Interviews are intimidating enough. Doing one virtually doesn’t make them any less scary. We’re not all professionals when it comes to shooting video – or even conducting a video call – but mastering the virtual interview is easier than it seems.
Even before much of the world started working remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic, Erie Insurance and other organizations used virtual interviewing as a way to screen candidates. With virtual interviewing being implemented now more than ever, it’s important to be prepared so you can nail that next job interview.
Here are some tips from Erie Insurance’s Human Resources team and video professionals to make video interviewing work for you.
How to Have a Successful Video Job Interview
- Prepare just as you would for an in-person interview. Being as engaged as you would be in a face-to-face interview will help you stand out among the competition. Research the company beforehand, be ready to answer common interview questions and have your resume nearby.
Bonus tip: Your virtual interview might offer the option to re-record when you make a mistake. While this is great if you mispronounce a word or have a sudden mental lapse, don’t feel obligated to re-record every question until it’s perfect. Remember: The interviewer is trying to get to know the real you. Be authentic and don’t get sucked into the re-recording cycle!
- Location matters. Pick a quiet spot free from distractions and background noise. While a coffee shop might seem like a great setting, the sound of grinding coffee beans and distant chatter may disrupt the flow of your interview. If you record at home, let family or roommates know not to disturb you and keep pets away from the area. Your backdrop should be plain, simple and tidy. Find a place with good lighting or near a window. Don’t sit with the window right behind you, since this can turn you into a silhouette.
- Dress to impress… but not to distract. Although you may be interviewing from your couch, dress like you’re sitting directly across from your interviewer. Saturated colors like ruby red, emerald green or sapphire blue stand out against most backgrounds and complement all different skin tones. If you decide to wear jewelry, stay away from anything too flashy or something that may move a lot or need adjusted mid-interview. The attention should be on you, not your outfit.
- It’s all about the angle. Make sure your camera is positioned at eye-level with your head and shoulders clearly visible. When answering questions, maintain eye contact with your computer camera – not the screen – so it appears you are looking directly at the interviewer.
- Prepare your technology. Are you using your phone, tablet or laptop? Make sure everything is fully charged and up to date. Also, turn off any notifications – you don’t want a sudden burst of emails or texts to interrupt you mid-question.
- Test, test, test! Before your interview, do a quick run-through. Test your internet connection for a strong signal. Open your video camera to view and set up your backdrop or adjust the lighting. Finally, test your microphone – your interviewers will want to hear what you have to say.
- Have a backup plan. Technology tends to malfunction when we need it most. If you are in a live video interview, be open about any technical difficulties you are having. Make sure all your technology is fully charged before you begin and consider having your mobile hotspot ready if the internet or power goes out.
If you are pre-recording your interview, companies often give you a few days to record your content. Try not to wait till the last minute in case you do experience any technical difficulties and need assistance with the software.
- Don’t forget a thank-you. When you can’t make an impression in person, the thank-you becomes more important than ever. Thank-you notes have become standard and can be crucial to landing the job. Out of two candidates with equal experience and skills, the one that takes the time to say “thanks!” is more likely to get that callback. You can also use this opportunity to remind the employer why you are a good fit for the position and reiterate your interest in the organization.
Careers at ERIE: Let Your Personality Shine
Don’t let technology issues or a bad camera angle distract from the most important part of an interview: you! Whether you interview virtually, in person or both, make sure to let your personality shine.
Looking into a new career? At Erie Insurance, you’re not just hired for who you are – you’re hired for who you can become. Learn about career opportunities that fit your skills and become a part of the ERIE family. If you’ve got that entrepreneurial spirit, learn what it takes to become an ERIE agent and run your own business in our independent sales network.