How to: Virtual interviews

Shannon Edwards - March 18, 2020

With our current environment implementing restrictions around face-to-face contact, we’re placing a strong focus on virtual meetings. Virtual meetings are a great way to conduct interviews and have the ability to be just as, if not more efficient as face-to-face. Although virtual interviews follow a very similar formula to a usual interview, they do come with some limitations. Below are our eight tips to follow to ensure you get the most out of your virtual interview.

1. Test your technology

Technical savvy is one of the top 10 competencies employers look for in new hires, and one hiring managers can test via a virtual interview. Prior to your interview, and not just 10 minutes before, test your technology to ensure you’re set up for success. Check your internet connectivity, and confirm your camera and microphone are working. If the picture is grainy or you’re experiencing an echo, you might need to buy a mini webcam with a built-in microphone.

2. Set the scene and minimise distractions

While testing your technology, determine where to take the interview. Find a room with good lighting, preferably near a window, or a blank wall to guarantee you’re the focal point of the conversation.

Once you’ve picked your location, make sure to tidy up your surroundings. The messier the background, the harder it is to convince a hiring manager of how detail-oriented and organised you are.

3. Be prepared

Just as you would for a face-to-face interview, you want to appear focused and ready to answer any questions without hesitation.

To ensure you’re prepared, research the company ahead of time and make any important notes for easy reference. Also print out a copy of your resume, so that you don’t forget key talking points. It’s also best to come prepared with answers to common interview questions, such as:

  • Why are you interested in this role?
  • What do you know about our company?
  • What are your biggest weaknesses?
  • What do you consider to be your biggest professional achievement?
  • Tell me about a challenge at work and how you dealt with it.
  • What are you looking for in a new position?
  • Why are you leaving your current role?
  • Avoid memorising each response, so you don’t sound overly rehearsed. Instead, write some high-level thoughts down on Post-it Notes that you can stick to your computer.You should also be prepared to answer, “Do you have any questions for me?” Some typical questions may include:

  • What does a typical day in the life of this role look like?
  • What are the company’s goals this quarter?
  • How would you describe the ideal candidate for this position?
  • Where does this role sit in the organisation, who will I be working with?
  • Can you walk me through the next steps of the hiring process?
  • 4. Practice but don’t memorise

    Just as you would face-to-face, you want to come across natural and relaxed in your online interview. Whether you’re answering questions or giving your elevator pitch, you don’t want to sound robotic and rehearsed.

    Think over your answers to the above questions to best prepare yourself. Practice your responses by answering them out loud and make sure you answer them as clear and concise as possible.

    5. Monitor Your Body Language

    Body language can sometimes have a stronger focus during a face-to-face interview, but it is just as important virtually. You may not be able to firmly shake your interviewers’ hand when meeting, but you can certainly still monitor positive body language.

    Sit up straight, don’t slouch, smile and maintain eye contact. Remember, maintaining eye contact is the strongest way you can connect with your interviewer, so when speaking look at the camera, rather than their image on the screen. It may feel a little unnatural looking into the camera rather than the person you’re speaking to, but from their end it will come across as a lot more personable.

    6. Dress the Part

    Just because you’re working from home, doesn’t mean you have an excuse to look like you’ve just rolled out of bed. Just as you should when working for home, get up and get dressed for your workday.

    Dressing professionally will show you’re serious about the position. Studies also show that people feel more authoritative, trustworthy and competent when they’re wearing business attire.

    7. Make a Connection

    One of the main things you miss during a virtual interview, is the natural banter and small talk of a face-to-face meeting. Building a connection with your interviewer is just as important, if not more so, when meeting virtually.

    The best time to speak more casually and openly is at the beginning of the interview. It’s an opportunity to make some brief small talk about your day, and to thank them for meeting with you virtually.

    Questions such as ‘tell me about yourself’ are also a great opportunity to briefly introduce who you are outside your work.

    8. Immediately Follow Up

    Within 24 hours of the interview, send an individual thank you email to everyone you’ve met. Not only will it show you value their time, but it provides you the opportunity to resell yourself and express the unique strengths you bring to the role, or share any talking points you forgot to address.




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