Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve all got used to Zoom calls, virtual meetings and webcams. If you’ve taken part in any interviews recently, you’ll know that lots of them are still happening via video as many businesses look to recruit and interview potential new employees in a virtual setting.
While the format of a virtual interview may be similar to a face-to-face interview, there are a few key differences that you should consider.
Here, we’ll show you how to adapt your interview skills to meet the demands of a virtual job interview and make sure you come out as the top candidate!
1. Do your research ahead of the interview
As with any interview, it’s essential to research your potential employer thoroughly. Without going into the office, it can be hard to get a clear impression of a company’s team size, working environment and culture.
With that in mind, it’s even more important than usual to make sure you know the background and context of the company. Research the key players, its ethos and vision and have a really clear image in your mind what it will be like to work there.
If you know who will be conducting the interview, find out what their role is and see if you have any questions about what they do. If you are on LinkedIn, find out if you have any mutual connections or shared networks as any personal links will help make you stand out.
Write a list of common interview questions you might be asked and jot down some notes about how best to respond. Prepare as you would for an interview in person and resist the temptation to glance at notes during the interview. This may make you come across as distracted or unprofessional, interfere with making eye contact, and prevent you from establishing a positive rapport.
2. Look the part
We know it’s tempting to wear a nice shirt on top with joggers on the bottom for your interview, but you should don your best outfits (even if they haven’t seen the outside world in a while!). The interviewers may not be able to see your bottom half, but putting on a top-notch, head-to-toe outfit will help to put you in a professional mindset. Make sure your online attire is just as nice as your offline attire!
Remember, first impressions are very important. Some sectors and companies expect formal dress for interviews, such as tailored suits and smart shirts or blouses. Others are happy with more casual attire like jeans and a blazer. What’s expected will also depend on the level and type of role you’re applying for.
Make sure you’ve done the research beforehand about the company so you can adapt your dress accordingly. If you’re in any doubt, a good tip is to always slightly overdress, as most employers will appreciate you putting in the effort, even if it’s a little bit smarter than they’re used to.
Also, remember that your interviewer gets to see more than just you and your best outfit, they can also see the space around you. Ensure your video background is appropriate and professional, especially if it’s a formal interview. Set up in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. If you have a home office, utilise it and avoid the busy areas like your living room if possible.
3. Make eye contact with the interviewer
This article from CoursesOnline talked about how interviews can be a bit like first dates. The main reason why is because in both first dates and interviews, confidence is essential. In any form of interview a great way to convey confidence is through eye contact. It’s how we connect with other people, build rapport, and come across with conviction. However, this can be a little tricky to do via a screen.
The key is to look at the camera rather than the video in front of you. Positioning your device, so the camera is at eye level will help you achieve this more naturally.
Don’t forget about your body language either. Try to act as you would in a face-to-face, one-on-one interview, be professional, sit up straight and avoid hunching your shoulders. Allow yourself to be animated by using gentle hand gestures and by smiling and try to make a connection with your interviewer.
4. Do a practice interview beforehand
The best way to smash a job interview is by doing a lot of prep, so take the time to do a trial run of your virtual interview. This allows you to check all your equipment is set up, working and ready and that your internet connection is strong enough to sustain streaming video for a long period. Check ahead if you need to download any relevant software in advance as well.
Just before your interview is due to start, double-check your connection. Make sure your audio and video are switched on, and your camera is positioned to show your head and shoulders. Be ready to start bang on time!
A good general interview tip is to run through some questions with a friend beforehand so you can practise what you might say ahead of time. Ask for honest feedback on your body language and how you come across.
5. Let your personality shine
In a one-on-one interview, your personality can come through naturally. The combination of eye contact, facial expressions, body language and tone of voice let the interviewer know who you are as a person and potential employee.
In a virtual interview, you may have to work a little bit harder to really show off your personality shine. Smash the job interview by taking advantage of being in your own environment and allow yourself to relax. Confidently express yourself and be authentic and the job should be yours!
Follow our virtual interview tips, and you can be confident in getting the job you want, whether it’s in person or online. If you are having an in-person interview any time soon, we also have lots of great tips for that as well.
Check out our article that goes over advice for a real life, face-to-face interview here. Or why not see if you can learn any new skills that will help boost your chances of landing that dream interview with your ideal company by taking a look at the wide range of courses we have to offer?