Virtual interviews have been becoming more important for several years, and in this current period they are proving essential. They can seem intimidating and have some unique challenges, but you do have control over certain things. We have compiled a comprehensive list with little details that can ensure your first impression is positive.
Preparation is key - you still need to prepare the same way you would if you were going to a face to face interview. However, the difference is that you are responsible for the physical setting too.
You need to ensure you create a positive initial impression.
Little details like the right camera angle and good lighting can distinguish you from other candidates.
We recommend going through the following points and setting up your interview place considering the tips below:
✔ Ideally, you have a natural light source in front of your face
☞ Alternatively, set up a light source behind the camera
✘ Avoid any harsh lighting behind you, as this will turn you into a shadowy silhouette
✔ Ideally, you have a clean and neutral space
☛ Alternatively, choose the most business-like background ensuring it is decluttered and organised tidily
✘ A busy and untidy background can be a distraction
✔ Ensure that the camera is slightly above your eye-line, in-line with the top of your head when you are sitting down
☛ Take some time to adjust the camera; books or a box can be helpful to bring the camera to your eyelevel
✔ Ideally, sit back from your laptop ensuring you are properly framed by creating a triangle between your forehead and shoulders
Even online, eye contact is a key to success
✔ Remember to look at the camera when you are speaking which will convey that you’re confident
☛ Put a sticker or a post-it right above your webcam to focus your eyes and remind you to look at the camera and not your own or the other person's image
✘ Avoid looking away from the camera as this may give the interviewer the impression that you are distracted or disinterested
✔ Ensure the noise level is kept to a minimum and you will not be interrupted by family members, housemates or pets
✔ Switch your phone onto silent and close any computer applications that may make sounds
✔Hang a sign on the door asking mail carriers and package deliverers not to ring the doorbell
✔ Dress in a professional manner as if attending a face to face interview
☛ Wear solid colours - blue and grey shades are recommended, navy is ideal
✘ Avoid white, bright colours and black as well as stripes and patterns
Check your technical set up
✔ Test speakers, camera and microphone and ensure you know how to use them
✔ Have a practice well in advance; if you don’t know the platform then you can still do a technical check on Skype or Zoom
✔ Check you have the software installed (if need be) and check by clicking the link
✔ Make sure the setup is stable
✔ Connect to Wifi or strong internet – preferably a wired connection
✔ Close any unnecessary web browser tabs and applications to maximise broadband
Other things to think about
✔ Have a notepad and pen next to you with your questions and so you can take notes
✔ Taking brief notes while your interviewer is talking shows you are engaged
✔ Speak slowly and pause for a few seconds before you answer as there may be an online delay
✔ Memorise the names of the interviewers
✔ Contrary to an in-person interview, you may want to minimise your body and hand movements as rapid movements sometimes look jerky
☛ Listen carefully when the interviewer is speaking and use facial expressions such as nodding and smiling to show that you are listening
✔ Login 5 minutes before the start of your interview
✔ Make sure you understand what you will be doing in the interview. If you are doing a test, you may need to be at a keyboard and not just on a phone
Last but not least: remember to smile!