As many companies seek to restart their operations post-Covid, the hiring landscape is gradually picking up speed with an 18% increase in June. However, with social distancing and the trend for remote working set to continue, contractors may frequently find themselves on-boarded via a virtual interview process. Virtual interviews were already gaining popularity as a fast and convenient alternative to meeting in person. For contractors, having a virtual interview or screening before the start of the assignment is an ideal time to clinch the contract and discuss any concerns or requirements that might come into play. While much of the content of the interview will remain the same as a face-to-face interview, we’ve put together some tips to make sure you’re prepared for the virtual element.
1. Test your technology beforehand
A virtual interview requires tools like a camera and microphone on your computer, a software program such Skype or Zoom and a reliable internet connection. Instead of waiting until the last minute, make sure you test out the necessary technology at least a day before your interview. This will give you chance to iron out any issues and make adjustments. In the 10 to 15 minutes before your interview, check your internet connection and sign in to the video or phone meeting via the link that the HR representative has provided. Turn on the sound and video to ensure everything is in working order in time for your conversation.
2. Prepare your surroundings
The best place to conduct your interview is in a quiet room with few distractions. Choose a room that’s clean and professional-looking so the interviewer can focus their attention on you and not what’s around you. Make sure that other people in your vicinity are aware of the interview so that they know to minimise disturbance during this time. You should also take the time to check your camera angle and what’s in the interviewer’s field of vision. You should take care to remove any personal items from the frame that could call your professionalism or suitability for the job into question. While it’s fine to have a coffee or a glass of water to hand, make sure you remove things like your breakfast plate or children’s toys from the frame.
3. Wear professional attire
Although it’s likely that people dress much more casually when working from home, this shouldn’t apply to the virtual interview. Just because you’re in your own environment, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t present yourself professionally – in fact, some may argue that it’s even more important to show you can observe these distinctions. These days, most face to face interviews require smart-casual dress, and this can also be applied to the virtual interview. Dressing professionally will also help you to mentally prepare for the interview, and demonstrate that you understand the importance of first impressions.
4. Preparation is key
It’s tempting to think that you need to do less preparation for a virtual interview, however this is always a mistake. Make sure you have everything to hand that you need. In certain circumstances, you may be asked to give a virtual presentation as part of your interview. Software like Zoom or Skype have inbuilt screen sharing facilities that allow you to share a PowerPoint presentation or reference material. While it’s fine to use notes to talk through the presentation, try to keep them generally out of the frame for the rest of the interview, and don’t assume you can look things up on a computer while the interview is in progress.
5. Use professional body language
Virtual communication requires special considerations and adjustments due to the limited ability to read body language and facial expressions. It’s important to be aware of your body language so that you can use it appropriately and naturally. For example, making direct eye contact, smiling and nodding will act as visual cues to signal understanding and build rapport. You should also aim to sit up straight facing the interviewer so that your face is roughly in the middle of your screen.
For more insights on how to win contracts post-Covid, you can read our guide here. If you’re starting a contracting role, ContractingWISE has access to a wide range of hassle-free services that can help you with setting up a limited company or finding the right umbrella company for you. To talk to a member of our team, call: 0203 642 8679