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Virtual Interview Top Tips

Many faces on a screen in an online call

The working landscape has changed drastically, and like most businesses Kaplan has also made major changes. This includes changing our recruitment practices.

If you have a job interview this year, it’s highly likely that this may come in the form of a virtual interview.

What is a virtual interview?

A virtual interview is still an interview, except it will be remote requiring you to use a laptop or PC and video conferencing software like Zoom, Microsoft Teams. The interview could even be over the phone.

Here are a few simple tips on how to make the most out of your virtual interview space:

  1. Test your tech
  2. Dress to impress
  3. Set the scene
  4. Limit distractions
  5. Body language boost
  6. Be professional but be yourself
  7. Follow-up

1. Test your tech

This might seem obvious but test your technology. Is your internet connection stable? It might be worth considering having your phone ready to tether from as a backup should your connection go down.

Test the software. Your prospective employee may have sent you a link for the meeting so it can be a good idea to familiarise yourself with it. Make sure you log in early to test the connection. That way if you have any issues there is time to troubleshoot or contact your interviewer.

2. Dress to impress

Dress how you would to an in-person interview. If in doubt go smart, a button down shirt/blouse with a tie/blazer and smart trousers. You can always ask the working dress code during the interview.

It’s always better to be too smart than too casual. Your prospective employer will want to see that you’ve made an effort. Dressing to impress can also help boost your confidence. If you feel professional, there’s a good chance you’ll act the part too.

3. Set the scene

What does your environment look like? Your ‘interview window’ which will be your interview background should reflect your professionalism too. Think about what is behind you. This can be tricky if your laptop is in your bedroom but a bit of simplicity goes a long way.

Is there a bookshelf behind you? Make sure it’s tidy. Are there lot of photographs visible? It may be better to remove or cover them. It may sound obvious but clearing the decks can go a long way to looking more professional.

4. Limit your distractions

Turn your phone onto silent. It may be useful to have it close by incase you need it if you have a wifi emergency, but you don’t want to be distracted by a notification coming in and make sure you shut pets out of the room.

5. Get a body language boost

Getting your body language right remotely can be tricky but the plus side is you can practice from the comfort of your room. You could even do a test run with a friend or relative and practice how you appear on camera.

Sit up straight and keep a good posture. You can be expressive but keep your movements controlled. You’ll want to show how personable you are so don’t be afraid to smile and show good humor.

Before the interview itself you can give yourself a body language boost by standing upright, legs shoulder width apart, arms held up above your head for 2 minutes. This has been proven to help with interview confidence by holding your body in a positive power position. Before you’d have to disappear to a toilet cubicle but now you have the freedom of your own home.

6. Be professional and be yourself

It’s more straightforward to make a good impression when you attend an interview in person. Making eye contact and shaking hands goes a long way to making a positive first impression.

You’ll want to build a personal connection with your interviewer(s) quickly so be prepared to make some neutral small-talk perhaps about a common interest, or ask them a question as to how their interviews are going remotely. Chances are that this is an unusual experience for them too.

7. Follow up email

Whether face to face or virtual, it can be a good idea to send a follow-up email to your interviewer(s). You can thank them for their time, ask if they have any questions or simply mention that you are looking forward to hearing from them. Keep it short and professional and make sure you give it a proofread before you send.

Written by Richard Mansfield, a Kaplan Student Experience Officer in partnership with Sarah Gifford CIAG Lead (Career Information, Advice & Guidance).