In today’s digital age many companies use advanced technology to streamline work processes. This includes the use of applicant tracking software to automate parts of the hiring process, along with a shift to virtual job interviews, which help employers and recruiters connect with a wider talent pool. Virtual interviews are more common than ever – especially if you’re applying for a job in another region or country, or if your boss-to-be is based remotely. If it’s your first time having a virtual interview there can be a lot to think about, so here are 6 top tips to ensure you’re well prepared and confident on the day.
1. Prepare your tech
If you haven’t done this yet, now is the time to get the tech you’ll need for virtual interviews and remote work. Make sure that your computer, internet connection, camera and microphone are all working properly and that you can be heard and seen clearly.
Don’t wait for the day of your interview to test your equipment out – why not rope in a friend to help you check it by setting up a video call together ahead of the interview? On the day of your interview, test everything again beforehand, and be at your desk in plenty of time so you can answer the video call quickly. It’s also a good idea to close any screens that you don’t need, especially those with notifications running – you don’t want a chat box popping up and distracting you during your interview, and it’s definitely a nono if you’ll be screen sharing! If you are going to be sharing your screen during the interview (such as talking through a PowerPoint presentation), ensure that there’s nothing personal or compromising on display, and that you have an employer-friendly desktop background.
Finally, double check the software that you’ll be using for the interview – some applications may need to be installed on your desktop, so avoid a last-minute rush or late start to the interview by taking care of this a few days before.
2. Get rid of distraction
Eliminating distractions from your workspace will help you avoid disruptions and stay focused during the interview. Find a quiet room and remove clutter that might give a negative impression of your work discipline.
Keep background noises to a minimum – this can be a challenge when you have little ones (or pets!) to contend with, so if possible, ask a friend or family member to help out and keep them occupied during your interview. Close the window, keep the door shut, and let anyone at home know when you’ll be having your interview so that they can keep the noise down.
3. Do your research
It may be tempting to skip researching about the company before your virtual interview since Google is just a click away. But if you are on video, your interviewers are bound to notice if you’re looking something up on the net.
Instead, do your research beforehand – get to grips with the company’s background, culture and goals. Doing so not only shows that you value the company but also helps you know how well you fit with their company culture. There’s usually lots of information available on the company’s career page (if they have one), so make this your starting point, and don’t forget to visit their leadership page and company blog, as well as checking out any press releases and appearances in the news.
4. Prep your answers
Although you won’t want your answers to come across as rehearsed, and there are bound to be a couple of questions that you weren’t expecting, it’s always worth planning your answers to a few of the more popular questions that tend to come up in an interview.
Think about how you’ll respond to questions about your competency for the role and prepare some examples of your relevant experience. Be ready to talk about your motivation for the job and why you want to work for that particular company.
Being able to bring in your knowledge about their business – such as referring to their Best Companies To Work For position, any industry awards and accomplishments, or business developments such as acquisitions and new ventures which would make them an exciting company to work for and somewhere you’d love to build you career, will ensure that the answers you give are authentic and compelling.
Ask a friend or family member to help you practise some of your answers so that by the time the real thing comes around, you should sound natural and feel more relaxed.
5. Dress for success
You may just be at home during your virtual interview, but that doesn’t mean you should dress down. Make sure you wear something you would wear during a face-to-face interview,
keeping it smart and professional. Making the effort with your outfit can also help you get into the interview mindset, which is especially useful if you’re at home rather than in the office. As a general rule, keep your interview outfit fairly neutral so that it doesn’t distract from what you have to say.
6. Pay attention to body language
Remote interviews can make it more difficult to make a personal connection, but there’s still a lot you can do to get your personality across and build rapport with the interviewer.
Body language is the non-verbal way we communicate with others, from eye contact, to our posture and the gestures we use, and you can use body language in your virtual interview to present confidence, friendliness and positivity. Maintain good eye contact during the interview (hint: look into the camera rather than at your computer screen), sit up straight, and try not to fidget, as this can be distracting and it can also make you seem nervous.