The pandemic inevitably changed a plethora of functions for businesses around the world. From an increase in flexible working, a bigger spotlight on a healthy work/life balance or the importance of a virtuous company culture, businesses have had to adapt to the transformations that C-19 brought with it. They show no sign of stopping.
Potentially one of the biggest adjustments that both employers and employees have made in the working world is performing interviews virtually. Although particularly prevalent towards the beginning of the pandemic, virtual interviews are certainly not going away, and they have become a fixed part of the modern interview process.
Although this new way of interviewing may seem unfamiliar and daunting, virtual interviews offer many benefits over traditional face-face interviews:
A familiar environment: Choosing the location of your interview will help you feel more comfortable and confident in a familiar environment.
Cost saving: No commute to the interview will give you more time to prepare for the interview – this in turn reduces travel costs.
Increased flexibility: They allow greater flexibility for both employees and hiring managers, making the interview scheduling process much simpler.
Senior people: Gives you access to more senior level people who may have busier schedules.
With all the above in mind, we’ve put together some helpful tips to navigate our increasingly virtual world and help you excel in your next online interview.
Before your interview
Arrange your setup
Make sure your device of choice is fully charged or connected to a charger – you don’t want to have to run for a charger mid-conversation.
Use headphones to reduce background noise.
Make sure your camera is on and your microphone is not on mute.
Download the appropriate app that the interview is being streamed on and test if the meeting link is working.
Do your research
A virtual interview doesn’t change the importance of researching the company beforehand. A simple way to research your potential employer is to head to their website and note down their mission, objectives, culture, and values.
Doing research beforehand shows the hiring manager that you have a keen interest in the company and that you can present ideas to help it operate more efficiently when asked.
Prepare as much as possible
Dress appropriately - although it will be tempting to only dress smartly from the waist up, dressing professionally from head to toe will help to put you in the right mindset.
Turn off all your notifications to avoid any distractions during the interview - As you will be using a phone or laptop, having the notifications pop up could mean you disengage with the interview and the hiring manager will notice this.
Plan your time effectively
Be prepared to join the call 5 minutes before the initial interview call, clearing your schedule an hour beforehand so you can go through your research.
Have a read through the job description and your CV to re-familiarise yourself ahead of any questions regarding your experience.
During the interview
With a virtual interview you may feel more relaxed in an environment you are acquainted with; however, you should ensure that you maintain good posture and keep your body language as professional as possible.
Maintain your focus
Don’t agonise if the connection is failing, this could be a bad connection from either end. Stay calm and wait to re-connect, the interview can always be re-arranged if it needs to be.
It’s common within both virtual and in-person interviews to be given a selection of role-specific, value-based, and competency-based questions. The most effective way to answer these types of questions is by following the STAR technique:
Situation: Explain the context in which you have performed a job or faced a challenge at work. For example, perhaps you were working on a group project or had a conflict with a colleague.
Task: Portray your responsibility in that situation. Maybe you had to help a group complete a project with a tight deadline or resolve a conflict with a colleague.
Action: Describe how you completed the task and endeavoured to meet the challenge. Focus on what you did, rather than what your team, boss or colleagues did.
Result: Communicate the outcomes or results generated by the action you took. Emphasise what you accomplished, or what you learned.
Gentle reminder: don’t worry if there are short silences in the conversation, there may be a delay in the connection, or the interviewer is simply thinking about your answers.
After your interview
Feedback and reflect
Take your time to reflect on what you think went well and what you could have improved on. You will always benefit from asking for feedback, so don’t be afraid to ask.
The interview process can be intimidating, however, implementing these tips should help to ease the pressure and make the interview enjoyable for both you and your potential employer.
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