Virtual Interviews: Ways to make a great impression

4 min read

Career Trends: September 30, 2022
Curated by the Knowledge Team of  ICS Career GPS

Virtual interviews have become commonplace, so take time to spruce up your online repertoire.

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Virtual interviews have become increasingly more common – if you have interviewed for a job in the past two years, the odds are that you have encountered an online interview scenario. Indeed, career options platforms report that about 60% of recruiters use video technology to interview remote candidates, and 81% predict that virtual recruitment will continue well after the end of the pandemic. 

Platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams, HireVue, WebEx and Hireflix have made the video interviewing process straightforward and accessible.

Still, confining your presence to an online stage is a difficult shift for candidates who are used to shining in in-person interviews.

Here are a few tips to make sure your virtual interview is a success:

1. Familiarise yourself with the technology

  • Take time, a day prior to your interview, to test out the interview links and make sure that they work and won’t lead to any last-minute complications.
  • As you do this, download any online applications, block any cookies, gain access to browsers and upgrade to new operating systems that you will need to use the links. 
  • Once your laptop is able to run the video chat platform, test out your interview set-up by making sure your webcam and microphone are functioning properly, and that you can access virtual backgrounds if needed.
  • If your interview involves screen-sharing a document or presentation, do a few trial runs to ensure you are comfortable accessing and using the screen-share mode. 

2. Choose the right setting

  • You want to take your interview in a quiet, distraction-free environment.
  • This way, you will have your interviewer’s complete attention and you optimise your chances of performing well. 
  • If you’re taking your interview from your place of residence, think about noise levels. Is any construction going on next door? Can you hear your neighbours or TV in the background?
  • Factors like noise and internet connection should not contribute to your stress on the big day.
  • Lastly, make sure your background is neat and clean.
  • There are other, easier alternatives as well; most video interview platforms have the option to blur out your background or to set a neutral one.

3. Prepare your desktop

  • Prior to your interview, you can pull up your resume, portfolio, the company’s website or mission statement, the job posting or even a few bullet points of topics you want to hit on during your interview on your desktop for easy access as you speak.
  • This way, you can quickly refer to any relevant documents.
  • Having your information readily available will boost your confidence.
  • Remember to anticipate screen-sharing scenarios.

4. Double check your schedule

  • Virtual interviews enable companies and candidates to connect across continents and time zones – which, though incredible, can occasionally create confusion.
  • Make sure to double-check the date and time of the interview.
  • Always add the timezone (EST, PST, etc.) and ‘a.m.’ or ‘p.m.’ to any discussion of time, in order to avoid possible miscommunication.
  • With online interviews, punctuality is key, as you lack the physical presence that usually constitutes a first impression.

5. Practise virtual body language

  • During a virtual interview, make sure you maintain focus, make eye contact and pace your speaking.
  • In virtual settings, even the smallest distractions can break your focus – and interviewers can tell when your eyes flit to a text notification in the corner of your screen.
  • Take steps, such as disabling laptop notifications, to make sure that messages or other notifications don’t interfere with your ability to virtually connect with your interviewer. 
  • Another way to help you perfect your online body language is to ask a friend to conduct a practice virtual interview with you and give you feedback.
  • During this round, practice looking into the camera while speaking, and creating an engaging and warm presence through the screen. 
  • Practise finishing your answer calmly, clearly and cleanly.

Have you checked out yesterday’s blog yet?

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(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article mentioned above are those of the author(s). They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of ICS Career GPS or its staff.)

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