Interviewing during a pandemic: Top 5 tips for virtual interviews

How to have a great video interview 

The coronavirus lockdown has made face-to-face interviews unfeasible for many businesses. Even now, as more offices begin to reopen, virtual interviews are remaining commonplace after employers have seen the benefit of using video conferencing for quickly sounding out potential new hires

For prospective employees, trying to make a pitch via video conferencing software, such as Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts, can feel a bit daunting. Online interviews present unique challenges, including use of technology, management of setting, and the ability to effectively present yourself and sell your qualifications.

Here we share our top 5 tips to help you succeed in your next virtual job interview.

1) Prepare your space

Our backgrounds have now become a visual representation of who we are and our personalities, so you should ensure that your visible background gives off the right impression. Make sure everything is neat and uncluttered so that those interviewing you get the impression of someone who is organised and presentable. 

Lighting is important for virtual interviews. If the light source is behind you, you may appear as a dark silhouette on the screen. Position a lamp or other light source in front of you so you are clearly visible.

Eliminate any chance of a distraction. That can mean making sure all pets and family members are not able to interrupt your call. Also think about digital distractions and ensure your phone is on silent and email notifications are switched off.

Be sure you are in a location that is quiet. If that might be a problem consider popping in some headphones to avoid any chance of an echo.

2) How you present yourself

While this new situation we have found ourselves in rarely calls for head-to-toe corporate-wear, it’s important that you still look smart. So, dress for a virtual interview the same way you would for an in-person meeting. 

3) Prepare notes

An easy way to impress your interviewer is to do your research on the company you’re applying for. When the opportunity arises to discuss why you are interested in the position this is your opportunity to show what you’ve learned.

One benefit of meeting in a virtual setting is you can keep your notes in front of you. However, make sure you don’t hide behind them. It’s easy for the interviewer to notice if you’re reading which can make you appear under-prepared. Be sure to prep as you would if you were in person and you know exactly what you want to say.

Likewise don’t worry about taking notes unless you have to. Writing or typing can often make you look preoccupied and typing can be loud enough to cause a distraction for your interviewer.

4) Do a practice run

Enlist the help of a close friend or family member, who’s opinion you trust, and ask them to run through a mock interview addressing all the potential questions that may arise.

In addition to testing the technology, your trusted advisor can give you feedback on your performance, including the quality of your answers and how you come across. 

It is also good practice to film this and watch it back. No one enjoys watching themselves present but this is a valuable way of identifying your weaknesses and where you need to improve ahead of the interview. 

5) Don’t stress about the technology

Your full attention should be on the interview itself and not concerns about the tech you’re using.

It’s always a good idea to practice using all involved software and hardware in advance. This includes your wifi connection and devices such as your speaker or mic. It can add another level of stress to the interview if you have to troubleshoot issues in front of the interviewer.

Treat a video-based interview as if it were just like an in-person interview. It’s an old cliche, but remember to be yourself. This is the best way to build rapport and highlight what you can offer.

Follow these tips and you’ll be a step closer to landing that position. Good luck!