MOAA’s 2021 Transition Guide: Ace Your Virtual Interview

MOAA’s 2021 Transition Guide: Ace Your Virtual Interview
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Editor’s Note: A version of this article appeared in MOAA’s 2021 Transition Guide, which was published in the December 2020 issue of Military Officer magazine.


More job candidates than ever before already were conducting interviews online, and health concerns connected to the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated the trend.

Amazon, Intel, LinkedIn, and a number of universities have begun meeting with prospective candidates virtually to take away some of the risk associated with travel and coming into contact with new groups of people from all around the country. Google recently announced the move of all its interviews to its virtual Hangouts platform.

Regardless of why you’re meeting up online, MOAA can help you succeed. Below, you'll find 10 tips from our experts that'll have you ready to make your best first impression. Before that, check out this webinar featuring MOAA’s senior director for career transition services, Col. Brian Anderson, USAF (Ret); it's part of MOAA's Virtual Career and Transition Toolkit, which includes more than 20 archived webinars available to Premium and Life members. Not a member? Click here to join.



[RELATED: More Transition Advice and News from MOAA]

Do Test Your Equipment. Make sure you are fully set up on the platform that you will be using, whether it be Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts. Most require some type of download or plug-in, account login, and password, so ensuring you are ready to go ahead of time will alleviate stress and make you even more prepared to ace your interview. Don’t forget to test the voice feature or use a headset for improved audio quality. As for lighting, experiment with a test call so you can make sure your image is clear.

Do Find a Neutral Background. Interviewing in front of a messy room or near posters can be distracting and prevent the focus from being completely on the conversation you are having with the interviewers.

Don’t Go Public. Starbucks may seem like a great place to enjoy a coffee and set up shop, but public places can be unpredictable when it comes to background noise, lighting, seating, and privacy.

Do Find a Quiet Place. Nothing is as distracting as background noise when interacting with new people online. If you feel that pets or kids may make the audio in your video less than clear, you can always look into reserving a study room at your local library. These are usually set on quiet floors and will provide good lighting and a neutral background.

Do Dress the Part. This will give a cue to the interviewers that you are just as serious about the position as you would be if you arrived in person.

Don’t Be Late. Like any in-person meeting, being punctual makes a big impression.

Do Know the Room. Never assume who is on the other side of the camera. Sometimes only a few people are visible, but they could be part of a larger panel.

Do Pay Attention. When you are in a different room, and quite possibly a different city, it is more important than ever to be present. Look at the camera, be mindful of your posture, and make sure you are responding directly to the person who is speaking. An easy tip: Attach flash cards of points you would like to keep in mind to your screen so you can remain focused on the camera.

Don’t Forget to Follow Up. A thank-you email after the interview is still a good idea and will keep you fresh on the minds of the panel.

Do Ask the Experts. MOAA is here to support you no matter where you are in your military career and beyond. Join as a Premium or Life Member to access exclusive career transition resources, résumé critiques, and interview preparation.


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About the Author

Amber Monks
Amber Monks

Monks is MOAA's advertising and business manager. She started at MOAA in 2018 as a member service representative, with a focus on communications.