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Preparing for a virtual interview

Due to restrictions brought on by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, virtual interviews became a necessity when traditional face-to-face interviews could not take place. With many of our team members continuing to work from home, our hiring process has become increasingly virtual.

What is a virtual interview?

A virtual interview, or video interview, is a job interview that leverages video technology to allow the discussion to take place remotely. Rather than meeting face-to-face, the interviewer(s) and candidate will connect with each other online using video conferencing software, such as Zoom, Skype or Microsoft Teams. The tools required for this kind of meeting typically include a computer with built-in or external video camera and microphone, a reliable internet connection and headphones if desired.

Whilst a virtual interview can appear daunting, the feedback from those who have undertaken one has so far been very positive. Video conferencing software has helped us reach a more diverse group of candidates and allows us to improve the candidate experience with us.

A video interview often follows the style of a traditional, in-person interview, although there are a few key considerations to keep in mind. Below are some tips to help you prepare for your video interview with us.

Preparing for a video interview

  1. Test your technology and internet connection

    Avoid potential technical glitches by testing your equipment and internet connection before the virtual meeting. Our preferred platform for virtual interviews is Microsoft Teams. Don’t worry if you don’t have a Microsoft Teams account, you can still join a meeting. Here’s some more information on how to get set up. If you’d like a pre-interview Teams test run to ensure you feel comfortable with your technology and internet connection, please let our recruitment team know.

  2. Keep your virtual identity professional

    In today’s digital world, your email address or username is often your first impression. So it might be time to change that once-hilarious school email address you might still be using!

    Keep your email address and username simple. Try different combinations of your first, middle and last name, or leverage industry keywords if you’re stuck. Avoid using symbols and the numbers one and zero, which can look like letters depending on the font, potentially causing confusion during outreach.

  3. Dress for success

    Projecting professionalism goes beyond your email address and username.

    For virtual meetings, dress as though you’re preparing for an in-person interview. Ask in advance if there are any dress requirements for the interview. You should be the focus of the interview, not your wardrobe.

  4. Background Image

    If possible, sit in front of a blank background, so that you remain the focal point. If your house is void of empty walls, set up in your home office or living room – whichever area looks the most professional. There are also digital backgrounds that can be used on software like Microsoft Teams. If you need help in how to set this up, please do ask a member of our recruitment team and they’ll be delighted to help.

    Lastly, check your lighting. Sitting near a window provides a good source of natural light, however sitting with a bright sunny window behind you can often make the online visual appear very dark.

  5. Monitor Your Body Language

    Unfortunately, that firm handshake and enthusiasm you would typically greet us with during an in-person interview won’t translate via video. Instead, convey confidence through your body language. Sit up straight, smile and keep the camera at eye level to avoid looking up or down. Research shows that employers are more likely to remember what you said if you maintain eye contact, so be sure to keep your eyes focused on the camera – not the screen image of the interviewer - as you converse.

    Extra Tip: Write your talking points on Post-it notes. You can then place those notes on your computer screen to avoid shuffling papers or trying to switch to another screen during the call.

  6. Remove any distractions

    Do what you can to eliminate or minimise potential interruptions prior to beginning the video call.

    Turn off the TV, silence your phone and close the windows to reduce any outside noise. While you can’t plan for every distraction - particularly if you have children or the doorbell rings - the more prepared you can be, the better.

We hope this helps! And remember to un-mute yourself….