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Very few job interviews these days are conducted face-to-face. Virtual online interviews are commonplace. The coronavirus has accelerating the remote hiring trend. It’s forcing millions of us to change the way we live, work and are recruited.

Leading investment banks and international law firms have been using digital interviewing platforms to hire remotely for many years, primarily to cope with the sheer volume of student applications. Platforms such as HireVue are used to narrow down a very large and talented field of hundreds of thousands of graduates for a limited number of roles. Now, companies are compelled to use various phone and online formats as social distancing becomes the norm. Typically, platforms such as Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams are the go-to for recruiters.

An online / virtual interview is as much an opportunity as a face-to face-interview and it’s imperative it is treated as such. Here are our top 5 tips for virtual interview success:

  1. Be prepared – be SMART

It may not feel like at when you’re sitting at home, but this is very much a proper interview and you need to be prepared. That means doing your macro and micro research as well as preparing and rehearsing powerful scenarios that demonstrate you align with the essential skills and experience required.

From professional to C-suite, the Situation, Task, Actions ,Result (STAR) technique is the best framework for articulating your competence and structuring your thoughts. Remember, the aim is to have clearly defined examples of your behaviour, expertise and achievements rather than a pre-prepared script.

Post-it notes around the webcam will enable you to refer to your hidden agenda items – your key interview points – whilst the interviewer thinks you are looking straight into the camera.

  1. Be professional

We’ve all got used to cats, dogs and home-schooled children making their own unique contributions to work video calls over the last year. While they’ve often provided a welcome moment of light relief, for a job interview you need to minimise distractions.

It’s vital to look professional too. We always advise investigating what your target industry norm is when it comes to workwear. Choose clothes that are smart, polished and comfortable without being too formal. Get into work-mode and dress the part to help you get in the ‘zone’ – even for a phone interview.

  1. Get technology to work for you

A common issue when speaking to someone via video conference is a mismatch between how you think you appear on screen and the reality. You may be convinced your camera is angled the right way, that your background is neutral, lighting perfect and that you’re making virtual eye contact with your recruiter. Unless you test it fully, who knows what your interviewer is seeing. It’s always worth placing a video test-call to someone in advance to be 100% sure.

  1. Show your enthusiasm

Video interviews take away (or diminish) many of our non-verbal communication cues. There’s no handshake or any of those small murmurs of agreement that are usually sprinkled through a conversation. But you still need to forge a connection; so remember to smile, and look alert and positive to show your enthusiasm for the role.

  1. It’s a two-way conversation

This is your time to find out if the role and company are the right fit for you, just as much as it is for the recruiter. So, when asked if you have any questions, you have the chance to impress with some prepared questions, based on the company and industry research you have undertaken. It’s a great opportunity to show you have really done your homework, your intelligence and of course your passion for the job, company and sector. Let them see that you have already pictured yourself in the role. If you can believe it, so will they.

If you’d like specific advice on interview techniques, including online interview training, then please call us on +44 20 7100 6656 or email us. We have a team of interview coaches ready to help you get that role – virtually of course.