8 tips for a successful virtual interview

With the world in lockdown, the way we interview for new roles has had to adapt and change and now the virtual interview is the new way forward. In fact, it may become the new normal to save time on travel and expenses for candidates and as businesses move towards a more flexible working environment.

With this in mind, if you have a virtual interview in the pipeline you may be looking for tips on how to come across as professional as possible. Here are just a few ideas to take away and use during your preparation:

1. Choose a neutral and non-distracting environment

Select a space in your house with a neutral background that you can sit in front of and find somewhere with lots of natural light if possible. This may be a table in the dining room with a blank wall behind or perhaps the study with a neat bookshelf as the background. Ensure there is no mess or clutter behind you – check how you appear on screen before you sign on for the interview!

2. Ensure you’ll have peace and quiet

It’s easier said than done if you’re currently at home with kids and other family members. However, it’s important you have a quiet space to attend your interview in. Ask if people living at home with you can either be very quiet during your time on the video call or if they can leave the house for an hour to ensure nothing interrupts you.

3. Dress professionally

Yes, you’re at home but remember this is still a job interview and how you present yourself is important. Fix your hair, ensure you’re wearing a professional top and ideally bottoms too just in case you need to stand up for any reason. A shirt on top and stained jogging bottoms below isn’t a great look! Use accessories to give yourself a confidence boost. A pair of dangly earrings or designer glasses – Emporio Armani glasses are always a great call – are a great way of communicating who you are and giving interviews a glimpse of your personality.

4. Prepare some notes

If you can, prep some notes and have these up on the screen in the corner. Many of us do our research and prep beforehand but in that nerve-wracking one on one situation in a real-life interview, it’s easy to forget what you wanted to say. Having your notes in front of you means that you can refer to them without looking away from the video. Virtual interviews give those being interviewed a great advantage that they can have any references or facts they need in front of them with the person on the other side of the screen being none the wiser.

5. Check everything works beforehand

Take some time to test your microphone and camera settings before the interview and even give a friend or family member a call to ensure everything is working as it should be. There’s nothing worse than technical difficulties on the day that can put you on the backfoot and leave you feeling flustered. There are sites that can check your camera and microphone for you but it’s as simple as heading to the settings section on your laptop.

6. Monitor your body language throughout

It’s easy to forget you’re on video and act like you’re on a call. Pretend that instead of a screen, those interviewing you are sat across from you in person. This way there’s no risk of pulling a negative face without thinking or slumping in your chair.

7. Offer to share your screen with examples of work

If they ask for evidence of projects, have these prepped and ready then offer to share your screen. This gives you control of the interview and you can share and explain your work there and then. No passing your portfolio over the table and nervously watching as they casually flick through it!

8. Be yourself

Even though you aren’t meeting in person, your interviewer(s) want to get a feel for who you are as a person too so don’t be afraid to take part in chit chat and ask them questions. Share enough about yourself to give them an idea of what you like and dislike so they can better understand you as a person.