Virtual Interviews: Top Five Tips for Candidates 

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With signs that the lockdown is going to remain in place for the foreseeable future, if you are looking for a new job then you will need to be prepared to do any interviews remotely. This can feel daunting if you’ve never done it before, but these tips will help you to feel confident and prepared, offering you the best chance of success. 
1.    Set up your interview area
Think carefully about where you want the interview to take place, preferably in a quiet area of your house or flat. Set it up so that you feel comfortable on camera, check the angle and make sure you are happy with the background behind you. Think about what you want your background to say about you – do you want there to be books and pictures or would you rather keep it plain and simple? Above all make sure it’s clean and tidy and looks as professional as possible.
If you live with others, then ask them to minimise noise creation or even see if they can go out while you do the interview. Having a distraction-free environment will help you concentrate properly on the job in hand.
2.    Check your tech
The business world has moved to a virtual setting, and so too have all our communications. Before the interview takes place, check that you’re comfortable with the technology. If you’ll be using an app then download it in advance and make sure that it works by testing it first.  
Equally, it can be very distracting to have emails and messages continually appearing on a screen. Be sure to turn off all notifications and close your emails and instant messages so that you won’t be tempted to read them during the interview.
3.    Practice really does make perfect
As with any interview, preparing well in advance will pay dividends and just because you are in the comfort of your own home and are hidden behind a computer does not replace this. Practice with a friend – ask them to call you at your computer and ask you questions so you can visualise being in the interview. By doing so you can make sure you’re confident with answering questions to the camera. They can also provide a third-party view on whether the background is appropriate or if there’s anything they have noticed that you may have overlooked. 
4.    Treat it like a normal interview
Just because the interview is taking place virtually does not mean that you should treat it any differently to normal. Dress smartly but comfortably, be polite, introduce yourself and act as you would in any other interview situation. Have a glass of water to hand, take time over your answers and don’t be afraid to ask for clarity in the question if you need to. Ultimately, it is still an interview and the objective remains the same, but you are just avoiding in-person contact.
5.    Ask lots of questions
One important point to remember with virtual interviews is that, as the candidate, you won’t have the opportunity to visit your normal place of work and therefore you won’t necessarily get a feel for the organisation, its working environment and culture. Therefore, it is really important that you ask a lot of questions to try to understand the employer brand and what it’s like to work there. If you are interested in the opportunity, ask to speak to other members of the team as this will help you to build a stronger picture of the workplace. 
Above all, throughout the interview, try to maintain some positivity even if things go wrong. Perhaps the technology simply won’t work on the day or you are interrupted by a family member, but whatever happens put on a brave face. How you act will speak dividends for how you might respond to situations in the workplace and it could even end up working in your favour. 
Good luck! If you are looking for a new opportunity and would like to discuss this in any more detail, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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