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How to Succeed in Virtual Interviews.

Feb 09, 2022

Tetyana Khramova, the Centre for Career and Calling’s Work Integrated Learning Coordinator, shares tips on succeeding in virtual interviews along with insights from recruiters. 

Why virtual?

Virtual interviews are here to stay and not only because of the pandemic. For recruiters, an interview conducted online offers efficiency. The candidate selection process can be a time saver and supplements other assessment data, providing a well-rounded profile of an applicant. In short, it’s just as effective as interviewing in person. So, whether you are looking for a summer student job or a graduate position, be prepared for virtual interviews. They are not going away.

Preparing for a Virtual Interview: Ten Tips:

  1. Test Your Technology. This includes checking your internet connectivity, your camera and your microphone. If the picture is grainy or you are experiencing an echo, invest in a mini webcam with a built-in microphone. Being technically literate is now on employers lists of top competencies so fumbling around with your audio or lighting during the call does not give a good impression.
  2. Minimize Distractions. Choose a room with optimal lighting, preferably near a window. Have your background as uncluttered as possible.  It’s hard to convey professionalism when there’s laundry piling up in the corner! Turn off the TV; put your cell phone on silent, and close windows and doors to muffle neighborhood traffic.
  3. Sit Down Prepared. Do not be tempted to search the web for answers mid-interview! You must be focused and ready to answer any questions. Research the company ahead of time and jot down notes for easy reference. Make sure you print out a copy of your resume and keep it to hand so you don’t forget key talking points.
  4. Practice but Don’t Memorize. If you memorize you can sound robotic. If you practice with a friend or family member, you will be prepared but still sound genuine. Run through a variety of questions and the more the better.
  5. Keep Things Simple. Don’t feel like you must give a long-winded answer if the question doesn’t warrant it. Being clear and concise is one of the most important things in a job interview.
  6. Watch Your Body Language. You may not be able to give a firm handshake, but you can be mindful of your body language. Exude confidence by sitting up straight, smiling, and keeping the camera at eye level. Research shows that employers are more likely to remember what you said if you maintain eye contact, so keep your focus on the camera when talking.
  7. Dress the Part. You might be sitting near your bed, but you shouldn’t look like you just rolled out of it. Dress as you would for an in-person interview. Smart professional clothing shows that you are serious about the position and respect the process. Studies also show that people feel more in command and competent when wearing formal business attire.
  8. Make a Connection. You might be at the end of a long list of people the hiring manager spoke to that day so it’s important to make a connection. Don’t be afraid to have a short aside about a common interest or share a personal story if the opportunity presents itself. The recruiter might enjoy the break from the routine questions they have to get through and they are more likely to remember you.
  9. Be enthusiastic. It’s more difficult for the interviewer to see your enthusiasm through a computer screen, so make sure you’re expressive when answering questions. Show them that you will be a great fit for the culture of their organization and ensure they know how you can bring value to them.
  10. Immediately Follow Up. Within 24 hours of the interview, send an individual thank you email to everyone you met. Not only will it show you valued their time, it provides you the opportunity to re-sell yourself, and share any talking points you forgot to address. If there was something specific you bonded over, mention that in the email. Or if an interviewer brought up a particular business challenge, use the follow-up as a way to propose potential solutions. Be sure to keep the email concise and genuine so leave a lasting impression.

What Do Recruiters Say?

Below are two videos from recruiters sharing their perspectives.

In the first video [1], Jeff Simpson, a Senior Director of Human Resources at Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, provides valuable insights on virtual interviews from a recruiter’s perspective.

In the second video [2], Taylor Meadows, known as a recruitment evangelist at Indeed, shares his tips on preparing for virtual interviews.


 [1] Recruiter, Jeff Simpson shares his tips

[2] Online job interview and tips and suggestions.

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