11 Great Tips for Acing a Virtual Interviews
According to a recent survey from Indeed, 82% of employers used virtual interviews in 2021. 93% of them plan to continue using them in 2022 & beyond. So, if you’re on the job hunt, learning how to conduct yourself in a virtual interview is a must. Don’t worry – here’s an extensive list of tips for virtual interviews.
What is a Virtual Interview?
As the name suggests, a ‘virtual interview’ is a job interview that’s conducted virtually through online videoconferencing platforms. Video dominates the virtual interviewing space. But, interviewers can also use chat or audio platforms to conduct remote & virtual interviews.
Modern-day employers leverage these interviews to screen large numbers of candidates for their open positions. These interviews cost employers significantly less than in-person interviews.
They’re also easier to perform in the post-pandemic world where most workers are familiar with using videoconferencing platforms like Zoom/Skype. Overall, virtual interviews enable employers to rigorously assess multiple candidates in cost & time-effective ways.
How are Online Interviews Conducted?
Unlike in-person interviews, there are no hard-and-fast rules regarding how online interviews are conducted. The most common form of virtual interview is videoconferencing. Recruiters use platforms like Zoom or Google Hangouts to host digital interviews with remote candidates.
Some other ways of conducting virtual interviews include –
- Asking candidates to record their answers to interview questions & send them to recruiters. The recruiters can view these videos at their convenience. These types of interviews are called ‘one-way video interviews.’
- Video resumes. Instead of asking for text-based resumes, many new-age employers ask candidates to submit video resumes. In these videos, candidates get to expand on their qualities & verbally address the reasons why they’re worthy of hiring.
- Online skill assessments. Recruiters get to test the candidates by asking them to complete skills-based online tests. These online tests are proctored & recorded.
- Chatting tools like WeChat or Telegram can be used for pre-screening candidates. It’s another simpler form of virtual recruiting.
How to Prepare for an Interview Online?
Now that we know what online interviews is, let’s review the process of succeeding at these interviews. To prepare for interview online, you first need to know your goals. The main goals for virtual interviewees are –
- Establishing a strong virtual presence
- Displaying confidence
- Communicating your strengths clearly to the interviewers
- Establishing a natural rapport with the virtual interviewers
To achieve these basic goals & prepare for interview online, you’ll need –
- A working internet connection & access to the right videoconferencing platforms
- A high-quality webcam & microphone
- A clear background that makes you come off as professional
These are just the basics of participating in remote interviews. To truly stand out in these interviews, you’ll need more.
How Do You Stand Out in Virtual Interview?
Standing out in a face-to-face interview is difficult. Standing out in virtual interviews is even harder. Here are 11 carefully-designed tips for virtual interviews. Use these tips to stand out in your virtual interviews
Tip #1. Create a Strong Virtual Presence
Coming across as an appealing candidate on a 9×16 screen requires a strong virtual presence. To create this presence, wear formal clothes. Use the space around you to create a lasting impression. For example, displaying a clean, uncluttered background on the interview screen is a good way of expressing your professionalism.
Interviewers tend to be unconsciously biased against candidates who use poor backdrops during interviews. Avoid this bias by using a clean, distraction-free virtual background during the video interview. The way you look on the screen is also a key part of your overall virtual presence.
So, learn how to look professional for an interview. Always wear professional-looking shirts & pants for your virtual interviews. Over-dressing for the part is always better than under-dressing.
Tip #2. Use Lighting to Your Advantage
Use lights that make your face clearly visible to the recruiters. Get rid of light sources that are located behind your computer. Instead use front-facing desk lights to ensure your visibility.
Pro tip – use cool, energy-efficient lights (instead of warm lights) because they can make you look cleaner & more appealing.
Tip #3. Avoid Connection-Related Risks
Your internet has to work at optimum speed throughout the interview process. To avoid lags & connection issues, make sure that you’re the only person on your Wi-Fi network during the interview. Internet lags can break the flow of conversation between you & the employers. Such breaks can make you come off as unprepared or unserious.
Tip #4. Master the Videoconferencing Platform Before the Interview
Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, or Google Hangouts – virtual interviewers can choose to conduct their interviews on a variety of platforms. It’s your duty to master whichever platform they choose for your interview. Download the videoconferencing tool in advance.
Practice using the features of the tool by doing mock calls with friends. The goal is to let the interviewers know about your technological prowess. For example, if you’re giving an interview via Microsoft Teams, learn some interview tips via teams in advance.
Or, learn how to use video call shortcuts during the interview. These types of behaviors create positive impressions in the minds of the interviewers.
Not knowing how the platform you’re interviewing on works is a perfect virtual interview etiquette bad example. Avoid this schoolboy error by mastering the videoconferencing platform in advance.
