A recruiter has reached out and asked to schedule an interview with you. There is just one catch: it’s a virtual interview. The scenario is becoming more and more common due to the COVID-19 pandemic limiting people from seeing one another and preventing individuals from travelling more than a certain distance away from their homes. Below are eight virtual interview tips to help you get ready, reduce the stress and help you land the job.
- Test Your Technology
From the moment you agree to the virtual interview, test your technology out to make sure you are set up for success. Check your internet connectivity and confirm that your microphone and camera are working. If the picture is grainy or you are experiencing an echo, you may need to purchase a mini webcam with a built-in microphone, which is difficult to do five minutes before the interview. Therefore, do not procrastinate. On the day of the interview, test all of this again.
- Set the Scene and Minimise Any Distractions
When testing your technology, determine where you should do the interview. Choose a room with optimal lighting, preferably near a window, or a blank wall to guarantee you are the focal point of the conversation. Whether you decide to sit on your living room couch or in the home office, ensure you tidy up your surroundings. It is difficult to convince employers that you are organised and detail-oriented when there is laundry visibly piling up in the corner. Once settled, ensure you eliminate all distractions. Turn your phone on silent, turn off the TV and close any nearby windows to muffle outside noise.
- Sit Down Prepared
Just because you are on a computer does not mean that you can search the Internet for answers mid-interview, so avoid clicking around on your computer. You want to appear ready to answer any questions without the help of the web. Ensure that you jot down notes and research the company ahead of time for easy reference. Additionally, print off a copy of your CV, so that you do not forget the key talking points. It is always a good idea to prepare answers to common interview questions, which can easily be found online. Avoid memorising these answers so that you do not sound overly rehearsed. Rather, write some high-level thoughts down on sticky notes that you can stick to your laptop.
- Monitor Your Body Language
You cannot firmly shake a recruiter’s hand or as easily exude enthusiasm via video. However, what you can do is monitor your body language. The primary way to communicate confidence is to smile, sit up straight and keep the camera at eye level. Research has shown that employers are much more likely to remember what job applicants say if they maintain eye contact. Therefore, keep your focus on the camera when you are talking, not on the image of the recruiter.
- Dress to Impress
While you may be sitting near your bed, you should still not look like you just rolled out of it. Dress as you would for an in-person interview. For men, this may mean a button-up shirt, blazer and chinos. For women, this may mean a skirt and blouse, a dress or blouse and trousers. Professional clothing will illustrate that you are serious about the position. However, there are personal benefits also as studies have discovered that people feel most trustworthy, competent and authoritative when wearing formal business attire.
- Make a Connection
There is no way to tell how many interviews a business may conduct for a job position. You may be at the end of a very long list of people the recruiter spoke to that day. This is why it is crucial to make a connection. Do not be afraid to have a short aside about a common interest. The hiring manager may enjoy the break from the routine questions they have to get through.
It is not simple to connect with everyone, however, it is a vital part of a virtual interview. You want the interviewer to be able to remember a personal story you shared or a common interest you have. This is the best way to make yourself stand out.
- Be Yourself
An essential task for a hiring manager is determining whether you would be a good fit for the company’s culture. This can be difficult during a virtual interview because there is a physical disconnect. It is more challenging for the interviewer to understand your enthusiasm through the screen. Therefore, ensure you are expressive when you answer their questions.
Some people will be able to tell if you fit their company right off the bat. So, give them a reason to push you through the second round of interviews by shining a light on how you can specifically help the organisation.
- Follow Up Immediately
Within 24 hours of the interview, you should send an individual thank you to email to each person you met. Not only will it illustrate that you value their time, it also gives you the opportunity to express the unique strengths you bring to the role and resell yourself, or share any talking points you forget to mention.
If there was something particular you bonded over, bring that up in the email so you remain at the top of their mind. Alternatively, if an interviewer brought up a certain business challenge, use the follow-up as a means to propose potential solutions. Just keep the email concise; you want your note to leave a lasting impression, not immediately end up in the bin.
As a result, the key to mastering a virtual interview is proper preparation. From making sure your technology is working to doing research before the meeting, sitting down at your computer posed and being ready for any questions thrown at you will help you stand out from other applicants.