What’s Your Experience of Virtual Interviews?
Posted on Wednesday, August 19, 2020 by The Interviewer — No comments
Like other recruitment agencies in London, we’ve watched with interest as employers move their candidate interviews online. We chatted to some of our existing and recent PA job candidates about their experience of attending a virtual interview and asked for any advice they can share.
- When you’re told to sort out the tech, sort out the tech!
Marc was one of the first of our candidates to have a virtual interview. At the time, there wasn’t a huge amount of information out there for him. “The HR team at the place I was being interviewed sent me a hastily written email about what I needed to do,” he recalls. “I thought it would just sort-of work out. It didn’t. I should’ve made sure I had everything downloaded, good connectivity, and decent lighting sorted beforehand. I’m a bit embarrassed as it was shambolic. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get the job. I’ve now been given much better advice from Love Success and have had a couple of virtual interviews since. My last interview was successful, and I’m due to start a new role after my holiday.”
- Prepare like you would for face-to-face
“Do everything you would do to prepare for a face-to-face interview, then do some more,” Olivia says. “I think we’ve got used to Zoom feeling informal. But when interviewing for PA jobs in London, you need to showcase that you’re a professional who’s interested in the company. Even though you’re at home, put on office wear and ensure your background is professional too.”
- Show that you’re listening
“I was listening intently to the interviewer, when they suddenly broke off and asked me if I was looking at my phone,” Mia reveals. “I really wasn’t, but I wasn’t looking at my webcam, which was to the other side of my screen. I realised it must have looked like I wasn’t actually listening. I explained and then made a conscious effort to talk to the webcam — and actively show that I was listening.”
- Don’t be afraid of pauses
Charlotte told us about something that seems unique to virtual interviews. “To be honest, I hate video conferencing at the best of times,” she confesses. “Awkward silences happen and people end up jumping in, or the silence feels like it goes on forever. In the interviews I’ve done, this feels even worse. I’ve now trained myself to allow the silence to be. It’s just the interviewer collecting their thoughts. I also always make sure that I’ve got a list of questions I want to ask.”
- Don’t cheat
Avery had a slightly awkward experience: “I thought that, as they couldn’t see me, I’d surround myself with sheets of notes to refer to. I thought it would help me to answer the questions more professionally. Unfortunately, it did the opposite. The interviewer picked up on it and said he wanted me to answer spontaneously. He rightly pointed out that in the role I wouldn’t always have pre-prepared answer sheets.” We always say prepare for interviews and consider likely questions, but don’t over-prepare because you’ll end up sounding robotic and unnatural. Run through your notes in advance, but listen to the actual questions and answer them.
It looks as if virtual interviews for PA jobs are here to stay. Not all interviews are being conducted this way, but many are. Be prepared for both face-to-face and virtual interviews. If you’d like further advice on how to be a successful candidate at any kind of interview, give us a call on 0207 7870 7177.
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