To say a lot has changed in the last few weeks and months in the areas of employment, job applications, interviews and workday life is an understatement. It’s a tough time for many, and as business structures and hiring practices are being shaken up on a massive scale, many people are finding themselves in a completely different set of work circumstances.
In an effort to maintain forward motion, many organisations are now conducting online and video call interviews, and it is important to ensure you are doing everything you can to present yourself in the best way possible, and are able to execute your interview responses in a way that showcases your talents to best effect.
It’s not always easy to get everything you’d like across virtually, so to help ensure you are fully prepared, adaptive and ready to take advantage of the changing employment landscape, we’ve put together a good practice guide, in the shape of 10 useful virtual interview tips:
Prepare for your role thoroughly – This seems fairly obvious, but you should be putting the same effort into a virtual interview as you would a face to face one – ensure you have researched the company, role, vision and values, as well as the person/people who are interviewing you. Look them up on social media and get a feel for who they are and the topics they post and engage in. Get to know their personalities as much as you can.
Prepare yourself mentally – It’s important to feel and come across calm and collected, so find a quiet space and become centred and ‘in your zone’. If it helps, make use of meditation and breathing techniques, as well as affirmations and positive reinforcement.
Showcase your own personality – This can actually be much harder virtually! It will require some thought – how will you demonstrate who you are, what you consider your best traits, and how you will build rapport? It is important to get off to a positive start so plan ahead and if the interview itself doesn’t bring out the best in you, consider how you will get this across in the pre and post dialogue. Remember you can use your background to portray yourself in the appropriate way. Consider the use of backdrops and props to showcase who you are, especially if they align with the interests of those interviewing you.
Make sure your tech works – This will often be your first test and will show you are a capable user of new technology – don’t fall at the first hurdle, do a test run beforehand, practice with someone and get it right before the interview. This will also help minimise some of those pre-interview nerves.
Create the right environment – Ensure you will have no distractions or disruptions, eliminate background noise, get the lighting right, and make sure the sound is good quality. Remember to turn off your phone and any other notifications that may interrupt the discussion. Consider the space around you. There is an opportunity to make use of any wall space behind the screen and/or around your screen. This could be used for useful prompts which would enable you to maintain eye contact throughout the interview.
Create the right impression – You will be viewed in a smaller, more compact space than a normal interview, so it’s important to stay still, don’t move around too much as it’s distracting, and maintain eye contact – when you respond, look into the camera, be clear and concise, make best use of silence and gaps, allow them to finish the question and avoid interrupting.
Dress appropriately – What would you wear to a face to face interview? Follow the same principle and dress according to how you want to come across. It will not only give a good impression and show you are fully prepared, it’s also a lot less distracting knowing you are dressed for the occasion.
Ask questions and take notes – It’s important to show you are keen to find out more about the role and what you can bring to it. What are their future visions and expectations and how might you be a positive influence in driving this forward? What are you passionate about that aligns with their organisational values and outlook? How will you put this across in a virtual interview? You may find it is harder to understand the culture of the organisation you are interviewing for virtually so come prepared with specific questions to help you understand the environment.
Be yourself – As with a face to face interview, its important to be authentic and bring your own personal unique qualities to the fore. It’s also really important to find out if your own personality and energy is a good fit with the organisation and that you have the potential to be happy within that environment. Express yourself and put your values clearly, don’t be afraid to be you. Remember, it can be more difficult to build rapport online so you may need to ‘dial up’ your energy to ensure you showcase your personality in the right way.
Follow up – If you haven’t heard back within the specified time, follow up with the hiring team and ask for feedback. Even if you have not been successful this time, bank the experience and build from the feedback. Remember also that the organisations you are applying to may be getting to grips with their own virtual hiring practices and may well get things patchy in places as they navigate their way. Be considerate of this, and don’t take it as a personal failure if the interview didn’t work out this time. Believe in yourself – success in virtually around the corner!