Mastering a Virtual Interview

Video conferencing has fast become the new norm for daily work interactions and catch ups. While we have seen many funny (and awkward) moments, we really want to avoid this when being interviewed for a job.

Video conferencing is an art in itself and you need to be able to leverage the platform, avoid mistakes and be the candidate who is comfortable and confident. Getting your preparation right will allow you to focus on positioning yourself for the role and not be distracted by fixing audio connections and computer glitches!

So, let’s break this down into three key areas.

1.     Setting up the system

  • Download any applications the day before the interview and ensure you can login. There are plenty of online user guides and videos to assist with setting up or trouble shooting.

  • Work out what audio you will be using, headset, earphones or computer. Headsets are preferable as they reduce background noise and echoing but either way you will need to be able to switch between them all using the settings function in the application or manually changing the audio settings on your PC.

  • Camera Position – while it might seem trivial, no one wants to look up your nose or see half your head! Check your camera position or prop your PC up on books. You may also want to consider standing up. When you stand you give off more energy, which can help build rapport or showcase your personality better.

  • Lighting – test various locations to ensure you can be clearly seen. Having a window in front of you works well. Your computer screen can also reflect light on your face , when the video isn’t in full screen.

  • Background – make sure there is nothing distracting, messy or inappropriate. The focus needs to be on you and what you have to say.

  • Research the company and the role, prepare some examples focusing on the STAR process (situation/task/action/result). Also have a couple of questions on hand to ask at the end. This is preparation you would normally do for a face-to-face interview and should always be protocol.

  • Do a dry run with a friend or family member. Even if you have used the technology 100 times before, going through the motions will avoid unnecessary stress in the interview.

2. Day of the interview

  • Let the household know you cannot be distributed during the interview. Put up a sign on the door, bribe them, send them out (including the dog), whatever it takes! You need to avoid interruptions to keep focused on the task at hand.

  • Don’t use virtual backgrounds – having seen my Dad fade in and out on our weekly family calls is very very distracting.

  • Reduce internet use in the house (e.g. no streaming Netflix), the last thing you need is glitching because of reduced band width.

  • Dress professionally, it looks better and helps to get you in the zone.

  • Minimise technical distractions – turn off notifications on your device, shut down email and put your phone on silent.

  • Join the meeting 15 minutes early.

  • Stick a couple of post it notes above the computer to help remind you of some key points you want to emphasise.

 3.     During the interview

  • Keep eye contact with the interviewers and try to not to look at your own image on the screen.

  • Use the share function to demonstrate examples of work you have done – for example, a brochure you have created, a program you wrote or a presentation pack. Practice using the share function beforehand and have the file ready to go with all other applications shut down.

  • Have a glass of water on hand.

  • Ask questions to show that you are interested and excited about the role.

Remember virtual interviews can be shorter than the traditional face-to-face option so don’t be put off if it’s over sooner than you expected. Video conferencing and recording video answers are probably here to stay as part of the recruitment process. So, get comfortable with the process and enjoy the ride! You’ve totally got this.

Written by Michelle Ayyuce from ZIPWIRE. You can learn all about ZIPWIRE and their incredible work here