Careers Blog

The latest events, opportunities and news from the Careers and Employability team at the University of Brighton

Handy Tips For Your Virtual Interview

In this current time where everyone is relying on Zoom, Google Hangouts or MS Teams to connect, the traditional face to face interview is think of the past. We thought it would be useful to bring some top tips of things to think about when having a virtual interview.

In terms of content preparation and a few key things to think about, start with our recent blog, quick guide to video interviews. https://blogs.brighton.ac.uk/careers/2018/11/26/quick-guide-to-video-interviews/

Today, we wanted to concentrate on some of the tips that are quite specific to using virtual platforms for interviews.

Thinking about the environment

Let others know what you are doing so they don’t disturb you or are loud outside the door.

Think about what the Interviewer can see.

  • What do you have on the walls behind you? What furniture is in the room? Have you left your laundry on the bed that can be seen?
  • Can the interviewer see your hands? If you fidget move yourself so they can’t.
  • Where on the screen is your face? Make sure you are not too close or too far away. Do you need to move your chair up or down? Make sure you don’t have plants coming out of your head, that you look like you are part of a poster behind you or that the interviewer isn’t looking up your nose!

Thinking about the technology

We have all succumbed to technological issues during lockdown. However, there are a few steps you could take to trying to reduce these issues when having a virtual interview.

  • Make sure you feel comfortable using the specific platform being asked of you. Do you know your way around the screen? Do you know how to mute yourself or show a grid of more than one person on the screen should you be interviewed by a panel? It’s best to not blur the background as it can be distracting, and it is a sign of trust that you are willing to let them see your home.
  • Practise using the required platform with a friend. Do this in the location that you would be using for the interview. Perhaps even try it at the time too. The light or environment might differ between times of day. Check that the webcam, sound and connection is working well.
  • Punctuality is important so give yourself plenty of time before the interview to do the final checks with sound, visuals and connection. Get signed in the platform at least 5 mins before hand so you are there ready for the interviewer when they log in. It is always better to be there waiting for them rather than the other way around.

Thinking about the body language 

Wearing professional attire is just one aspect of things to think about for a video interview. Because virtual interviews limit the ability to use body language as effectively as it would in a face to face situation, it is even more important to use it in a clear and professional way during a virtual interview. Consider how you are seen and heard during your time online with the employer.

  • Where to look. If you can, when you are talking, look at your webcam rather than at the screen as this will convert to more eye contact for the interviewer. If you can, turn off the view of yourself so you aren’t too distracted by how you are looking during the call. Try not to let your eyes wander too much. It will be much more noticeable on this platform. Focus on the interviewer and what they are saying.
  • Smiling is an effective way to show you are interested.
  • It is easier to pick up visual cues from people from their body language when you’re face to face. So be aware of how you use your hands and how you use your tone of voice on a video interview to show enthusiasm and interest.
  • The top half of your body will be their primary focus so make sure you keep sitting up straight. If you get a question that is surprising to you, take a breath and a moment to collect your thoughts whilst keeping composed and poised.

Practice

Practice some questions and answers with a friend using the employers preferred platform and record it so you can watch yourself back. Look at how you look and note your mannerisms. Is there anything distracting about how you present yourself or what is happening behind you?

Use your familiar space to your advantage

The employer wants you to do well so try and relax and take advantage of the fact that you are in your own space and that you are in control of that environment. Use this rare opportunity to use that familiarity to be confident in yourself and show who you are professionally but with some personality and passion about the job and the company. Be prepared but also authentic with your responses.

We hope these tips help you to think about the preparation you need to do to make the best of a virtual interview. For more general interview preparation tips do have a look at our website:

https://www.brighton.ac.uk/careers/looking-for-a-job/careers-advice/preparing-for-interviews

To discuss any concerns, get personalised support or have a mock interview with one of our specialist careers staff get in touch by email on careers@brighton.ac.uk.

Note that we are now conducting our appointments using MS Teams.

Good luck and we hope you see you again soon.

 

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Katherine Whittaker • 03/07/2020


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