The pandemic transformed essentially every aspect of how we work, and one of those areas has been interviewing. While virtual interviews were initially adopted to adjust to a remote work format, 93% of employers plan to continue using virtual interviewing to hire new employees according to Forbes. Although it’s no longer necessary to continue, hiring managers are finding that the number and quality of applicants has greatly increased due to the flexibility provided with remote interviewing, as well as it has allowed them to be much more agile during this tight talent market.
Benefits of Virtual Interviews
Virtual interviews have greatly benefited both employers and candidates. For candidates, virtual interviews offer more control over the process such as choosing a location that works for you. This eliminates the potential of being late or getting lost during a commute to an unfamiliar location set by a hiring manager, as well as it requires less time off to partake should you require time off from your current job. Additionally, it helps a candidate in performing their best by being able to choose an environment that they are comfortable and confident in. For this reason, there are often more career opportunities available to a candidate with the ability to interview remotely as well.
Similarly, employers have access to a much larger talent pool but utilizing remote interviews. It removes geographic restrictions and expands access to candidates who may have limitations to attending an in person interview. It also greatly speeds up the hiring process overall, which is crucial to securing talent in the current job market. By being able to schedule interviews closer together, you can interview a larger volume of candidates in a shorter amount of time, which ultimately improves the likelihood of finding a qualified employee and reduces the overall hiring cost.
Best Practices to Implement
Of course, simple mistakes can be made when presenting yourself virtually which can easily turn off a candidate from a company or a company from a candidate. To help, we’ve compiled best practices to consider when preparing for your next virtual interview whether you’re a video-interviewing veteran or a virtual novice:
Test Your Technology
Testing your internet connectivity to ensure a seamless interview is key. Prior to the interview, ensure that your signal strength is adequate and run a test video to minimize technical hiccups. Whether you plan on using a desktop computer, laptop, or tablet, ensure your technology is fully charged and reliable. Sometimes regardless of the preparation beforehand, technology fails you. Zoom goes down, Microsoft Teams is adding a patch, your internet provider is having an outage, whatever it is, it’s good to have a back-up plan. This could be as simple as having a cellphone nearby to switch to an audio-only interview should it be needed.
Being mindful of your surroundings and creating a professional backdrop will minimize distractions for the person you are communicating with, as well as convey that you are taking the interview seriously. By ensuring your space is clean, organized, and well lit, you will come across more professionally. In order to minimize distractions for yourself, ensure your mobile device is turned off or on silent and unnecessary desktop applications and tabs are closed so that you are not being distracted by on-screen notifications. By removing those distractions, you’ll be able to focus on the interview and be more engaged during the conversation. If you live with others, it’s important to inform them of your interview to allow for sufficient privacy and a quiet, professional setting.
For many professionals, working remotely has meant that their day-to-day attire has become considerably more casual. However, dressing professionally is a must if you want to be taken seriously for a position even if it’s virtual. First impressions are lasting and how you look could have as much influence on your ability to win the position as the interview questions themselves. Depending on the position you are interviewing for, a dress shirt/jacket may be appropriate, but at a minimum business casual attire should be observed.
Preparation is the first step toward a successful interview, even if it’s virtual. Interviewing is a learned skill, and there are no second chances to make a great first impression. It’s important to go into an interview with knowledge about the company, such as its mission and operating model. Being prepared means thinking about how you will answer questions about the value you will bring to the company – including thinking about examples of your experience from previous positions. You can never over prepare for an interview.
Pay Attention to Body Language
It is important to note that the majority of communication actually happens through non-verbal cues. Now more than ever it is important that you exude personal confidence, keep eye contact with your interviewer and remember to seem engaged during the conversation even if it is through a computer screen. The body language of the person you’re communicating with is also very telling, pay attention to the subtle clues they are giving to help indicate if they are engaged with what you’re saying, if your response is being well or poorly received, and use those as cues to continue or pivot that topic.
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