• Kyle van Niekerk

How to prepare for a virtual interview

Covid-19 has introduced a new realm of interviewing, as the restrictions on Face to Face continue to restrict businesses. Virtual interviews are becoming the new norm of interview conduction and are a great way to demonstrate your skills and attributes without being in the face to face environment. Even though it is a fantastic way to conduct interviews, it does come with some limitations. Below are our 8 tips to follow, to get the most out of your virtual interview

1. Test your technology

Technical savvy is one of the top 10 competencies employers look for in new hires, and one hiring managers can test via a virtual interview. Before your interview, and not just 10 minutes before, test your technology to ensure you’re set up for success. Check your internet connectivity, and confirm your camera and microphone are working. If the picture is grainy or you’re experiencing an echo, you might need to buy a mini webcam with a built-in microphone.

Being Technically savvy is one of the first things an employer will look at when looking to hire a new employee. Before your interview, test all technology you will be using for your interview, ensure you have a steady internet connection and confirm that your camera and mic are working correctly. Tip: If you can, set a background image of the company, maybe a screenshot of their website or logo. This is guaranteed to give you brownie points with the hiring manager. #interviewhacks

2. Set the scene and minimise distractions

An important thing to remember when attending a virtual interview is that you need to set the scene. Make sure its a well-lit area, possibly near a window and make sure its a plain white wall behind you so that you can be the focal point of the interview. And remember the previous tip, It is sure to impress. Make sure to tidy your surroundings and have everything you need to be printed out and a notebook and pen. Remember, you are trying to come across as a detail-orientated person, and having a messy area will be harder to convince the hiring manager.

3. Be prepared

Just as you would for a face-to-face interview, you want to appear focused and ready to answer any questions without hesitation.

To ensure you’re prepared, research the company ahead of time and make any important notes for easy reference. Also print out a copy of your resume, so that you don’t forget key talking points.

When preparing for your interview, you need to remember to be cool calm and collected. First impressions are everything, even if they are over a virtual interview. To ensure you are prepared for the interview, research the company ahead of time as well as make notes on their values, and any other important notes you find. Also print out a copy of your resume, so that you don't lose your train of thought when being asked about your experience. It’s also best to come prepared with answers to common interview questions, such as:

Why are you interested in this role?

What do you know about our company?

What are your biggest weaknesses?

What do you consider to be your biggest professional achievement?

Tell me about a challenge at work and how you dealt with it.

What are you looking for in a new position?

Why are you leaving your current role?

Try not to mesmerise the responses. Just have an idea of what your answers are so that you can speak naturally and clearly. Instead, write some high-level thoughts down on Post-it Notes that you can stick to your computer. You should also be prepared to answer, “Do you have any questions for me?” Some typical questions may include:

What does a typical day in the life of this role look like?

What are the company’s goals this quarter?

How would you describe the ideal candidate for this position?

Is there any reason I wouldn't be a good hire?

Where does this role sit in the organisation, who will I be working with?

Can you walk me through the next steps of the hiring process?

4. Practice but don’t memorise

Just as you would face-to-face, you want to come across natural and relaxed in your online interview. Whether you’re answering questions or giving your elevator pitch, you don’t want to sound robotic and rehearsed.

Think over your answers to the above questions to best prepare yourself. Practice your responses by answering them out loud and make sure you answer them as clear and concise as possible.

5. Monitor Your Body Language

Body language may not be as important in a virtual interview as it would in a face to face, however it is still important enough to monitor. You may not be able to firmly shake your interviewers’ hand at your first meeting, but you can certainly still monitor positive body language, as well as any other hand expressions. Sit up straight, don’t slouch, smile and maintain eye contact. Remember, maintaining eye contact is the strongest way you can connect with your interviewer, so when speaking, look at the camera, rather than their image on the screen. It may feel a little unnatural looking into the camera rather than the person you are speaking to, but from their end, it will come across as a lot more personable.

6. Dress the Part

I know we are all guilty of the PJ pants and business shirt look for meetings. Dressing professionally will show you are serious about the position. Studies also show that people feel more authoritative, trustworthy and competent when they are wearing business attire.

7. Make a Connection

One of the main things you miss during a virtual interview is the natural banter and small talk of a face-to-face meeting. Building a connection with your interviewer is just as important, if not more so when meeting virtually.

The best time to speak more casually and openly is at the beginning of the interview. It’s an opportunity to make some brief small talk about your day, and to thank them for meeting with you virtually.

Questions such as 'tell me about yourself' are also a great opportunity to briefly introduce who you are outside your work, your passions and aspirations and any other hobbies to showcase the type of person you are.

8. Immediately Follow Up

Within 24 hours of the interview, send an individual thank you email to everyone you’ve met. Not only will it show you value their time, but it provides you with the opportunity to resell yourself and express the unique strengths you bring to the role or share any talking points you forgot to address.

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