We are living in new times when the social distancing and masks are becoming our new normal. We are learning to talk less face to face and are moving conversations to the virtual world. However, we still need jobs which are still out there. So the employers are now turning more and more to virtual interviews format to talk to the potential candidates. Virtual interviews are very much like in-person interviews; the format is the main difference here. There are many tips for a successful virtual interview, I’ll get into a few of them below.
First prepare! Before any kind of interview, you should prepare. Like for an in-person interview research the company to get to know them. It would be easier for you to see how you fit with them. There will be questions asked around this. As well this can be even more important when doing a virtual interview. You won’t be able to see them in person so there may be some key details you can learn this way. As always practice some interview questions you anticipate being asked. Go over your technical knowledge, write some examples you have at solving a work problem, working with a team, helping a difficult customer etc.
As well, a great way to prepare as you apply to jobs is look over your social media. While always good to do this whenever you job search this may be especially important now as employers will want to get a bigger picture of you. Make sure everything is appropriate and represents who you are.
Next, you will want to create a space for interviewing. The first thing to do is to confirm the time you’re meeting. This could be in different time zones so double check to see what time that would mean for you. Once you have confirmed this you can set your space up. Find somewhere private. You don’t want any interruptions when on the call! As well as a quite space, you also want somewhere that looks professional. Try and find somewhere with plain wall and keep any accessories out of sight. This space can be anywhere you find, even in a closet! Simply clean out the space, put something to elevate the laptop (you want to try and avoid having it on your lap), make sure there is good lighting, and ensure privacy. One thing to note about lighting, you want to make sure you’re sitting well. For example, if you’re right in front of a window and the sun is out it may be hard for the interviewers to see you. Let everyone know not to disturb you while the interview is happening. Either leave your phone elsewhere or put it on silent. Try turning on your camera and making all the necessary adjustments, adding any props for the height if using your mobile and seeing what it looks like before turning it on for a potential employer.
Once you have done this you will want to focus on the technical. First test out the program you’re using (Skype, Zoom etc.). You want to make sure it works properly on your computer or your mobile phone. You don’t want to find out just as you’re trying to start your interview that you needed to download an app, or the program needs to update! Make sure you have all your files easily accessible as well. The interviewer may ask for you to send them your resume or other documents. Save these documents to your desktop and have your email open so you have it ready. As well make sure to have a couple of questions to ask at the end of an interview. Employers typically expect this, and it can be especially good right now to find out more about the workplace culture. It’s also a great to show your engagement and enthusiasm.
During the interview make sure to write down the question and answer the question without going into too many details. Try to not deviate from what you were asked in the first place while giving relevant examples from your previous work.
Last but not the least breath in and out, even if you don’t get the job, you will have an experience in doing a virtual interview and that’s great too. Be sure that there is a job out there just waiting for you! Good Luck!
Prepared by: Kristy-Lu Desrosiers, JSS Facilitator, Ontario
Kristy-Lu is with the Catholic Centre for Immigrants where she runs one of the Job Search Strategies courses. With a background in employment counselling and social work, she knows just tough hard it can be to find a job. She is passionate about ensuring clients are prepared and have the resources they need to succeed.