Tips for a successful virtual interview

19 November 2021

Olivia Roberts

Many recruiters are moving forward with virtual interviews and online assessment centres, with this move, comes new challenges for both companies and candidates! Virtual interviews are new to everyone and ensuring that you, and your tech, are well prepared is crucial. We have gathered some tips for a successful virtual interview as it seems like virtual recruitment will remain for some time to come!


Prepare as you would for an in-person interview

As with an in-person interview, it is important to prepare the night before, make sure you are well-rested, and have prepared any material that you may need for the interview itself. A mock interview with a friend or family member can be useful and having the ‘interviewer’ ask some common interview questions that you can prepare answers for. Research the company that you’re interviewing for and the specific job role that you have applied to, and how your skills will help you excel in this role. On the day of the interview be sure to still dress however you feel would be appropriate in person and have any questions for the employer ready to ask. Remember to have some questions prepared to ask the interviewer, as an interview should be used for you to also assess if the company is right for you!

Ensure there are no tech issues before joining the virtual interview

It is important to double-check that there are no tech issues before joining the virtual interview and ensure you can use the platform the interview is being held on. You can also test a video call with someone else to make sure your background is not too distracting and that you can see and hear the other person clearly, and vice versa. If you are having any tech issues, be sure to let your interviewer know as they may be able to reschedule your interview, or find another way to carry out the interview if needed. If there are going to be distractions throughout e.g., other people in your house then let the interviewer know at the beginning as they should be accommodating to these situations.

Don’t use too many notes off-screen

Using notes off screen may seem tempting over a virtual interview, however, this will be picked up by your interviewer. Having a few bullet points may be useful to refer to throughout as prompts, however, written out answers to common questions to read off could make it seem like you are distracted, uninterested and make it obvious that you are reading from pre-prepared notes and have not fully researched the role and the company. Just like a face-to-face interview, you can have a copy of your CV available to you as this will have the same information as your employer, and will form the basis of some of the interviewers’ questions.

Body language is still important

Maintaining eye contact with the camera is important, just as making eye contact with the interviewer in person is! It is more difficult to communicate using body language over a video call, however, it is important to still be aware of your facial expressions and body language to ensure you seem interested and enthusiastic throughout. Ensure that you are not static when listening to the interviewer and smile/nod as they are speaking so they know you understand and can hear them ok. Greetings can be more difficult over a virtual interview but be sure to try and build rapport with your interviewer and begin by asking some casual questions about their day, or how you are feeling about the interview!

Don’t memorise answers word for word

You may have the perfect answer to a common interview question, however, make sure to keep your answers conversational and try not to sound too rehearsed and robotic. Employers will likely be able to notice if you have memorised perfected answers word for word and are repeating this information back to them, this can make you seem ingenuine and can make it harder to build rapport with the interviewer themselves.

Show up to the interview early

When showing up to an in-person interview, it is good practice to show up 5-10 minutes early, this should be the same when turning up to a virtual interview. You are often placed in a waiting room until the meeting begins and you can use these last few minutes to try and relax your nerves and ensure you have everything you need ready for the interview itself.

Pay attention to how you sound

Make sure to speak clearly and enthusiastically throughout the interview, during virtual interviews it is difficult to read an individual’s body language and so the way you speak is even more important. Make sure you give the interviewer time to speak and leave a small pause when you believe they have stopped just to ensure there is no lag and you won’t cut them off! You can even have yourself on mute until the interviewer stops speaking, unmuting yourself will allow for a small pause to ensure they have stopped speaking.

If there are any distractions – take these in your stride and don’t be put off!

Sometimes, distractions cannot be completely eradicated and can be unexpected. If this does happen during your interview, let your interviewer know and highlight the situation. It is likely that your interviewer will give you a moment to sort it out as they know you will likely be joining the interview from home and that you may share a space with others. As long as you handle the situation in a professional and timely way the interview will not be affected.

Be yourself!

Interviewers will not only assess candidates based on their skills and experience but also on whether they will be a good fit into the company culture. Make sure to show the interviewer your personality during the interview and ask about company culture to see if you would be a good fit!

Don’t forget about after the interview

After the interview, contact your interviewer to thank them for their time and express that you enjoyed meeting them. You can say that you are looking forward to hearing from them soon and reiterate your enthusiasm for the job. This will help build a rapport with the interviewer and let them know that you are still interested in the role.

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