this is still a professional exercise.

Block your calendar with buffer time on either side of the interview slot and turn off pesky application notifications. Choose a well-lighted space (ring lights aren’t a necessity unless the interviewer can’t clearly see your face). Pick a location with a neutral background or remove anything distracting or potentially unprofessional; another option is to turn on the virtual background feature. Prop your computer up on some books so your face appears at eye level, and wear appropriate interview attire from head to toe.

Finally, make sure family members understand not to interrupt and that your pets aren’t free to jump up for an unscheduled on-screen appearance.

  1. Look at the camera – not your computer screen.

We’re taught from an early age to look people in the eye. That’s hard to do when your computer camera sits outside your screen.

Still, this is a key skill for building confidence with the hiring manager. It helps them focus on what you’re saying, rather than being distracted because you appear focused on something else.

  1. Review what you want to tell your interviewer.

Take time before the interview to jot down key points about your job skills, your interests and other details that will differentiate you from the rest of the candidate pool. Don’t forget to refer to your notes during the interview.

Remember, you’ve been asked to speak with a hiring manager because your application and resume sparked their interest. They’re talking to you because that early information shows you might be a good fit to join their company. Highlight the points about you that reinforce why you’re the ideal candidate.

  1. Follow up.

Be sure to thank the interviewer for their time. While not unique to virtual interviews, this small gesture can be the difference in getting a job offer or not.

Even a short email reinforces that you’re interested in moving forward after the interview.

Good interviewing skills can help land job offers.

Of course, many clients conduct interviews in person later in the hiring process. Being comfortable in every kind of interview helps you present your best qualifications and experiences. That’s why we help our job seekers practice their skills for in-office interviews, too.

Check out our current openings, and contact Far West Staffing Services to help you secure your next job.