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How to Land the Job With the Perfect Virtual Interview Space

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Columbia Barnard chapter.

Before an interview, you typically take plenty of time to mentally prepare yourself. You plan out your best business attire, and when you walk into your prospective office, you get to experience, however briefly, the vibe of that workplace, and see whether you can see yourself as a member of that community. However, when you do an in-person interview, your potential boss can’t see where you live. Online interviewers become an opportunity for your interviewer to see whether your living and working space — or at least the one you present on camera — fits in with the rest of the company. 

So much of recruitment is based on how you present yourself, so when you do an online interview your home becomes a larger part of the package. For example, if you have a messy desk it reflects on you as a messy worker, which many employers are not interested in. To help you present the right aspects of yourself and your home during your upcoming virtual interviews, here are four ways to utilize your living space as the perfect interview spot, and score the job! 

Photo by Ekaterina Bolovtsova from Pexels

Choosing the proper room is key

The vibe of the room sets the tone for the rest of the interview. It’s one of the first impressions your interviewer will get of you, so the room you choose to conduct your interview in should reflect you as a candidate. Choose a room that you first and foremost feel comfortable in. You’re not putting your best foot forward if you can’t fully be yourself, nor if you’re sitting in front of the pile of laundry you’ve been putting off for three weeks. You’re better off sitting at your kitchen table, with a supportive chair and nice art in the background, than sitting on your unmade bed or the floor in front of your coffee table. 

empty desk near curtain
Hutomo Abrianto

Use your decor to show off your personality

The focus of your screen should always be you, but you can use what’s visible in the background as a way to tell the interviewer a little more about yourself. For example, a nicely curated bookshelf is always a nice touch, and shows your interviewer that you’re cultured and well-read. Art, framed photographs, or a sophisticated framed poster can elevate blank walls, and give a bit of insight about your interests.

Just make sure that the decorations you choose are appropriate, though; something you think looks cool might be a sign for your interviewer that you’re not professional enough for the position. A good rule of thumb to follow is this: if you wouldn’t be allowed to paint it in high school art class, then it probably shouldn’t be in the background for your next interview. 

On the other end of the spectrum, make sure that the walls are not too busy. Video chat with your friends or family beforehand to see whether your decor provide too much distraction. While what you put on your walls is a great small talk conversation for the interview, it should not be the most interesting thing about you. 

pink rose on a marble desk next to a pink notebook and iphone
Emma Matthews Digital Content Production/Unsplash

Coordinate colors

Your chosen workspace is one of the first things your interviewer will see. By color-coordinating the pens, holders, staplers, etc. on your desk, it presents a much neater look for your interviewer. By coordinating colors in your home space, you can also make sure that you pop with your clothing. Wearing the same color as your walls or your office supplies will make you fade into the background. If your room is dark, wear something light – and vice versa – to make sure that your interviewer can’t take their eyes off you! 

Rose gold smartphone on top of white white covered book with smartwatch
Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels
Check your settings

This one might be a bit obvious, but so many times people come into interviews with an expectation to wow their potential boss, but instead spend half of the interview asking them to repeat themselves. Always make sure that both your microphone and speakers work right beforehand. Always test your audio before your big interview to see whether there is any interference to the sound. A great way to do this is by recording yourself answering mock interview questions over Photo Booth or any other video recording app on your computer. This is a great way to prepare for the interview in addition to preventing the dreaded “I can’t hear you” from your interviewer. 

Testing out lighting is always important, too. You might have chosen a spot because of all the natural light it gets, but unfortunately, your interview is at night and the room is far too dark! Checking your lighting right before can let you know whether you need to turn on your desk lamp or close your blinds.

Calling your best friend right before can help you test out all your settings with another person, and will also confirm that your internet can maintain a strong connection; the last thing you want is your call ending because the connection is lagging. 

With a neat space, careful coordination and the right settings, you’re a shoo-in for that job!

Elizabeth Karpen

Columbia Barnard '22

Lizzie Karpen is 2022 graduate of Barnard College, the most fuego of women’s colleges, who studied Political Science and English with a concentrations in Film and American Literature. To argue with her very unpopular opinions, send her a message at @lizziekarpen on Instagram and Twitter. To read her other work, check out Elizabethkarpen.com.