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Everyone worries about standing out from the crowd in an interview setting - and it’s suddenly much more difficult when you become a face on a screen. Here’s our top tips for standing out in a virtual interview and making a lasting impression.
Virtual interviews were the norm at the height of the pandemic and are showing no signs of going anywhere soon. Virtual interviewing enables hiring managers to save a huge amount of time, money, and energy, as well as broaden their candidate pool, so it makes sense that more companies are sticking with virtual over traditional, in-person interviews.
We all want to make a great impression in an interview, whatever the setting, but how do you stand out in a virtual interview and impress the hiring manager? Use these tips to break out of your Zoom window and stick out in your interviewer’s memory long after the “End Call” button is pressed, including:
What is a virtual interview?
Virtual interview tips
According to an article by Forbes, 82 percent of employers surveyed use virtual interviews and 93 percent plan to continue using this process in the future.
A virtual interview is an interview that takes place remotely, usually using video conferencing software such as Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts. While the format of the interview tends to follow the traditional, in-person interview, pitching your studies, skills, experience, and career highlights virtually can feel like a very different ball game.
Virtual interviews are becoming more common in today's tech-savvy world, with the added benefit of convenience for both hiring managers and job seekers. If you have never experienced a virtual interview or your last one didn’t go too well, then being prepared is key to acing your next interview.
If you're job searching and received an invite to a virtual interview, congratulations! Here are our top five tips to being successful in your remote interview:
In many ways, preparing for a virtual interview is like preparing for an in-person one: You still have to do your homework. The best way to stand out in an interview is to demonstrate your knowledge of the company and its goals.
You should understand the company’s background and where its executives came from. Familiarize yourself with their markets and know who their clients are. The better you understand a company, the better you can demonstrate how and where you can add value.
Be prepared for technology too. Ask what video platform you’ll be using and make sure you know how to use it in advance - especially if you’re going to use features like screen sharing. Nothing will stop an interview dead like “Um, hold on, where’s the button for that?”
Before the interview, check and test that your technology is working effectively, including the camera, microphone, software program (Zoom, etc.) and your internet connection. It’s worth doing this a few times to ensure everything works perfectly once the virtual interview begins.
One underappreciated aspect of virtual interviewing is that it gives you control over visuals as you can see exactly what your interviewers see when they look at you. Experiment with different lighting, positioning, and maybe even filters - before you get on the call.
Just like an in-person interview, you should be ready to explain why you want to join the company, what value you can bring to the specific role, and where you see yourself in five years. Practice your responses to potential interview questions on video so you can have a dress rehearsal for your virtual interview.
Monitor your speaking pace when you are answering questions. Many candidates talk very fast when they are nervous, but talking too slow can be equally frustrating for the interviewer, so try to maintain a steady speaking pace.
Virtual interviewing can make it difficult to make human connections and build rapport, which are key things that can make you stand out from other applicants. When you interview in-person, it’s a lot easier to project your enthusiasm, display positive body language, and engage in positive small talk.
Build rapport by being upbeat, smiling, using positive hand gestures, and maintaining eye contact as you greet your virtual interviewer. You can also prepare some general small talk topics prior to the interview, perhaps you can ask the interviewer how they find virtual interviews in general or how their day has been so far.
After the interview, it’s good practice to send a follow-up email within 24 hours of the interview to thank your interviewer for their time and help. Make sure it’s personalized, as sending a generic message won’t be as impactful.
Use this opportunity to reinforce how perfect you will be for the role and what you can offer the company. Show your strong interest in the role and reference some key points from the interview as well as telling them how excited you are about the opportunity to become a member of their team.
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Virtual interviews are here to stay. While they may seem a bit daunting at first, with preparation and practice, you will soon be acing remote interviews.
Researching the company, testing your technology, and rehearsing your virtual interview will ensure things run smoothly and impress the hiring manager.
Be upbeat, display positive body language, and make interesting small talk. This will ensure you build rapport and reinforce your suitability for the job opening.
Don’t forget to send a follow-up email to thank your virtual interviewer for their time and show your strong interest in joining their team.
Helen is an experienced content writer, with expertise in corporate law, business, sales, marketing and education. Prior to this, she worked in recruitment and human resources, so she has a strong sense of what recruiters are looking for in terms of a potential employee. Helen loves exploring new places, writing blogs of her travel across Europe and enjoying trips to the US, Thailand and the Middle East. She is an avid reader of fiction, poetry, self-help books and factual content and also enjoys creative writing in her spare time, including poetry and children’s fiction.