Virtual interviews

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Virtual interviews are becoming the ‘norm’ and for a lot of people it can be hard to do an interview virtually as most people find it tricky to shine on screen.

Below I’ve listed some tips and ideas on how to make the most of your interview:

Set up

First and foremost make sure you are in a quiet spot. Find an area where you won’t be disturbed – find a room/area that no children can barge into or barking dogs wont stray into. Stay well away from flat mates who might be chatting to their mates on calls, traffic and even people walking outside your window. It may sounds silly but it is amazing how sound travels and how off putting and disturbing background noise can be. Trust me I know having a daughter who is currently home schooling and dogs that seem to bark at any bird that comes into our garden!

Make sure you are seated at either a desk or a kitchen/dining room table and that you aren’t lounging on your sofa or even worse, bed!

Clear clutter – you don’t want your possible future employer to think you live in complete chaos!

It’s always an idea to have a bit of fresh air in your room to keep you alert but be aware of the noise level if your window overlooks a very busy road or you are under a flight path (although there are less aircraft around at the moment!)

You need a few things with you – your cv, pen and paper incase you want to take notes and a glass of water (that inevitable dry mouth scenario). Be fully prepared before you click the ‘accept call’ or ‘dial’ button!

When choosing your room do check the lighting – try to make sure you don’t sit with your back to the window, especially on a sunny day as you will hardly be able to see you. Check you can see yourself clearly on the camera and you don’t look like you are sitting in a dark room with the lights off.

Make sure the webcam is working and the sound works. You can test it before your call. I am sure you are all doing the family and friends Zoom calls friends at the moment so I am pretty sure you are all ‘au fait’ with the various systems on offer but it’s always good to check beforehand that your PC / laptop is working and it is full charged.

Body Language

Remember this is an interview and not an informal chat with mates so make sure you sit upright and smile! Act professionally all the way through and dont forget to thank them for taking the time to talk with you. Picture yourself at a desk in an office rather than at your kitchen table and you will be in the right mindset.

Eye contact is key too. Try and have the screen at eye level so you aren’t looking up or down. Make sure you talk and look at the camera as opposed to the screen – it makes a huge difference.

Speak clearly and slowly. You need to remember to remain calm throughout. It’s a definite ‘no’ to shouting as well as mumbling – you don’t want the interviewer missing the most critical answer to a question or your interview pitch.

It is always advisable to wear business attire, even on a virtual call. You want to give a good first impression and this means looking the part. Dressing up will put you in the right frame of mind before you even start!

Of course you aren’t able to shake anyone’s hand virtually so give them your best smile – professional and not too cheesy. Smile throughout your interview; a friendly face to watch on screen is so much more appealing than someone pouting or even sulking!

Remember to turn off your mobile and any programmes that you may have running on your PC/Ipad as there is nothing worse than pinging and bleeping technology when someone is trying to talk to you – at worst it can also freeze your call.

Other tips which go without saying – have the job spec printed in front of you, as well as your CV so you can refer to it. Research the company you are interviewing for and make sure you have a couple of questions in your head to ask about the company.

Do remember though that this is relatively a new way of interviewing for everyone and although you are job hunting the interviewer is probably new to this and they too are learning the ‘working from home rules’.

It just remains for me to say – Best of luck!