Virtual interviews are more important than ever before. Recruitment over the past few months has changed significantly. Virtual interview processes have come to the fore and candidates and recruiting firms have had to learn fast how to adapt to a different interview process, largely conducted over apps like Zoom or Teams.

With firms still unclear as to when offices will reopen, such approaches will also be with us for some time to come. Some will outlive Covid, certainly in terms of early recruitment stages when firms are likely to take advantage of the technology they have mastered to conduct virtual interviews in disparate locations.

For some of you, finding a new job in a virtual landscape may be off-putting. But the good news is that at Totum we have gained a lot of experience in making a success of these online processes. We have supported a significant number of firms and candidates through remote virtual interviews – as well as virtual inductions.

In addition, firms have got a lot better at ensuring candidates get a good impression of the business and its culture, ensuring they meet a broad selection of people pertinent to the role at interview stage (and many more than in face-to-face interviews) and ensuring people feel welcome once an offer has been made. Feedback from many of the 60+ placements we have made in recent months suggests this has been managed very smoothly.

So don’t assume you need to put off your job search. We are working on some great opportunities and can help every step of the way.

Our 10 tips for successful virtual interviews

  1. Make sure your online ‘personal brand’ is in tip-top shape. Firms that may not meet you in person will want to get a good impression of who you are, beyond your CV. At the very least, ensure that your LinkedIn profile is fully up-to-date, but if you’re also writing and posting blogs, and commenting on interesting features, so much the better.
  2. By now, you are probably an expert in Zoom, Teams, etc. But when that virtual interview offer comes in, make sure you read any instructions for attendance carefully and try to ensure that you agree a time when you are least likely to have distractions – and when you will have the broadband to yourself to minimise potential connectivity problems.
  3. Wear appropriate clothes (the whole outfit just in case you need to stand up), ensure you position your laptop in front of a neutral background, and check the lighting. Test your camera/video before the interview – preferably at the same time of day as your interview is booked.
  4. Remember where your camera is on your computer and (although it feels a bit weird) try and look at it rather than the screen as much as you can – that will appear to them as eye contact. Remember to follow normal eye contact though – don’t stare!
  5. Don’t use hand gestures as it comes across badly on screen. Try and ‘listen’ with your eyes, small nods, etc. Think about your posture and remember you have a mic on your computer so don’t bang about or type as people will hear you.
  6. Be conscious of the way the microphones work. There may be small delays and it is easy to cut people off with even small noises from your end. Be quiet, listen to the interviewer/s and wait for a beat after their questions before you start answering. This will ensure a smooth flow to the conversation and make a more favourable impression.
  7. Virtual interviews create new opportunities. Do take the chance to screen share and show them your work if appropriate.
  8. Think carefully about the questions you might ask at the end. Given you may accept this job before you ever go to the office, there is a lot of information you are likely to need to know – not least how the role will work in practice, in a virtual landscape, and the firm’s plans for returning to the office longer-term.
  9. If you receive an offer, you may have many more questions on how the role will pan out longer term. This is a good time to make use of your recruiter, who will help work with you and the firm to address the logistics and any concerns.
  10. Get ready for your virtual induction. You may have a lot of Zoom/Teams meetings in those early days as you get to know everyone. It’s tiring but will help you to feel part of the team – we’ve been amazed at how many candidates have settled in incredibly quickly this way. At Totum, we continue to help firms and candidates at this stage, so we are also only a phone call (or Zoom!) away.

In lockdown three, it can be hard to stay positive and plan for the future. But behind the scenes, professional services firms are performing well and they’re still recruiting. With good opportunities out there, you can get ahead of those waiting till restrictions ease.

Your future may well be here for the taking. Take a look at our latest roles or contact our team for advice and/or further information.

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