How to prepare for a virtual interview

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” 

Benjamin Franklin

Never has the old adage been more appropriate than when thinking about interviewing. Many things about the interview process have changed or evolved in response to the global pandemic, but the importance of preparation remains to be the most vital step. 

Whilst the interview is an opportunity to learn more about the role and your potential new employer, it is vital to make a strong first impression and the easiest way to do that is to prepare. See our helpful hints to  ensure that you stand out from the other applicants and the points below should help you achieve that.

Understand The Job

Read through job specification again and match previous experience against it ready to demonstrate in the interview. Make notes on key points or where you have any questions. 

Research

Look at their company website, key personnel on social media and note down any relevant information to have with you for the interview. Find out about the companies 

  • Vision / Mission / Values / Purpose 
  • Key selling points and differentiators 
  • Key specialism and area of expertise
  • Service offerings
  • Geographical coverage 
  • Key milestones achieved 
  • Key messaging on social media / current campaigns / priorities 
  • Key stance on any current affairs 

Your CV 

Read through your CV prior to the interview, making sure you remember start/finish dates of previous jobs and you can speak about any points on your CV, with examples of projects / work completed.

Questions 

Make a list of 5-10 questions that are relevant to the role and have them with at the interview so that you have questions to ask during and at the end of the interview.

Achievements 

Be ready to back up any achievements or competency-based questions with statistics, supporting documentation and impact statements.

Logistics

Face to Face: Plan your journey the day before and leave plenty of time to get there early. If you are unable to demonstrate good timekeeping, you will be on the back foot for the rest of the interview. It is better to arrive early, be able to grab a coffee and mentally prepare yourself for the interview ahead.    

Telephone: Make sure you are somewhere quiet with good phone reception. Set up a space where you can focus and have a surface where you can keep any documents to hand or write notes. Make sure any other devices are on silent/do not disturb and make sure you pick up the call!   

Video: Test your camera and microphone set up before your meeting. Do a couple of test runs with the specific software being used to become familiar with the software. Often you can open the interview link early to test your camera and mic. Make sure you are in a quiet location with strong wifi signal and good lighting so you can be clearly seen. Make sure your background is suitable and you are well presented. Click the link in good time to make sure you do not miss the meeting. 

First Impression 

First impressions are key in all walks of life, especially interviews so ensure that you are dressed professionally, and if it is face to face, be early for the meeting and enter with a firm handshake whilst maintaining eye contact throughout the interview. Also try to avoid smoking just before the meeting or chewing gum throughout. 

If the meeting is virtual, even though you may not be able to be seen, your posture dictates a lot about how your voice is perceived. Make sure if seated, you are comfortable, and sitting upright (not slumped). If you are more confident walking or standing, make sure you do not get out of breath or distracted by other activities and you have a clear place you can return to to write notes/review documents. 

Relax

Interviews are a professional meeting, not an interrogation so stay calm and friendly whilst remaining professional.

Closing 

The final part of the interview is a great opportunity for you to close the client/sell yourself so don’t be afraid to ask how they felt the interview went, did they have any reservations and what are the next stages as it will give you a further opportunity to shut down any of their reservations.

For more helpful interview tips, and job search advice check out our website and Advance Advice articles. For our latest opportunities visit www.advance-trs.com or speak to one of our team on 01483 361061.