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Editorial
16 June 2020

Your Ultimate Guide to: Virtual Interviews

You’ve just graduated and you’re now preparing to make your first steps into adulthood — landing your first job! But before that, you’ve got to go through various interviews (or only one if you’re lucky). Not only do you have to prepare for that change, you’ll be doing it in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic! 

The COVID-19 outbreak has caused traditional face-to-face job interviews to be go virtual with many not familiar with it. Though the purpose and most of the procedures of a virtual interview is similar to a traditional one, you now have to take into consideration the technical aspects and features on top of those butterflies in your stomach. 

Take a deep breath because we’ve got you covered with five tips to help you with your virtual interviews. 

1. Be Prepared

Whether virtual or face-to-face, always go the extra mile to prepare for an interview. These are 5 steps to take to be prepared:

  • Do Your Research

Remember to do your research on the role that you've applied for, preparing answers to common questions as well as questions to ask the interviewer, and also the company you’re interviewed at.

This will show your passion and knowledge which is what the interviewer will be looking for. 

  • Test Your Tech

Because the interview will be virtual, testing your tech before the interview is very important. Familiarise yourself with the video call application that the company will be using and do a technical check on your gadgets.

Doing this will help ensure a clear online communication and cut down any technical difficulties

  • Look Professional

Find a suitable place to have the interview. While you should always be yourself during the interview, you wouldn’t want to overexpose yourself with a messy backdrop filled with used clothes! Choose a spot with a plain backdrop and with minimal glare or check the virtual backgrounds that may be available in the video call application.

Besides the background, remember that your appearance will also speak volume about your personality. Despite being at home, always wear professional attire (and yes, we do mean wearing proper pants as well!)

  • Prepare Notes

Something that you will not be able to do in a face-to-face interview is to read your points from your notes. Here’s where you can make full advantage of being connected virtually. Having notes that you could peek at during the interview will help, especially if you get anxious easily.

A word of caution: Do this sparingly and only when absolutely necessary to make sure that you’re being the most natural. 

  • Practice With a Friend

It’s hard to make a personal conversation when it’s virtual. The lack of body language that could help convey your personality is taken away. So, the best way to solve this is by practicing! Record and watch yourself being in the interview and later find out how you could be more engaging. 

You could also conduct a mock interview with your friends. Get your friends to be the interviewer and, later, comment on how you could do better. 

2. Be Natural, Be Yourself

While you definitely need to be prepared for any form of interviews, it’s important to not mimic everything that you have learned but instead, listen actively and give your full attention. This will allow the interviewer to get to know you better

Mistakes and hiccups will happen with technology no matter how much you prepare so be ready for anything that could go wrong and go with the flow. This will show interviewers how you can easily adapt to situations, even those that you may not have been prepared for.

Like any other conversations, treat the interview as another conversation (though remember to have a sense of professionalism as well.) This means that what you say needs to be accompanied with good body language

3. Maintain Good Body Language

From facial expressions to the way we place our arms, nonverbal communication is important in enhancing our conversations with others. Similarly, nonverbal communication in interviews gives added value to the conversation as you’re able to read the person you’re communicating with. 

However, for virtual interviews, nonverbal cues are more restricted so it’s even more important to ensure that you’re making eye contact with the camera to show that you are ‘looking at them’ (even if you have your notes at the corner of your screen.) While they may not be able to see your full video, remember to maintain good posture and not be distracted by other devices. Remember to nod and smile naturally as a sign of agreement with the interviewers.

4. Flaunt Your Good Side

Like any other interviews, you’ll want to make a good impression and show off your good side. This is where the little things count. Typically, you would show up about half an hour earlier for a face-to-face interview. Though, you don’t have to be seated in the ‘virtual waiting room’ half an hour before, showing up 5 to 10 minutes earlier would allow you to relax, catch a few deep breaths, and calm your nerves before ‘entering the room’. 

In a face-to-face interview, what would you do when you enter a room?

Greet the interviewer, of course! Same goes for virtual interviews. Greet them and give a ‘digital’ handshake by smiling and nodding to acknowledge their presence. This will help to break any tension and show your capabilities of building relationships even when it’s done virtually.

5. Follow up

Once you’re done with the interview, remember to send an individual ‘thank you’ email to all your interviewers. This will show the interviewers your gratitude for allowing you to have their time and, more importantly, you’ll also be able to reiterate your strengths for the position. 

To make it even more personalised, mention why the interview was special to you. This will give the interviewers a lasting impression of yourself instead of the generic ‘thank you’ emails that they receive.

At the end of the day, it's all about proving to the interviewer that you are the right person for the role you’re being interviewed for. So, remember to use these 5 tips to succeed and make a good impression during any interviews. 

All the best in your job hunt!

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Ailyn Low
Editor
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