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How To Master A Virtual Job Interview

Published: Monday 20th April 2020

Job interviews can be nerve-wracking no matter how they take place. But the Covid-19 outbreak has undoubtedly marked a new era for interviewers and interviewees. Due to the recently introduced government measures aimed at containing the outbreak, such as social distancing and work from home policies, companies have started to get creative with their recruitment processes, and many are turning to virtual methods, such as video conference calls and the use of virtual job interviews. In doing so, many job seekers who are used to in-person interviews will have to switch to a virtual job interview process for the first time and figure out new ways to best convey themselves online.

The virtual job interview defined

 employer is conducting a virtual job interview with applicant

Virtual job interviews, also known as digital or video interviews, allow people to conduct an interview online in an automatic manner. Hiring professionals connect with candidates digitally, allowing HR professionals to interview applicants face-to-face without having to be in the same room. These interviews are often run via websites or internet-enabled devices which use digital interviewing software, such as Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts etc.

Video interviewing is considerably less expensive compared to in-person interviews, and it allows better and easier scheduling on both parts. At the same time, remote interviews can be especially daunting, since you are trying to connect with the interviewers while dealing with the ins and outs of cameras, background noises, and potential internet troubles. That’s why being well-prepared is vitally important in order to be successful and make a good first impression.

Here are our top tips to help ensure that you nail your virtual job interview and put your best foot forward, even from hundreds of miles away.

Word text Top tips on white paper card on office table / business concept

Pick the best spot and eliminate distractions

Make sure it isn’t too dark but also stay away from overhead lights. Settling down near a window would be an excellent spot since bad lighting can be distracting. A glare could make it difficult for the interviewer to see you, and you always want to put your best foot forward! Ideally, scope out a good spot to conduct your online meeting the day before to make sure you’re not rushing around right before the interview. During your interview silence anything that could interfere with your conversation, including your phone and email notifications on your computer. Make sure no one else is around when you are completing your video interview in order to eliminate distractions.

Dress professionally for your virtual job interview

Even though you’re not meeting your interviewer in person, make sure to dress for success and sit up straight. First impressions always matter, and your appearance is crucial to making a good one. What’s more, don’t forget to smile as you would during an in-person interview.

Smiling young businesswoman working online and reading documents while sitting on a sofa in an office

Calm your nerves

Practice your main talking points if you’re nervous and remember to slow down, so that you avoid interrupting or talking over people. Although it’s an online interview, you should still review your traditional interview skills. This will help you have answers prepared to some of the more common interview questions and examples in case they ask for specifics.

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse…

If you’re not used to using video conferencing programmes, then it’s best to spend some time getting familiar with them before the interview. Most of these platforms have a practice call function, where you can set the volume of the microphone, check that you can hear properly and set your camera settings. By making a call to a friend you can get an idea of what it’s like to hold a conversation using video technology and you’ll feel more prepared and comfortable.

Closeup on businessman holding a card with text PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE

Take notes but don’t read a script

It is always a good idea to write down a few notes ahead of an interview for quick reference. But there is a difference between using a few cheat cards to jog your memory and reading entire speeches from a prompt.

Look your interviewer in the eye

Even in the online environment, eye contact is important. You might want to look at the monitor or yourself but instead focus on making eye contact with your interviewer via the camera. Finally, when responding to questions from the interviewer, nod, but take a second before responding in case the connection is weak, so that you don’t end up talking over them.

For more top tips on CV writing, cover letter, job hunting and career progression visit our Career Advice Blog of follow Zoek on Twitter. Best of luck!

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