Expert advice to nail a virtual job interview and stand out from the crowd

ByJeff Ehling KTRK logo
Tuesday, September 15, 2020
How to nail a virtual job interview
EXPERT ADVICE: Preparing for a virtual job interview? Here's how you can make yourself stand out.

A huge virtual job fair is being held Wednesday, and Amazon is looking to hire 30,000 people.

There are some common mistakes people make as they adjust to online job searches, and experts have advice on how to avoid the problems and stand out from the crowd.

One of the biggest issues is failing technology. In an interview for this story, Kimberly Carpenter of Murray Resources could not hear Eyewitness News' Jeff Ehling. It took a few minutes, but when they finally connected, Carpenter said the tech trouble they encountered is not uncommon.

"Test the technology with family members or someone who is not inside the home and see how it looks from their perspective, the lighting is very important, your background is very important," Carpenter advised.

Another big problem, Carpenter says, is applicants that are not dressed as professionally as they would be in an office. She says you should wear a suit even to a virtual interview.

RELATED: Amazon seeks to hire 33,000 people, holding online 'Career Day' Sept. 16

Amazon said Wednesday that it is seeking to hire 33,000 people for corporate and tech roles in the next few months.

Carpenter also advises that interviewees do their best to look directly into the camera instead of at the computer screen.

"Making eye contact, looking at the camera as opposed to looking at the person, so when you are speaking, actually look into the camera," she said. "I think that is important."

Even with all the technology, Kimberly says make sure your resume is up to date and someone has looked it over. She says you should still have your resume in front of you during an online interview.

"I think the most important thing is the same as in an in-person interview," Carpenter said. "Be enthusiastic, but probably more so than you feel like you need to be in person."

She says it's natural to be a little shy on camera, but those who overcome that fear really stand out in a virtual interview. Carpenter says it's more difficult for an interviewer to pick up on your enthusiasm in video interviews, so it is important to be energetic.

"There are more of those awkward silences over Zoom than in person, that's okay," Carpenter noted. "I would say just try to change the subject or bring up something about your career history."

Here are a few more more tips for a successful virtual interview:

  • If you have kids, make sure they're in another area of your home so you won't have any distractions.
  • Don't fire up your device right before the interview starts, but make sure it's set up at least a half-hour before.
  • Once the interview begins, don't worry about a handshake because you can't reach through the computer. However, you still want to maintain good eye contact.
  • Dress to impress.
  • Try doing a mock interview before.

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