From calls to meetings and catch-ups, much of our working life has now gone digital. So too have most job interviews and with restrictions once again tightening, they’ll likely remain this way for the foreseeable future. 

Much like creating the perfect CV and covering letter, being well prepared for your virtual interview is key to landing a new job. If you’ve never had to do one in the past, virtual interviews can be a daunting prospect. So how do you impress through the screen? 

Much like any other interview, you want to be able to show that you have a genuine interest in the organisation and the role you’re applying for. This means doing some background research on the company and, if you can, your interviewer. 

A good place to start is the company’s website and their social media channels, although it’s also good practice to dig a little deeper to see if there’s anything that’s been in the media about them recently. If you know ahead of time who your interviewer is, you can check if there’s a ‘Meet the Team’ page on the company website to find out more about their current role and background. If not, you can always try looking them up on LinkedIn, at the very least you’ll be able to put a face to the name. 

It’s important to show that you're engaged using not only your words but your body language. Remove all distractions such as your phone or tablet so that you can give the interviewer 100% of your focus. It’s also a good idea to ask anyone that you share your home with to give you space and keep the noise to a minimum for the duration of your interview. 

Conversation through a screen can often get a bit stilted so try to relax and make sure you listen attentively. Use non-verbal cues such as nods and smiles to show that you’re paying close attention to what the interviewer is saying. It can be difficult if you’re nervous but try to look straight into the camera when you’re speaking as letting your gaze wander can make it look like you’re distracted or not fully paying attention. 

It’s not just your physical appearance that you have to consider for a video interview. You’ll also have to think about what will be visible behind you. Think about where in your home has the best lighting and you’re least likely to be disturbed. Natural light is generally best so try to sit in front of a window. 

Give the place a good tidy up in preparation – an unmade bed or overflowing laundry basket won't give you a professional air that will get you hired – try to limit clutter so that the focus is on you and not your decorations. We’re not suggesting you need to give the entire room a makeover but keeping things clean, tidy and bright will give a good impression. 

Technology might have made long-distance interviews possible but it’s not without its glitches. Make sure you test your laptop’s microphone and camera ahead of time so you can be seen and heard clearly. 

Everyone knows you should never be late to a job interview and that applies to video ones too. Get everything set up in plenty of time so you can avoid any technical hold ups. Ask the interviewer for their email address and phone number so you can get back in touch with them if you lose connection. 

Above all, try to relax. Job interviews can feel like artificial situations where we’re expected to perform at the best of times, never mind the added awkwardness of being onscreen. Remember that interviews are a two-way process and that not all of the pressure is on you. Yes, you have to show that you’re the best candidate for the job, but your interviewer also has to convince you that their company is a desirable one to work for. 

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