Smash your next virtual interview

  • BY AMANDA GAN
  • THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2020

Virtual interviewing is here to stay so if you are looking for a new role there is a strong likelihood that you will be asked to have an interview via a video conferencing platform. Popular platforms include Skype, WhatsApp, Facetime, Zoom, Gotowebinar and Webex.

Here are some top tips to help you perform at your best:

  • Dress professionally – of course you don’t need to polish your shoes, however we advise you to wear business attire (a suit is recommended).
  • Ensure the video conferencing software or platform that you'll be using has been downloaded or updated on your device well in advance. If using Skype, Facetime or WhatsApp for the first time, the interviewer will be calling you. Practice accepting a call with a friend. We also recommend you test your video and audio settings in advance. Using a pair of headphones with a microphone will give you and the interviewer a better audio experience (the headphones that came with your mobile phone should work just fine).
  • Give yourself 10-15 minutes to get online and prepare. There is nothing more stressful than spending the first ten minutes of your interview frantically trying to update software and adjusting settings.
  • We recommend only conducting interviews on PCs, laptops or tablets. It is not advisable to use a mobile phone, but if you have to, please don't hold it in your hand.
  • A reliable and strong internet connection will ensure you don't get a frozen face on the interviewer's screen. Consider using an Ethernet connection rather than WiFi.
  • Ensure you are in a room where you won’t be interrupted or have background noise.
  • Choose your background - a blank wall or uncluttered room will ensure you are the main focus of the interviewer's attention.
  • Check you have plenty of natural light in the room and you are well lit from the front. Don’t position yourself with a light source behind you as your online image will be dark.
  • Position the camera at eye level and have your head and shoulders in the frame. A camera placed lower than your chin won't be your most flattering angle and you also don’t want the camera looking up your nose! Don't be too close to the camera or too far away.
  • Try to look into the camera lens from time to time as this will mean you make eye contact with the interviewer, which will result in a better interpersonal connection.
  • Have your mobile phone with you in case there are any connection issues, however turn it off or to mute as soon as your interview starts.
  • Building rapport over a video call can be harder than in person so you need to be aware of your body language and micro-expressions to avoid misinterpretation.  Avoid touching your hair and face, sit up straight and maintain good posture. And remember to smile and be yourself.
  • You should prepare for a virtual interview in the same way you would prepare for an in-person interview. Use preparation notes if you need to, however take care you don’t look down too much during the interview.
  • One way recorded video interviews can be daunting. They involve clicking on a link you've been emailed and recording yourself answering a set number of questions. This usually consists of 4-6 questions and you may be allocated 1-2 minutes per question to record your responses on the first attempt. Some people find it helps to have a willing volunteer standing behind the laptop, so you feel you are speaking to a real person.
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