Interviewing from home – The ultimate Virtual Interview Guide

15th April 2020 / Tips & Advice

There’s no doubt that these are challenging times, not only from a health management point of view but also from an economic perspective. Such is the impact of the current global pandemic, it has meant a massive change in our professional and personal lives. We have now all seen and no doubt read at least one article about the ideal ‘WFH’ (no need to ask what that acronym means now!) set up and are quickly realising how that transition is not always a smooth one; from a dodgy internet connection to homeschooling the kids and then still being as ‘switched on’ and productive as always.

It seems this is to be our new norm for some time and as we become accustomed to this new way of working and living, our ability to adapt is being tested more than ever.

While we know that economically things feel exceptionally unstable, thinking ahead, companies are reconsidering their hiring strategies for if and when they may need any additional personnel. Wishful thinking just right now, but some Clients have quickly realised how under-prepared they are should this occur and know they need to ensure their systems can deal with this new way of operating. 

When talking to Candidates and discussing how things may move forward in a remote environment the same questions arise on how to handle interviews and communicate effectively. To assist we have put together a quick guide on some important points to consider – hopefully ensuring a positive outcome and experience for putting your best foot forward in the virtual space.

Be Prepared

Before the interview even begins, ensure you are set up and ready. Have your portfolio easily accessible on your computer; ensure you have no questionable tabs open (no one wants to see your online shopping), and ensure you have a quiet, well-lit area in to interview.

Much like a normal interview, do your research on the firm, prepare questions, and be ready to demonstrate your best work.

First Impressions

Exactly like a face-to-face interview, first impressions count. Just as you would in a normal interview setting, make sure you are dressed appropriately. Even though you may be at home, your Interviewer doesn’t want to see your PJ’s! Look sharp and well-presented every time.

As you will likely be within a private space rather than the usual professional context of an interview, ensure your background is tidy and free of distractions. Warn others in your household that you will be in an interview; you don’t want them making an appearance in the background!

IT and Tech

Prior to your interview, confirm with your interviewer what software will be in use to communicate.  Ensure you have downloaded any apps and created an account (if applicable) prior to your meeting time. You don’t want to waste time by being ill-prepared.

Interviews can be awkward enough; you don’t want to make it worse by throwing computer issues and internet lag into the mix. Test run your set-up with a friend, make sure you can see and hear each other clearly, also make sure to free up as much bandwidth as possible for your video call, ask your roommates/ family to hold off streaming on Netflix while you are interviewing.

If all goes wrong – ensure your interviewer has your phone number, worst-case scenario, you end up with a phone interview rather than a completely missed opportunity. Oh and don’t wait for them to call if something does go wrong, be proactive and on the ball to ensure the communication is maintained.

Screen Sharing

You will likely be asked to step your Interviewer through your portfolio via screen share, make sure you have your presentation ready to go. Avoid having unnecessary windows open to keep the process as streamlined as possible. Talk through your portfolio as you would in person, this is your moment to truly shine and highlight your skills and experience in detail. For further information on presenting your portfolio refer to our PORTFOLIO HACKS

Interview Body Language

Under normal circumstances, eye contact is vital! Make sure you appear to be making eye contact by making your webcam at eye level. You don’t want to be perceived as looking down or in another direction to those you are speaking with! A nod or a smile goes a long way when appropriate, it will show that you are listening and aware of what is being said; checking out how good you look on screen when someone is talking to you is a definite no-no!

Let Your Personality Show

Don’t forget companies will also be assessing your cultural fit in the office. While it can be a little more difficult to convey don’t shy away from making normal conversation. Remember to ask questions, and get to know the team in return! 

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

If worst comes to worst and your internet keeps crashing, or half off your face goes missing on screen, keep cool and calm, this is beyond your control and the way you handle it is more important than the issue itself. Remember everyone has had tech difficulties.

Enjoy the Process, End on a High Note

Interviews can be nerve-wracking but try to relax and enjoy the experience – thank the interviewer for their time and have a great time getting to know one another – we are all in isolation of some form and so getting an opportunity to share and engage is more important than ever before.

While face to face interviews are ideal, our current reality is different, and as we adapt to these changes, we know that even when back to normal, the leaps and bounds we have made to up skill and function efficiently in a remote environment will become a permanent fixture in our professional lives. We hope some our top tips will help you achieve this and in the meantime, let’s all stay safe and well and get through this together. 

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