If you’ve been invited for a virtual interview, this is a very normal sign of the times. Virtual interviews are increasingly being used to aid social distancing. However, the result is that usual pre-interview nerves now also have to contend with navigating a whole new set of unknowns.
Don’t panic. Here we walk you through what’s different about a virtual interview and how you can prepare so that you feel confident and in control.
The information below is in addition to general interview advice.
Think of it as layering up: everything that’s important in a face-to-face (F2F) interview is important in a virtual interview, but you’ve got some extra differences to prepare for as well.
Preparing for a virtual interview
There are 5 key differences to a virtual interview:
- Time efficiency
It’s very common for less time to be given to a virtual interview than a F2F one. There are multiple reasons for this, but the upshot is that you have less time to sell yourself. The small incidental conversations of a F2F interview tend not to happen virtually. Therefore, you need to ensure you actively use your answers to convey everything that you want to.
Tip: Spend time preparing answers to likely questions using a concise approach. An easy way to do this is to use the STAR technique. Outline a situation where you encountered a challenge, explain the task required, detail the action you took and then shine a light on the positive result.
Virtual interviews can give the impression of informality, especially in current times when everyone is potentially sat in their own home. Avoid the trap of being too informal. This is still an interview.
Tip: Dress, prepare and present yourself with the same formality you would in a F2F interview.
It may be a misunderstanding of the data to say that only 7% of communication is verbal, but it’s certainly true that there’s a lot more to effective communication than words alone. This poses a problem when all your interviewers can see of you is your head. It’s also much, much harder for you to interpret the body language of a panel who are occupying small boxes on a screen.
Tips: You’ll need to consciously talk into the camera, not to the person on the screen, and definitely not your own image, in order to give the impression of eye contact. Try to sit a little further back from your screen to allow your body language to be more visible and keep your hands above your desk.
In a F2F interview, the space around you is not your responsibility. With a virtual interview, it is.
Tip: Check out your background in advance. Remove personal effects and go for a bland, clean and tidy space around you. Don’t be tempted to use a digital background as this can be distracting. Ensure you won’t be disturbed.
You can’t escape the reality that with a virtual interview you need to know how to use tech with expert capability. A bad impression will quickly be formed if you’ve got issues ranging from poor lighting to connectivity issues.
Tip: Test and practice beforehand. Make sure you are familiar with the chosen platform and can use it with confidence, from muting yourself to sharing a screen. Check and double check so that your tech is not something you need to worry about. If your interview with an end employer has been set up by us, you can even test your tech on us first, so you’re ready for a live interview.
Securing your next virtual interview
If you’re searching for your next role, and want to secure a virtual interview, then take a look at our current jobs and upload your CV if you spot something you have the skills and experience to do.