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Virtual Interview

With many professionals now working remotely, the job interview has moved online as well. Rather than meeting in person, employers are adopting a virtual model that allows interviews to take place anywhere, at any time.

Thanks to new video conferencing technology, conducting interviews online can save time and increase efficiency. While virtual interviews offer a number of benefits (convenience being top of the list), many interviewers and interviewees aren't familiar with this relatively new process. Learn a few simple tips to help make the most of these virtual meetings.

A woman recruiter on video-conference screen.

Building Rapport

In a traditional in-person setting, building rapport is a key component to a successful interview. For the employer, this means giving the potential hire the chance to try to make a connection. Interviewees shouldn't be afraid of letting their personality show. This is a situation where standing out in a crowd is a good thing!

When interviews are virtual, this means being prepared to discuss a common interest, or having a neutral topic in mind to spark conversation. Since you'll be interacting online, both participants should be aware that internet connection issues may cause lags in the conversation. If a glitch means you're speaking at the same time, treat it with a measure of humor and move on.

Body Language Awareness

In a face-to-face interview, body language is key. Those unspoken cues help an interviewer form an impression of the potential employee that goes beyond words.

When interviewing online, reading body language is a bit different... but it's still important. It may not be quite as easy to gauge a candidate through a screen but interviewers can still take notice of a candidate's behavior. Are they sitting up straight or slumping? Does their facial expression exude confidence and enthusiasm?

For interviewees, this means focusing on the camera in order to maintain "eye contact," rather than looking at the image of the interviewer on the screen. This may feel strange, but you'll come across as attentive and engaged.

Tips for Interviewing On-Camera

When it comes to interviewing (and being interviewed), some things never change: Preparation is still key. This may mean taking the time to get used to asking questions over a laptop, rather than in person. If you're not comfortable in front of the camera, practice a bit with fellow colleagues or close friends.

For interviewees, get ready by coming up with answers to commonly asked questions. Your goal is to be able to answer succinctly, using three or four sentences to get your point across.

What if the interview gets "photobombed"? Both participants should prepare for the possibility of a barking dog in the background, a child interrupting the interview, or other "work from home" distractions. Rather than reacting with embarrassment or frustration, use the distraction as an opportunity. An interviewer can gauge how the potential hire reacts, and the interviewee can give a real-life demonstration of how they've adapted to remote work.

Virtual interviews may involve a learning curve, but remote hiring offers many benefits. By adapting to this new approach, employers and job candidates can safely and effectively navigate the recruitment and hiring process.

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