Reflecting on the past year, it seems that the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we do things in the workplace, particularly when it comes to job interviews. Although virtual interviews existed long before Covid-19, it was not the preferred method of hiring. However virtual interviews have since become a necessity for recruitment, and even as restrictions are being lifted across the UK, it seems that companies have realised the benefits of conducting business in this way.
While it can be challenging for both job seekers and employers to navigate virtual interviews, it can be a more flexible and cost-effective way of hiring. So if this particular trend is here to stay, you need to know how to ace a virtual interview.
First things first…preparation
If you are new to the world of job interviews, a good starting point would be reviewing common interview questions. This will help you gain a better understanding of the types of questions you may be asked and also allow time to practice your responses.
You should also always review the job description, as this will give tell you what a company is looking for in a candidate. Similarly you need to research the company, as that way you will have a better understanding of the company’s culture and values. A good place to start is their website and social media pages.
Next up…test your technology!
There is nothing worse than getting to your interview and finding your microphone doesn’t work or your Wi-Fi has gone down. Leading up to your interview, do a technical test to make sure your equipment is working correctly. It is important that you do this just before your interview as well, that way there is less chance of any unexpected technical difficulties.
Start by checking your computer’s camera, microphone and internet connection are working. Maybe even do a trial run with a friend or family member, just so that you can experience what it will be like on the day.
If possible, try to avoid using smartphones for video interviews. Also, if you’re using a tablet, find a way to keep it stationary – no one likes a shaky interview.
Location, Location, Location
It might seem a bit strange talking about location when it comes to a virtual interview, yet it is important to find the right backdrop in order to make a good impression - No interviewer wants to see your laundry hanging on the line. So start by looking for a clutter free space that allows you to set your webcam at eye level. You will also want a space with minimal distractions; maybe let your family/roommates/partner know where and when you’ll be having your video interview so that they don’t disturb you.
Dress to impress
Although video interviews allow you to be in a more relaxed setting, you are still being interviewed. This means you should dress as you would for an in-person interview, however, don’t make the mistake of assuming you’ll only be seen from the waist up, as you never know what they may ask you to do.
The early bird catches the worm
When the time comes for your virtual interview, log in to your video app five minutes early so you can be prepared for when the interview begins. You should have your resume handy, along with any notes or speaking points. You won’t necessarily be able to read directly from them during the interview, but it’s always a comfort to have them to hand if needed. Not to mention, turning up early to any interview will always win you points.
Let your body do the talking
Once the interview begins, try to maintain eye contact as much as possible. Not only will this show the interviewer that you are engaging with them, but also that there is a sense of confidence about you. As well, try to sit up straight, as no one wants to see you slouched over your computer screen.
Make a lasting impression
Try to think of five questions to ask the interviewer before you leave, as this will show interest and enthusiasm towards the role. Avoid asking questions about salary or holiday allowance, as you want to ask questions about the company or the job role; this will show that you are truly interested in the job. Finally, thank the interviewer for the opportunity and hopefully you will have made a lasting impression.