The Coronavirus pandemic has forced many interviews to move onto Microsoft Teams, Zoom and other similar platforms. However, did you know that this isn’t an entirely new concept for some businesses? Many have been using virtual interviews for some time, as they prefer the flexibility they offer and how they can speed up elements of the recruitment process.
In this blog, I thought it would be interesting to look at the pros and cons of both in-person and virtual interviews, and give you my three top tips for excelling online!
You may feel that nothing beats getting into a room with an interview panel and showcasing your skills and experience face-to-face, whereas other people may find this incredibly nerve-wracking! Whichever camp you’re in, here are the main pros and cons of in-person interviews:
- They are the easiest way to make a lasting first impression through your body language, handshake, and the rapport you can build with the interviewer
- You can see the working environment first-hand and gauge the culture of the organisation
- It’s easier to track how well the interview is going by judging non-verbal clues and the interviewer’s reactions
- Face-to-face interviews can be very time consuming and involve several logistical considerations such as travel, parking etc.
- They tend to be more difficult to schedule, especially if you’re already employed
- It may be a more stressful experience, particularly if you’re someone who finds meeting new people face to face a little intimidating
I think we’ve all got a lot more comfortable with meetings and social gatherings online, and I believe many companies will continue to utilise this technology in some form or another as we emerge from the pandemic. It’s certainly not the same as being in a room full of people, but it’s the closest we can get at the moment, and there are numerous benefits to an online interview.
- Online interviews are more convenient, easier to schedule and can help to speed up the recruitment process
- There are fewer logistical considerations and thus they require less effort than attending a face-to-face interview
- You can have all your notes laid out in front of you or on the screen, which may help you answer those tricky interview questions
- You may feel more comfortable being interviewed in your own surroundings
- It can be more difficult to build rapport in an online interview
- There is a risk of technical issues on both sides
- You may not feel comfortable speaking on camera
My top 3 tips for excelling online
All interviews require a level of preparation but being online throws up a range of extra challenges to be mindful of. Make sure you’re prepared with everything you need, including the link to the interview and your laptop charger. You’ll also want to ensure that your computer isn’t due any annoying updates or virus scans! If you’re worried your Wi-Fi will be troublesome, turn the Wi-Fi off on other devices in your house, such as tablets and mobile phones. Give it the best possible chance.
2. Practice makes perfect
It’s important to make the best impression you can, so choose an appropriate place to conduct your interview. Make sure it’s nice and quiet, and there are no washing machines or TVs in the background, creating unprofessional background noise. Is the light flattering but not too bright? The last thing you want to be doing is squinting through the entire interview. Equally, you don’t want to look like you’re sitting in a cave!
Think about the positioning of your camera. You may want to try elevating your laptop slightly so that you can look straight ahead into your webcam, which will replicate talking face-to-face with the interviewer(s) instead of looking downwards.
You could also set up a dummy interview and ask a friend or family member to practise interviewing you. Remember to ask them for feedback on the lighting, camera angle and sound quality. You could also run through a few mock questions to get yourself even more prepared.
3. Record yourself
If you feel a little embarrassed practising with someone you know, you could try recording yourself instead. It may feel a little strange, but the more practice you can do, the more you will hone your interview skills and give yourself the best possible chance to shine on the day.
Would you like more top tips for both in-person and virtual interviews?
For more tips on all aspects of the recruitment process, from how to write the perfect cover letter to remaining confident and motivated in your job search, please take a look at some of my previous blogs.