Recruiting in Other Worlds: Are You Prepared For Virtual Interviews?

Earlier today, I received a comment on a previous post about jobs and CVs.  LJ asked an interesting question:

“I wonder what advice you would give someone facing a virtual interview?”

Virtual interviews are a recent development to recruitment.  They’ve been used more as a taste of the future, but the results have resulted in possible job offers.  Some people are already out there, developing their virtual interview skills.  After you graduate, who’s to say you will be more likely to undergo interviews over the Internet?

And should you treat these virtual interviews any different to a phone interview or a face-to-face one?

In some ways you’ll have to.  In other ways it’s much like any other interview.  You certainly shouldn’t take it less seriously.

photo by pathfinderlinden

Here are 10 tips to help give you a fighting chance at a virtual interview…because you won’t get a Second Life at this one:

1. Remember it’s an interview – Chances are you’re applying for a job in the real world, so be yourself.  You’ll be meeting face-to-face soon if they like you here.  No point playing some big shot if you hate that kind of exposure in real life…

2. Concentrate on the facts – This is a virtual interview.  Interviewers are unlikely to be checking out your personality.  They want to know what you’ve achieved.  They want to hear stories about what has brought you here today.  They’re looking for a demonstrable ability to perform well, write succinctly, and give clear examples.

3. Don’t try and show off – You might know some impressive tricks in the virtual world.  They won’t be impressive halfway through an interview.  Leave the tricks for your friends unless it’s part of the interview process.

4. Remain courteous – You wouldn’t rush away from an interview the moment the final question had been answered, so be sure to make an impression from the moment you’re visible to the moment you’re shaking virtual hands after a successful meeting.  If the interviewer can still see you, make sure your behaviour is impeccable.

5. Keep the interviewer informed – If you aren’t sure about an answer, ask the virtual interviewer for a little time to compose yourself.  If you need clarification on a question, don’t be afraid to ask for it.  If your virtual self is just sitting there doing nothing for a couple of minutes without explanation, it won’t look too good.

6. If you’d feel stupid doing it in the real world, it’ll be stupid to do in a virtual interview – It might seem clever while looking at the screen, but always ask yourself, “Would I dare to do this if I was sitting in the interview myself?”

7. Prepare yourself in the real world – Performing a virtual interview at your computer, in your pajamas, 30 minutes after crawling out of bed, is a bad idea.  Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should.  Get yourself dressed and looking smart.  It will boost your positivity and help you play your virtual part a lot better.

8. Do your homework – A virtual interview will be no less difficult than a face-to-face interview.  You still need to prepare and be ready for any questions thrown at you.  If an interviewer asks you, “Is a Jaffa Cake a cake or a biscuit?” it’s no good ignoring the question, or simply laughing.  By all means, react to the general atmosphere if it’s light hearted, but don’t overdo it.  Oh, and a Jaffa Cake is definitely a biscuit, because I’d feel very greedy if I was eating 12 cakes in 10 minutes…

9. Showcase your online talent, if applicable to the job – In a normal interview, you can give the recruiter your web address.  In a virtual interview, you can send the link over at the right time and all view it within an interactive discussion.

10. Tell the truth – Both recruiters and interviewees have championed previous virtual interviews because of the honesty involved.  There’s a tendency to get to the point and give a more confident reply to a question.  So if you think a virtual interview gives more chance to fib, you might be doing yourself out of a job.

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It might be early days, but have any of you already taken part in a virtual interview?  Would you give any other advice regarding interviews (real world, or otherwise!)?

6 comments

  1. Excellent advice.
    I especially like what you say about being courteous. I think it would be all too easy to forget the general rules of conduct, ie; politeness, respectfulness etc… in a virtual environment, but I think you are right, the same rules should apply as a face-to-face.
    I also think that being dressed appropriately is also important.

  2. Skype would be more like a phone interview. Or if they used the video service on Skype, it would be more like a face-to-face interview.

    I was referring to the virtual worlds that are becoming increasingly popular. Like ‘Second Life‘.

    Wikipedia briefly mentions virtual classrooms and the like, which is another possible avenue for discussion.

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