During covid in 2020, in-person contact was suspended. However, some companies still had spots to fill. Utilising video-conference tools like Zoom or Microsoft Teams, HR eventually found a new and efficient way to conduct interviews virtually.
Now in 2022 - the post-pandemic era - the HR and recruitment industry has adapted successfully. Some companies are already transitioning permanently to virtual recruiting to engage with talent. Moreover, virtual interviews are becoming a great tool to reach potential candidates from overseas. New trends are also emerging in the recruitment industry, with an increasing number of HR leaders expected to digitise other traditional HR hiring processes, like sourcing, interviewing and onboarding candidates.
In the near future, it can be expected that many companies will start offering remote interviews as it is less costly and more efficient. Both candidates and interviewers have to learn how to impress in a virtual environment, where there is no personal connection. This article will present some tips for a virtual interview. Whether you’re a job-seeking candidate or an interviewer, this article can help you through this important step in the recruitment process. Read on to find out!
A. Tips for Candidates
Check Your Environment and Rehearse
Your video will give a first impression on who you are to the interviewer. The environment matters just as much as the interview itself. Before the interview, always set up your surroundings to minimise distractions and make sure that there is a clean and neat background in the camera. Remember to be in an indoor quiet environment with natural lighting that can show your face clearly. You can always test the lighting and see how you look on camera by setting up an empty video conference room! This is also a good way to sit down properly in front of the camera and researse your self-introduction or practice answering questions.
Check Your Internet Connection
It is important to have a smooth and fast connection during the interview to prevent any incidents where either side is cut off. This will cause some embarrassment as one party may have to repeat what they were saying. The delay in time might also cause the interview to be cut short for the next candidate, which is a disadvantage. Thus, it’s super important to check the internet connection or get a private place with a stable internet connection like a conference room.
Wear Professional Attire
Please always wear professional attire to virtual interviews - both top and bottom (don’t wear pyjama pants!). There are companies that may ask you to stand up or move around during the interview. There is always a fair chance that they see what you wear from waist down. Dressing formally also helps you get in the “work-state” where you can feel more confident and express yourself. It is also important to take note of your background and lighting and adjust your outfit appropriately. For example, don’t wear black against a black background as it would make it difficult for the interviewer to see you.
Have Your Resume on Hand
Although you can have your resume pulled up on the computer, it is a good idea to have a paper copy of your resume on hand. This can ensure that your screen is showing the conference call and it is easier to focus. Having a paper version can also reflect that you have prepared in advance for the interview and can make notes as needed. However, remember not to read from your resume - go through it naturally and only refer to it occasionally.
Be Genuine and Natural
Always be genuine and natural. Experienced interviewers can tell if you are genuine in your answers and most interviewers can tell if you are reading directly from a script on your screen. This definitely puts you at a disadvantage. Prepare answers in keywords, but don’t make a script to sound more natural. Also remember to make eye contact with the camera and not stare down at your hands or note sheet. This can make you seem more confident and at ease.
B. Tips for HR
Set Up a Professional Background
The interviewer reflects the culture and style of the company to the candidate. As a representative of the company, it is very important to leave a professional image. Thus, setting up a background filter is recommended. For example, a blurred background. A background setting with the company logo is also a good idea and can show that the company is well-developed and mature. Similarly, it is also important for the interviewer to sit facing natural light, and not back facing light, as this is how most office rooms are set up. This is to prevent candidates interviewing with a dark shadow they cannot see properly.
Wear Professional Attire
For HR interviewers as well as candidates, it is important to dress formally and decently as a representative. It would be nice to wear a blazer or a nice blouse. The interviewer’s attire delivers expectations on how to dress for work to the candidate. Thus it is crucial to dress in a presentable manner.
Be Friendly and Professional
In a virtual interview, it may be difficult to establish a more personal connection, and the interviewee may feel exceptionally nervous to make a good impression. At this point in time, the interviewer can help relieve their nervousness by showing a friendly yet professional manner. For example, smile and nod to show that you are listening while they answer any questions. It is important to practise this as some interviewers have no expression when they are taking notes about the candidate. This can help candidates increase confidence and improve their performance, which can ultimately help the company choose the best candidate.
It is likely that remote interviews will continue in the near future, so it is crucial for both candidates and interviewers to master this mode of interview. Out of all the tips above, the most important is to be genuine in your answers. Expressing yourself clearly and naturally is the key to ace a virtual interview.