HR Series with Selina Buabeng: Five tips to help you ace a virtual interview

HR Series with Selina Buabeng: Five tips to help you ace a virtual interview

Virtual interviews have become the preferred option for many employers and candidates as the world of work continues to evolve. Video conferencing platforms, such as Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, and other digital tools have helped recruiters reach more diverse candidates, while offering a cost-effective way to screen prospective hires, save time, resources and increase efficiency.

With the pandemic and the sudden need to bring many positions online, virtual interviews have also become a necessity. Many professionals are also opting for working from home and remote positions.

You need to treat the virtual interview as you would a face-to-face interview. Mastering the virtual interview is often one of the first steps to be selected for a follow-up interview and subsequently gain employment. Here are five tips that can help you ace a virtual interview:

  1. Show interest, find common interests and don’t perform a monologue; spark conversations. The main challenge during a virtual interview is keeping the conversation going. In order to be successful, you need to engage with recruiters in a natural, candid way. Do some pre-work to see if you and the interviewer share any interests. Some companies will tell you who you are meeting ahead of time. Use this opportunity to check their social media profiles to find out what their interests are, publications and their views on various topics and issues.
  1. Conduct a test run and select a private location without distractions. Poor internet connectivity is equal to poor communication. To ensure that your internet is working properly, do a test run to ensure that your internet connectivity is stable and you will not experience any hitches during the session. If it is a shared connection, ask the other people to avoid streaming during your interview. Consider a backup in case your connection fails. As it is with your appearance, location is crucial. You need to be in a quiet, clean and tidy environment. You can also use good lighting to make sure you are clearly visible to the panel. Avoid any distractions whether you are at home or in the office.
  1. Practice, monitor your body language and monitor your space. It is always important to practice and prepare before any interview and a virtual interview is no exception. Practice how you look and behave on camera. Record yourself answering sample interview questions and assess your performance and take note of areas that need improvement. Also take note of certain gestures such as touching your hair or fidgeting. It’s easier to pick up important cues such as facial expressions, gestures, body language etc. or tone when you meet someone during an in-person interview. However, these are often lost or difficult to assess virtually. Speak in an even pace. Don’t talk so slowly that your recruiter gets bored, nor so fast that it becomes difficult to keep up. Body language is crucial in creating a good first impression and can affect your words positively or negatively and how you are perceived. Look into the webcam and maintain a good posture. Virtual interactions provide less opportunities to infuse the conversation with your uniqueness and emotions. Body language in a virtual interview is as important in a face-to-face interview. Be courteous, attentive and enthusiastic.
  1. Dress professionally or dress for success. Just like in an in-person interview, you will be assessed based on your professional appearance. Wear an appropriate outfit for the interview. Look at what you are wearing in your practice videos as some colours and patterns don’t work well so make sure you choose the right outfit just like you would during an in-person interview. Dressing well helps to boost one’s confidence and also speaks well of you. Once you have selected an appropriate outfit, choose the best background. Usually, it is ideal to use clean, neutral backgrounds.
  1. Keep your virtual identity professional. In today’s digital world, your email, username and social media platforms create a first impression about who you are. Don’t give the hiring manager a reason to question your professionalism before they even meet you by providing usernames that are unprofessional. Keep your email and usernames simple. Try different combinations of your first, middle and last name or leverage industry keywords for more options. Also avoid using symbols and numbers 1 and 0 which look like letters depending on the font and can cause confusion during correspondence.

>>>Selina Buabeng is an HR Practitioner with over 11 years’ cross-industry experience in Ghana’s banking sector. She is a Certified Human Resource Practitioner with certification from the Institute of Human Resources Practitioners Ghana.

She holds an MBA in Human Resource Management and BSc. Human Resource Management from University of Ghana and Valley View University respectively. Connect with Selina via LinkedIn: Selina Buabeng, Instagram/Twitter: @ selinabuabeng_, YouTube: Selina Buabeng


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