Virtual interviews are more common than ever – and not just because of the internet
As we move into a new digital era with more and more online jobs, virtual interviews are taking over as an easier, more convenient way to conduct interviews for businesses and companies.
If you are here because you have been invited to a virtual interview, congratulations!
But what exactly is a virtual interview? Are there advantages to virtual interviews? And how do you prepare for a virtual interview?
In this guide, we run through these questions with the best answers that are going to help you ace your next virtual interview.
So, without further ado, let’s get started.
Table of Contents
What Are Virtual Interviews?
Virtual interviews, also called online interviews, Zoom interviews or Skype interviews, are job interviews conducted over live video chat in real-time.
It goes without saying then that, for a virtual interview, you are going to need a modern laptop/computer, a stable internet connection, and the relevant application (whether that’s Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, or other).
Virtual interviews are conducted in the same way as in-person interviews. The main difference is that, instead of conversing face-to-face, the interview is happening over video chat with the participants being in different locations.
The Advantages Of Virtual Interviews
If you have been invited to a virtual interview, don’t be immediately worried or anxious – as virtual interviews do have their advantages.
The first advantage is that you don’t have to travel or spend on gas or public transport.
That is a slight joke, but it can in fact be a bonus when it comes to time scheduling!
On a more serious note, virtual interviews are, in general, more relaxed and less formal. This could be due to the fact they’re being conducted over video chat, which was originally used for long-distance casual conversation with friends or family.
What’s more, virtual interviews can also make you feel more relaxed, due to how you are doing the interview at home in a familiar place where you are generally more comfortable.
There are also other lesser-known advantages to virtual interviews.
One of these is the ability to refer to off-screen notes and visual pointers without it being obvious to your interviewer. If you tend to forget what to say, you can subtly refer to answers you have written in advance or even pinned notes on an opposite wall.
Another advantage is the ability to offer a positive insight into who you are as a person via your visual background. For example, a bookcase might show that you are an avid reader, or a carefully placed instrument on the side can show that you are creative.
Summarized, the advantages are:
- Virtual interviews are easy to schedule.
- Virtual interviews are generally less formal.
- Virtual interviews can make you feel relaxed in your own familiar setting.
- Virtual interviews offer the ability to refer to off-screen notes, cues, and visual pointers.
- Virtual interviews offer the ability to positively showcase your personality via your visual background.
The Disadvantages Of Virtual Interviews
At the same time, virtual interviews are not without their disadvantages.
For one, you might find yourself less confident due to the virtual aspect. Unlike being in person, virtual interviews can potentially make it harder to communicate and express yourself, or even know when to speak without accidentally cutting off the other participant(s).
Similarly, you might be more conscious of (and distracted by) how you look and sound – especially when it is possible to see yourself on your screen.
Another more obvious disadvantage is the internet itself, which, depending on the connection of both parties, can lead to video freezing, interruptions, and subsequently miscommunication and misunderstandings.
Lastly, virtual interviews can pose the risk of distracting outside sounds, or even kids and pets, interrupting the interview unexpectedly.
Summarized, the disadvantages are:
- Virtual interviews can make it harder to communicate and express yourself.
- Virtual interviews can make you more conscious of how you look and sound.
- Virtual interviews can experience internet problems.
- Virtual interviews can be interrupted by external sounds, pets, or unaware kids.
How Do You Prepare For A Virtual Interview?
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of virtual interviews, how do you prepare?
The first step is to make sure you have a reliable laptop/computer and internet connection. This will ensure there are no pauses, freezes, or interruptions during the interview. You can test your audio and video connection on both Skype and Zoom.
Virtual or not, you should also always make sure to familiarize yourself with the company before interviews, as well as predetermine all questions (and your answers) that are likely to be asked.
As mentioned above, an advantage of virtual interviews is the ability to subtly refer to off-screen notes and pointers. If this is desired, prepare these in advance.
Similarly, you should also make sure your background (if parts of your room are visible) is presentable.
If you live with others, it is worth letting them know about your interview. The same applies to pets, who you should make sure cannot enter your room unexpectedly.
What To Wear For A Virtual Interview
Lastly, what should you wear to a virtual interview?
Generally speaking, virtual interviews are more relaxed and less formal. This can be due to how the interview is being conducted over video chat, which was originally used for casual long-distance conversation.
In addition to this, you are also doing the interview from home.
For this reason, a general rule of thumb is to not be overdressed. While you might turn up to a regular interview in a suit, a shirt and tie, or a formal dress, answering your virtual interview wearing these at home can come across as odd.
At the same time, however, it is important to not be dressed too casually. You might always wear large, comfortable sweatshirts at home, but this doesn’t mean you should do your interview wearing your favorite home clothes.
The key is to strike the perfect balance. For virtual interviews, it is best to dress in smart casual, or formal casual – a look that shows professionalism but is not out of place when answering a virtual interview from home.
Of course, this can also depend on the job in question, so make sure to follow your instincts.
To summarize, a virtual interview is a job interview conducted over the internet using video chat. This might be done over Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, or any other application where live video chat is possible.
A real-time virtual interview is not to be confused with a recorded interview, which can also be done using video and the internet.
Virtual interviews have their advantages and disadvantages when compared to in-person interviews. In general, virtual interviews are easy to schedule and less formal, but can pose problems such as internet disconnections and miscommunication.