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Potential pitfalls of the virtual interview and how to avoid…

Over the past 18 months, virtual meetings have become a ‘big deal’ and even as the majority of people have returned to some normality in their working lives, the Virtual Interview is here to stay! 

From a Recruiter’s point of view this is great news – a way of speeding up the recruitment process, keeping potential candidates engaged, not waiting weeks on end for clients to synchronise diaries for when they will be in the same office at the same time, and less excuses from candidates about their cars breaking down (always happens on the day of an interview btw!).  It can even mean more candidates get a shot at a first interview as the process is so time effective…

They do however have some disadvantages which almost all fall in the disfavour of the interviewee.  So with over 60% of all first stage interviews now being carried out on a virtual platform, here are a few hints and tips on how to avoid those potential pitfalls:

BEFORE 

  • Always accept the inbox invitation as soon as it is received rather than wait until just before the meeting. In addition to common courtesy, this also shows your keenness to attend, interest in the opportunity and avoids any doubt as to whether you have received the details and/or will attend.
  • Ensure you have the correct app or platform downloaded in good time and check that it works! Practice calling a friend or family member beforehand for peace of mind.
  • Set your device up in a tidy, quiet space with good lighting. Ensure there is nothing offensive or embarrassing in the background (don’t be caught out by reflections in mirrors displaying  the pile of dirty washing you thought you had moved out of sight!).
  • Do Not Disturb - tell everyone in your household that you are not to be disturbed, turn off any notification alerts on all devices, pause the washing machine and shut any pets (and children) out of the room.
  • Dress to impress – and not just your top half! Treat the virtual interview in the same way you would treat a normal face to face meeting.  You only get one chance to make a first impression.
  • Ensure the internet connection is strong and the battery is fully charged on your device.
  • As with any interview, be PREPARED! Have a copy of the job spec and your CV to hand and anticipate the most likely questions - this is something your recruiter can help you with.
  • If you don’t already know how to ‘screen share’ in order to present your CV or other documents, you should master this skill just in case!

DURING 

  • Arrive online early – its good practice to be waiting online before the host arrives.
  • Ensure the camera is ON and mute is OFF.
  • Make small talk – just as you would when you are met in reception by your interviewer at a face to face interview. Sitting in silence whilst waiting for other interviewers to arrive can be awkward.  This is an opportunity to show a glimpse of your personality, which isn’t always easy on a screen!
  • Make sure you look into the camera rather than the screen itself.
  • Avoid slouching in your chair – this could portray disinterest.
  • Try not to be too ‘familiar’ with the interviewees – whilst you may be sat in your home, your ‘safe place’ and where you feel most comfortable, it is all too easy to become overly relaxed in both body language and speech. Be mindful throughout.
  • Pause before and after speaking to avoid talking over others.

AFTER 

  • Double check you are definitely disconnected before you let out a sigh of relief (or worse)!

We hope this information is helpful.

If you are currently seeking a new opportunity, or if you are not quite there yet, but would like a career chat, then please call 01275 813000 to talk through your options, the market and anything in between.

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