CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Applying for a job in 2020 may be a bit different than in previous years. Many employers are doing virtual job interviews due to COVID-19.

What You Need To Know

  • Experts say video background during a virtual interview should be clean and neat

  • Dress the same way you would for a job in-person

  • Test the internet connection to make sure it's fast enough for video conferencing

Treance Hobbs from Charlotte says he spent six months looking for a job. He did dozens of virtual interviews, and the first thing he did was change his video background setting. He placed his college degrees in the same room he was doing virtual interviews and also set up some books.

“I wanted to set it up like an office that was in a building,” Hobb said. “So it had that look of 'yeah, I am in the work environment,' and that helped me out a lot.”

Business Engagement Manager for Charlotte Works, Erika Shorty, says the physical background is the first thing a job seeker should consider when preparing for a virtual job interview. Charlotte Works is a nonprofit organization to help those unemployed get jobs.

"You want the employer to focus on you and not whatever is going on in your background,” Shorty said. “Make sure you don’t have any laundry or anything that is inappropriate.”

Zoom offers a virtual background setting that works like a green screen. Shorty recommends against using it for interviews.

“Just don’t do it,” Shorty said. “It can become very distracting.”

She also suggests recording yourself in your interview setting beforehand.

“Go over some interview questions that you may have and then play yourself back,” Shorty said.

Shorty said this is a good way to critique and check you are presenting yourself in a professional manner.

Hobbs landed his job in August. He said it was a long journey, but he tried to stay motivated.

“Don’t get discouraged,” Hobb said. “Believe in yourself, present yourself well, and be confident. Confidence. I think confidence is a big key factor.”

The North Carolina Department of Commerce provides job counselors and resources for those unemployed. To view more information click here.