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4/30/2020 11:49:30 AM

How to impress in a virtual interview

While coronavirus keeps the county on lockdown, video interviews have replaced physical meetings. 

With video conferencing more important to business than ever, it's no surprise that virtual interviews are becoming an increasingly popular method of hiring people.

Yet more generally, firms are increasingly using them to screen candidates as a way of shortlisting for physical interviews or further assessments. With remote working positions also growing in popularity, hiring via videolink also gives the recruiter a chance to test how you are likely to fare being a remote or home-based worker.

The best way to ace your video interview is to prepare thoroughly. These tips will guide you through the steps you should take before you virtually meet your interviewer.

1: Test your tech

While you can't account for internet drop-outs, doing everything you can to make sure the interview will go smoothly will give you peace of mind. It will be one less thing to worry about!

Make sure you know which videoconferencing app you will be using. Check it's installed and test it with a family member or friend. Make sure to check audio and video and that you understand how to screen-share, as a minimum.

2: Set the scene and minimise distractions

Check the background. Your interviewer will notice what's behind you! Plain is best, remove things you'd prefer not to be seen. While it's possible to blur backgrounds with some video apps, such as Skype, we recommend not using this setting as sometimes if you move away from your webcam it can blur you too!

Also make sure that any other members of your household know you're on an interview video call. As well as keeping the noise down, make sure no-one's going to be hogging your bandwidth by watching a 4K movie on Netflix.

3: Prepare as you would any interview

Do your homework just as you would any interview. This blog has some tips on questions you must prepare for, while we covered softer skills such as character and values here. Learn about the organisation. Think about your relevant key skills and work successes. If you're applying for a remote role and have skills or experience of working remotely, make sure you mention this too.

4: Practice but don't memorise or script

It can be so tempting to script answers, and have them written out on little key cards. Don't! When you watch newsreaders on the TV, people who've been talking to camera for years and years, you can still see their eyes reading the lines on their auto-cues. If they can't hide it, neither can you!

Instead, talk to the interviewer exactly as you would if you were sitting in the same room. Talk about yourself naturally. Don't be an auto-cue robot!

5: Check your body language

The same applies to body language. Imagine that the interviewer is in the same room as you. You wouldn't sit with your arms folded or your feet up on a table. Sit upright, be alert and open to questions.

We covered interview body language in this article.

6: Dress for the occasion

There's the long-running joke about TV presenters who, because they're only ever seen sitting behind a desk, only dress from the waist up. Don't be tempted!

You simply don't know what might happen, so why take the risk? Dress as you would a person-to-person interview. You will also feel much more comfortable and confident. This blog has some more advice on how to dress to impress.

7: Make a connection

Just as you would a face-to-face interview, try and make a personal connection to the interviewer. Do you share the same hobby or passion? Sometimes you can connect when talking about personal values. A video interview can put a barrier between people, so making that connection could be the one thing that makes you stand out from other candidates.

We would caution against "cyber-stalking" your interviewer to find out more about them before your interview, however. It's far more natural to discover shared interests or beliefs during a conversation.

8: Be yourself

Again, coming across well in a face-to-face interview is fairly straightforward. Via video it can be more challenging. At first you may feel a little awkward. This is fine, don't panic!

As with any interview you will (hopefully!) find yourself relax. Be yourself. Don't put on an act for the camera. It can be helpful to think of the camera not being there at all.

9: Smile for the camera!

Remember to smile at some point! It relaxes you and the interviewer. It's worth remembering that using video might take the interviewer out of their comfort zone, too.

10: Follow-up

As with any interview, make sure you to follow-up on your progress. If the interviewer promises to get back to you by a certain date, then wait for that date. If you don't hear, it's then ok to get in touch.

Whether you are successful or unsuccessful, ask for feedback not just about your whole application but in particular about your video interview. How did you come across? Does the interviewer have any advice for you about it? Take constructive criticism in the spirit it is meant, listen to the feedback and learn from your experience.

We're here to help

If you have friends, family or loved ones worrying about work and income, please pass on our contact details. We can help them find work now, along with securing work for them once the virus passes. 

This is a challenging time filled with uncertainty and anxiety but we have the capability, procedures, systems and technology to help. 

If you think we can help, 📞 us

Colwyn Bay - 01492 517 602
Bangor - 01248 671 477
North-east Wales - 03333 235 900


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