Interviews are a fundamental part of bringing people one step closer to their dream career. Traditionally, they were a first face-to-face connection between employers and prospect employees. The past year, however, has seen the recruitment services moving almost entirely to a digital approach.
But what started as a necessity has the potential to become a long-term approach within the industry. Due to logistical ease and convenience, we are likely to see companies continue using virtual interviews even once in-person ones become possible. While the lack of in-person interaction can pose challenges for those who are looking to take their first steps into their desired career, preparing ahead of time can make you stand out – even through a screen.
David Shull, UK Country Founder & Head of Operations at Handshake, offers expert tips on how to ace virtual interviews, and increase your chances of taking the first step towards your dream career
- Befriend your technology – Technology can be both our friend and enemy at times. Most likely, you will be given the interview details before the meeting, so make sure you do a few test runs and check if your microphone and camera are working properly, and if you are able to access the meeting link. It may sometimes be the case that you need new software or plugins that may take precious minutes to download. If possible, try to be at a close proximity to your internet router, so that you avoid any glitches in your connection.
- Know your audience – You’ve now got the interview and are ready to put on a nice outfit for the camera. Whether you’re being interviewed by your dream company, or a place that you’re not that familiar with, do your research beforehand. Learn about the company’s history, previous achievements, their culture and values. One other thing that you might have access to is the names of the people who will join you at the meeting, which is usually displayed in your online calendar invite. This is a great opportunity to look them up and get familiar with who they are.
And being on screen means you can actually have a few resources handy during your interview, such as the company’s web page open in a separate tab, your job application, or any other relevant links – something you couldn’t do in person!
- Digitise your body language – Face to face body language plays a significant role during an interview. From the first greeting, to your hand gestures, you are sending constant signals. However, whilst virtual interviews offer us a bit more flexibility in controlling our movements, they are still relevant. While you may not need to worry so much about what you do with your hands while you talk, you still need to try to approximate eye contact if possible, by looking in the camera. Also try to make sure you’re sitting upright, and are at a good height in the frame – all of these small details will make you seem more confident and increase your chances of a successful interview.
- Create long lasting connections – Interviews can be more than a step forward in getting a new job. It is important that whether you are the right fit for the role or not, you take that experience as an opportunity to network within the industry and get to know the people in front of you. Make sure that your online relevant professional profiles are all set up – whether that is on Handshake or LinkedIn. That way, the employer can look you up before the interview and keep you on their radar afterwards too, even if the time isn’t right for them to hire you now. And once you’re set up on these networks, don’t be afraid to proactively click the ‘connect’ button after your interview too.
- Clean up your space – With our rooms now transformed into offices, they have become representative of your public image as a person. You don’t need fancy furniture or a plant collection, but make sure your space is tidied up and ready for the big meeting. A few other things you can do is check that there’s nothing too controversial on your bookshelf, if that’s behind you and make sure you’re the only one visible in the frame in case you’re sharing the room. Check your camera first too in order to consider lighting – try to make sure you’re both properly visible and not squinting due to the sun being in your eyeline. Natural light does wonders, but if your interview is after dusk, a light ring can be your best friend!
At Handshake, we connect students virtually to current available roles, with a mission to democratise opportunity. You don’t need to be associated with an organisation, and can sign up to our platform as an individual student, to get closer to interacting with industry employers. To find out more and create an account, visit http://joinhandshake.co.uk.