Have a virtual interview coming up and you’re not sure what you should do to prepare or what to expect? Have no fear, Nova is here!
Virtual interviews have never been a massive part of the job searching process in Cayman until now, as it is possible to attend an in-person interview for a potential employer with relative ease. However, as companies adapt to globalization of the economy and the way we work, we will start to see an increased need for virtual meetings, including interviews, even after the current ‘Stay at Home’ restrictions are lifted.
Phone interviews can be daunting, and video interviews are something many of us would rather run away from, but fear not, we are here to help and provide some advice and insight for these virtual interviews and how you can ace them. We will break it down into what you can do in advance, during the interview, after the interview, and all of the technical bits too!
In advance of your virtual interview:
Preparing is the No.1 rule for most things, especially when it comes to career development, but how should you prepare for a virtual interview?
- Write out notes to have with you during the call. Start with the straightforward questions “Tell me about yourself” right through to why you applied for the role and any questions that you may have. If this is a video call, be careful that you aren’t looking down at these notes all of the time- yes, they can see you! The idea of preparation is that you feel ready and confident, so having those notes nearby is often enough, without needing to look at them. You can ask the interviewer is it okay if you make some notes through the interview.
- Practice talking to your phone/webcam and record it, cringy, I know! This is a great way to pay attention to facial expressions you may make when talking. With in-person interviews, you will have the ability to be more expressive as the interviewer can see you as a whole. Comparatively, on video, they just see your face, so too much expression may be a little overwhelming for the interviewers. On the other end of that spectrum, too little expression will seem robotic; it’s a delicate balance, which is why preparing in advance is key.
- Over the phone, you just have your voice to sell you, and you will have no visual cues as to whether the person has finished talking or whether they want you to finish talking, making it even more challenging to know if you have answered their question properly. Our advice here is to practice listening to your voice (and also get a friend to listen) by recording your answers to specific interview questions so you can hear if it is clear you have finished answering. In the interview, asking the interviewer if you have sufficiently answered the question could be a good idea if you are not sure.
During your virtual interview:
You want to feel as ‘interview-like’ as possible, so make sure you are dressed for an interview, are set up in an interview-appropriate environment, and are away from any distractions. There are some additional things you may not have thought of until in the interview itself.
- Set yourself up with water, a notepad, your resume, and the job description. Anything you would have in hand in an in-person interview, you will want to have ready.
- Be aware of where you are looking. If like many of us, you have had a year’s worth of video calls in the last month, you may have noticed how easy it is to focus on yourself on the screen (guilty). Doing this may feel more comfortable, but remember where the camera lens is, as you don’t want to look as though you are looking down all the time. Try to focus on where the lens is, usually the top of the screen.
- On a phone call, you could technically get away with doing some household chores mid-interview, but please, please don’t do this. You would be surprised how much can be heard on the other end.
- Stay calm if anything goes wrong with the phone or internet connection. There may be a lot of “can you hear me?” and “oh sorry I missed that; can you repeat that?”. Remember, you are not chatting with a friend or family member here, so it is essential to be polite and professional when this happens, proving that you are not easily frustrated.
- Be human. It may be through technology, but you are still connecting. It is okay to laugh at jokes and to engage in general chit chat. If your dog starts barking halfway through, or the chickens outside are particularly loud, acknowledge it and use it as a way to build a rapport with the interviewers.
After your virtual interview:
With an in-person interview, you will usually have some ‘thinking’ time on your drive back home/back to work, so you need to create it for yourself with a virtual interview.
- It’s important to take some time to think about how you felt in the interview and if you have any follow up questions.
- Take 5-10 minutes before focusing on any other tasks to make a note of how you think the interview went, how you feel about the company, and if anything comes to mind that you didn’t get a chance to mention.
- Send a follow up thank you email. You can do this right away as they know you were sitting at your computer! If you have additional questions, think about how to word them, and include them as part of your thank you email.
The technical bits:
Last, but by no means least! As one of my school teachers used to say: “Fail to prepare then, prepare to fail.”
- Figure out what systems you need. Is it a Zoom call, do you need to download Zoom in advance? Is it Skype, do you need to create an account? Don’t wait until 10 minutes before to start figuring these details out.
- The room you have chosen to have the call in: is it too far away from your wi-fi router to get a good signal? Does the connection drop if someone in your house opens Netflix? Make sure you do whatever you can in advance to make sure you have a good connection and eliminate interferences.
- Checking that your camera and microphone work in advance is vital. You don’t want to join the call and not be heard at all. If the microphone or sound is having issues, consider using earphones with a microphone on the cable.
Have an interview coming up and you’re not sure you’re fully prepared? Reach out to a member of the Nova Team at firstname.lastname@example.org and we would be happy to help you with some interview prep!