Hollerings | Digital & IT

Prepping for Virtual Interviews

The ongoing pandemic has shaped the ways businesses now recruit their candidates. Social distancing regulations have made it difficult for interviews to take place like they usually would. As a result, virtual interviewing has become a widespread solution for many organisations – so now is the time to put your virtual interviewing skills into practice.

Different Virtual Interviewing formats

There are two different types of interviewing formats that may be thrown your way during an early stage of your interview process. 

Live Interview – There isn’t a major difference between a live interview and a traditional face-to-face meeting. The candidate will be asked to attend a live stream on a virtual platform such as Skype, Zoom or Microsoft Teams and proceed with the interview as you usually would.

Pre-Recorded – This is slightly different as both the recruiter and candidate don’t have to be present at the same time for the interview – the business will usually prepare questions for you to read off a screen. You will then be given the opportunity to pre-record yourself responding to these questions, usually under a time limit. This offers better flexibility for both the candidate and interviewer.

Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of presenting themselves on a camera, but this is something we believe is potentially here to stay, at least for a while. But don’t worry, we have provided you with some useful tips to help master your virtual interviewing skills.

Preparation is key!

Like any other normal interview, it is crucial that you prepare yourself beforehand. Aim to go above and beyond with your research into the company. Don’t just take a look at their website, look at reviews or articles and feedback to them on what you have found. Interviewers will be intrigued to know what you have found out about them and will appreciate your in-depth research.

You may be able to find questions online that the company has previously asked other candidates during the interview process. Glassdoor is a useful source for this. Prepare answers for the potential questions you find and practice answering them out loud or to a friend.

Test your tech

Prior to starting your interview, you should test any kind of technology that could possibly go wrong on the day. Test that the computer, camera and mic are all working properly. Is there a chance your wifi connection may go down? Make sure you have an alternative solution if anything was to go wrong. Most importantly, don’t forget to charge your laptop/mobile if it is needed before the interview – you will be informed by the business what equipment you will need to proceed with the interview.

Practice Practice Practice

Practice makes perfect. The more you practice in anything you do, the better you will become at it. Don’t enjoy interviews? Push yourself to master them so you never have to be afraid again.

When practicing virtual interviewing, recording yourself and watching it back is a useful exercise to take judgement of your own body language, eye contact and notice anything you feel the need to change. If you can, practice in front of someone that is able to give you useful feedback, doing this in front of multiple personalities will give you more concise feedback. You will be able to learn from this and discover what you need to change and what to keep the same.

Dress appropriately

The same applies for any normal interview, you should dress as you would for a regular face-to-face interview. You may get away with a nice blouse/shirt paired with some jogging bottoms, but as long as this is hidden from the interviewer, who is to know, right? Putting on your best clothes will allow you to feel more prepared and confident, wearing a comfy sweater will only make you feel unprepared and too relaxed.

Choose a suitable location

Plan in advance the location you want to set up for your interview. Aim for a quiet and enclosed space where you aren’t surrounded by any distractions. Try and choose somewhere with a simplistic background so the interviewer is able to focus solely on you. It’s best to choose somewhere with good lighting – natural light preferably, or maybe try sitting with a lamp next to you, so that the interviewer can see you clearly. Don’t forget to switch your phone on silent or mute anything that will set off notifications – you need to create a quiet and professional space so that the interviewers know you are serious about the role you are applying for.

Things to avoid

Watch out for your use of slang words such as ‘like, er, urm’ – stay professional. Practice speaking with a more clear and concise approach, it shows that you are serious and really trying your best to make a good example.

Use the word ‘I’, and not ‘we’ to talk efficiently about the experience you have and the projects that you have worked on. The employer will start to question if it is yourself or your team that has the experience if you’re consistently using the word ‘we’. Using the word ‘I’ gives the interviewer a clearer understanding of your specific skills and experience.

Most importantly do not arrive late if you are attending a live interview (unless valid reason – make sure to let them know) this will set you back before you’ve even begun the interview. They are going to struggle to trust that you will turn up to the job on time if you can’t manage the interview. Make sure you plan enough time before beginning the interview.

Ultimately, you need to ensure that you are fully prepared for the interview, from the moment you set up your equipment, to the research of the business and preparation for response. If you manage this then you’re set for a successful interview – but remember, every interview is a useful experience, whether or not you land the job, you will learn from it, which will only push to do better next time.

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