Tip #5. Prepare Notes & Keep Them Handy
Reading off notes isn’t indicative of good interview etiquette online, right? Depends on how you use the notes. Of course, you don’t want to read a pre-made script throughout the interview. But, in virtual interviews, it’s standard practice for recruiters to ask candidates for details about their previous work.
For such open-ended questions, you’ll need crisp, to-the-point answers. Having notes that detail your best achievements in such situations can be very helpful. Use your notes to remind you of points or topics that you’ve already practiced. Refer to them minimally. But, don’t avoid creating them.
Print out a Word document that highlights your past achievements, previous successes, key skills, etc. Don’t continuously look down at this list during the interview. But, glance at them periodically to ensure that you’re not forgetting to mention your strong points.
Tip #6. Take Your Time
“Can I think for a minute?” – that’s the best answer to any question that challenges your faculties. It’s highly likely that during your virtual interviews, you’ll be asked questions that confuse you. Addressing your confusion with time & patience is the best thing you can do in such situations.
Maintain your calm. Don’t feel stressed or overwhelmed. Don’t fumble. Take your time to come up with logical answers. If your answers don’t impress the recruiters, your ability to stay calm under pressure will.
Tip #7. Research the Position in Question
Conduct extensive research on the position you’re applying for. Having a detailed understanding of what’s expected of you during the interview is critical. So, Google the firm you’re interviewing for. Read the blogs/articles they post on their websites. Learn about the work culture at the firm by reading testimonials from ex-employees.
Tip #8. Give Succinct & Precise Answers
In face-to-face interviews, you get to use facial expressions, body language, & physical gestures to impress interviewers. The same option isn’t available in virtual interviews. So, to make the best possible impression, keep your answers short & precise.
Speak at a healthy rate of 120-150 words per minute. Don’t speak for more than two minutes at a stretch. Practice these speaking patterns by recording yourself speaking before the interview. How do you sound? Is your answering style crisp & time-efficient? If not, make it crisper by practicing.
Tip #9. Spark Conversations
Never give monologue-style answers in virtual interviews. Keep the conversation as lively as possible by sparking two-way conversations. Don’t worry about coming off as silly or talkative. Remember – virtual recruiters have very challenging jobs. If you can make their day a bit more interesting with your curiosity, do it.
Tip #10. Ask Questions
Interviews are two-way conversations. Sure, the priority is to ensure that the interviewers get to know you properly. But, you must also learn something about them during the process. Show genuine interest in your conversations with the recruiters by asking them relevant questions.
- “How does your workforce communicate remotely?”
- “What software tools do you use to complete projects?”
- “What is your onboarding process?”
These are some examples of valid questions that you must bring up during the interview. These questions demonstrate your interest in the company. They also give the interviewers chances to speak & keep the conversation lively.
Tip #11. Use Psychology to Your Benefit
Do you know that you can ooze confidence just by sitting a certain way? Keeping an open posture and not crossing your arms are two simple ways of psychologically enticing your interviewers. These psychological tricks will help them connect with you.
Once they connect with you during the interview, they’re likelier to trust the information you share. Use these online interviews tips to succeed during your virtual interviews. Here are the answers to some FAQs about remote hiring & interviewing.
FAQs About Virtual Interviews
What should you not do in a virtual interview?
Using a bad camera, having a room full of distractions, not having a strong internet connection, & sitting in bad lighting- these are some basic mistakes that can ruin your virtual interviews.
What are the questions asked in a virtual interview?
Just like in face-to-face interviews, most of the questions asked in virtual interviews are based on the position in question. Virtual interviewees also tend to ask generic questions like – “How do you organize your day?” “Can you stay motivated when working remotely?” “Tell me about your previous projects.”
What are the 3 mistakes candidates do during the video interview?
Using a bad internet connection, not giving precise answers, and not coming off as a confident professional – these are the three worst mistakes candidates can commit during their video interviews.
What is the best background for a virtual interview?
Bookcases. Backgrounds featuring bookcases are colorful, eye-catching, and they make interviewees look smart.
What should a woman wear to a virtual interview?
Women should wear the same things they’d wear in traditional interviews. The same goes for men.
What is the best colour to wear for a virtual interview?
Light-colored formal shirts look the best in virtual interviews.
How should I wear my hair for a Zoom interview?
Your hair should look clean & professional – just like in traditional, face-to-face interviews.
To sum up
Virtual interviews are here to stay & they’re harder to crack than traditional interviews. That’s because employers can conduct these types of interviews in mass. So, there’s more competition. But, don’t worry – use these tips for virtual interviews to stand out in your virtual interviews. Prepare as if you’re interviewing in person. Then, use these 11 tricks to make the best impression on your interviewers.