Once life with COVID-19 became a reality and government restrictions were put in place, face-to-face interviews were quickly replaced with a more suited and contact-free alternative. Online video interviews. There has been a huge rise in the usage of platforms like Zoom, Microsoft teams and Skype. Zoom’s number of daily active users in the UK reached a peak of roughly 1.7 million towards the end of November 2020. With many companies still having to make hiring decisions, we want to explore the ways in which we can adapt to online interviewing to continue to move forward career wise.
When attending a virtual job interview be sure to plan ahead to ensure that you are in a quiet, professional looking environment with a clear, obstruction-free background. Clearing your background will help to keep the attention on you rather than distractions behind you. Creating a quiet and calm environment will allow for a smooth interview process with less room for hiccups.
The last thing that you want during an interview is for your webcam, microphone or Wi-Fi to stop working. This could cut tremendously into your allocated interview time and make it hard for the interviewers to connect with you. To prevent this, ensure that you thoroughly test your technology and equipment.
As with a regular face-to-face interview, you want to give a good impression and start the interview right by showing up on time and ready to go. It is best practice to be in the waiting room of an online interview at least five minutes before the scheduled start time. This shows that you are organised and dependable.
In order to avoid distractions during your interview, it is best to put your mobile phone on silent and out of reach. It also helps to temporarily turn off notifications and pop-ups on your laptop or computer as these can be distracting and can throw you off when speaking. Doing these things helps to keep your attention on your answers and the interview.
Prepare just as you would for an in-person interview. Make sure that you genuinely understand the job description and what the employer is looking for. It also helps to write down and organise your
talking points prior to your interview to help you when you are practicing; you also tend to memorise it this way.
You will only get to give one first impression to your potential employers, you want it to be as professional as possible. One way in which you can do this is through your attire. Dressing in smart clothing will show how you want to portray yourself.
Having open and positive body language is extremely important in virtual video interviews. Make sure to sit up straight and maintain your engagement in the topic of discussion. In a regular interview, eye contact would be important to maintain, however in the case of an online interview making eye contact with the camera as well as the monitor is crucial.
If you have been sent an invite to your virtual interview, use it to go through to the platform being used. Before your meeting, it is good to set up an account and become familiar with how to use all the features. Again, this will help to make sure the interview process goes as smoothly as possible.
Popular video calling apps like facetime and WhatsApp video calls are great for practicing what a virtual interview setting would be like, but with a friend beforehand. You can build your confidence with the technology as well as with your answers this way. Another great thing is that you can record your practice sessions to listen back to later.
After all of your preparation work, you want to cover most, if not all of your talking points. In order to do this, you have to take a paced and steady approach when speaking. Remember to breathe and try not to get too flustered under the pressure.
If you demonstrate all the above best practices for online interviews, your experiences with virtual job interviews will only get better. Practice and preparation are key in helping you to feel confident enough to ace the interview.