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Preparing for Virtual Interviews: Know the Do’s and Don’ts

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A Candidates Guide to Preparing for Virtual Interviews

More and more companies are now making use of the latest communication technology to streamline their process. When it comes to organizing interviews and conducting them, human resource personnel are turning into the latest innovation of conducting virtual interviews. Even before the world was affected by COVID-19, companies have been using online digital interview platforms to conduct one on one interview with job candidates.   

Virtual interviews make hiring more seamless and convenient for both the recruiter and candidate as it’s faster, cost-effective, and has greater reach. Today, as part of health and safety protocols to avoid the spread of coronavirus, 85% of businesses are conducting virtual interviews to hire candidates. Now for job seekers, this can be a very new experience and again a very safe and convenient way to be interviewed by a recruiter. Unlike face to face interviews, virtual interviews can have more preparations than the traditional ones, and you should know the type of virtual interviews that recruiters usually do:  

  

One Way Virtual Interview  

With traditional interviews, sometimes recruiters conduct a prequalification process wherein they get to know the candidates first by having them answer a set of few questions or give a short presentation about themselves. With virtual interviews, they call it “one way” wherein you will be given questions and the recruiters will give you a specific amount of time to answer. Your recruiter will give you access to a one-way interview application, your answer to the questions can be in a short paragraph or time bounded oral presentation. With one-way interviews, expect that you will be presenting yourself more and will be following the instructions set on the application. To give you an idea, kindly watch the video below wherein a recruiter demonstrates how one-way virtual interviews are done using one of the applications called Hire Vue.  

 

 

Live Interview  

Compared to one-way interviews wherein the candidate will not be conversing with the actual recruiters, live interviews are similar to the face to face interviews, it’s just that it’s going to be done virtually using platforms like Skype and Zoom. Like casual personal interviews, you can respond freely with the interviewer or recruiters making it more conversational. If you do not have any idea how live interviews are done through Skype or Zoom, check out this live virtual interview.   

Preparing for Virtual Interviews  

Whether you will be requested a one way or live interview, as a job candidate part of making a good impression is being prepared. Like the traditional interviews, you must know the basic cardinal rule of being on time, dress to impress, and more. With virtual interviews, you must know what to prepare and keep in mind some considerations to help you prepare and ace that interview at the comfort of your own home. Here are the things you need to know and of course familiarize the dos and don’ts with virtual interviews:  

  

HOW TO AND WHAT TO PREPARE FOR VIRTUAL INTERVIEWS

 

LOCATION

?Do’s: Virtual interviews are best done when you are located in a specific room inside your home wherein there will be less noise, mess, and has an office or just simply a plain background with good lighting. Pick a spot inside your home where you cannot be distracted and quiet, as you would want your full attention while you are in the interview process.   

?Don’ts: When choosing a spot for virtual interviews avoid having your interview in the kitchen, your bedroom, living room, or common areas where other members of your family have access. Your interviewers mustn’t be distracted by the noise, background, or any unnecessary things that might catch their or your attention aside from the ongoing interview process.   

?️ Pro Tip: you can create a set using available items inside your home. Go for simple sets like having plants or books in the background.  

 

TOOLS  

?Do’s: test your tools first before having the interview. You must check your internet connection, your laptop, or personal computer, check your internal cameras if they are properly working, or have an external camera so you can change the angle and have a better view. You can also use noise-canceling headsets to communicate better with the interviewers. It is best to prepare at least a day ahead and test everything to avoid technical issues.  

?Don’ts: with virtual interviews, you can have plenty of time to prepare. Though, glitches and technical issues cannot be avoided, but do not show up unprepared and have the interviewers waiting for you to get your external camera or grabbing your internet cable for faster connection. Being unprepared in a virtual set up may hurt your interview.  

?️ Pro Tip: Before the day of your interview, you will most likely receive instructions via email containing links and other instruction, make sure you read them ahead and test the platform.  

 

BODY LANGUAGE

?Do’s: With any type of interview, body language can be very noticeable and can describe what kind of candidate you will be. With traditional interviews, you can express a positive or professional body language by doing handshakes before the interview. With virtual interviews, you can still express body language to convey confidence and professionalism. Sit up straight, eyes to the camera, and smile. Research has shown that maintaining eye contact during virtual interviews can be good for candidates as they tend to be more recognizable and remembered by the recruiters.   

?Don’ts: Avoid fidgeting, slouching, and distracted during virtual interviews. The interviewers might get distracted or may feel that you are not a serious candidate or it can reflect how you will be as an employee which is not going to give you good points.  

 

DRESS CODE 

?Do’s: Similar to having an interview on-site, do follow the dress code. If the interviewers say no plunging necklines, t-shirts, or do a semi-casual/ business attire make sure you have come to the interview to show your professionalism. Even though throughout the virtual interview, only half of your body will be seen, it is best to show respect and courtesy by dressing up professionally. Keep your style simple and fresh, stick to light color tones, and a little accessory.  

?Don’ts: Do not show up wearing your pajamas, unkempt hair, or somewhat conveying a “just woke up” look. Even though you are at home, interviewers expect you to present yourself professionally. Interviews can be formal or semi-formal, but always remember to dress modestly.  

  

PRACTICE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

Your interviewers will be asking some common questions to get to know you better as a candidate. There might be some who will be sending them ahead so you can sort of study or have an idea of how the interview will go. With any type of interview, you can always practice answering common interview questions like:  

? Why did you leave your last company?  

? What makes you think you’re a good fit?   

? Why should we hire you?  

? What are your strong and weak points?  

 

? Do’s: Answer these questions honestly and with professionalism. Be direct without being rude or ruining your previous employer’s reputation. Explain clearly and convey your answer with confidence. If you do not understand the question politely ask the interviewer to repeat the question.   

?Don’ts: When answering questions, avoid unsure answers like maybe, hard no’s, and using too many fillers. Keep them short and simple, and do not beat around the bush. You can search more and study questions to ask in a job interview ahead of time.   

?️ Pro Tip: You can practice with a friend or a family member to answer some common interview questions to help you prepare or you can record yourself and check on how you can come up with better answers.  

  

ACE YOUR VIRTUAL INTERVIEWS  

Whether it’s your first time or not, interviews can be nerve-wracking but they are not unpredictable. As many companies are adapting to the innovations to meet streamlined and high-tech communication for their employees, job seekers like you must know how to navigate with the new norm. By following the simple preparations, do’s and don’ts, and extra pro tips, acing your virtual interviews will be easy to master.   

 

Written by Ariane Negishi

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