How to prepare for your (virtual) job interview

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Shreena Gokani Recruitment, candidate, covid-19...

Finally! You’ve received a call from a company that you’d recently sent a CV to, inviting you for a job interview. What now? Yikes – you need to prepare! Here’s some useful tips on how to prepare for your interview – even if it is a virtual one.

Preparing for your interview is crucial for a number of reasons:

  1. If you’re prepared for your job interview, you’ll feel confident and be able to give clear answers to the questions asked. 
  2. It shows your commitment and that you’re a professional prospective employee, which also demonstrates the qualities you have and what you will bring to your potential future employer. 
  3. You will be ready to present the best version of yourself allowing you the strongest chance of securing a job offer. 
  4. Preparing will help you fully understand the company and their requirements and then empower you to match your skills to their requirements.

What should I prepare before my job interview?
Leading up to the job interview, here’s what you should consider in order to be successful.

Understand the interview process
Make sure you have a clear understanding of what the recruitment process is so that you can plan for what will be required of you and when it will be required by.  At TXM Recruit, we always prepare our candidates and our clients for interview, so that there are no surprises on the day. If your interview is through a recruitment agency, make sure you ask for their guidance as they may have feedback from the company on previous interviews that they can share with you.

Do your research
Research the company so that you gain a good background on their history, culture, values and positioning within their market.  You can do this by reviewing their website, social media and any other articles that you can find.  This will raise your level of awareness on your prospective employer and give you potential points of topic to discuss, demonstrating to the interviewers that you have approached your interview with care and attention. 

Look into who will be interviewing you to understand their background, their level of experience and to see if you can find any common ground for talking points.  You may be able to find information of the interviewer(s) on their company website or on LinkedIn.

Match your skills against the job description
Review the job description or specification that you’ve applied for so that you know what the position will involve.  From this, highlight the key competencies or experience that the company will want to see in their successful new employee. Use this method to match the essential job criteria against your own skills and experience so that you can give robust examples when asked about your experience.  If these examples aren’t listed on your CV, make notes so that you can highlight these at your interview. 

Do you have any noteworthy achievements that would be worth mentioning?  Have you used a software package, that you know this company also uses? Aim to match YOUR skills or experience to what THE COMPANY is looking for in this role!

Prepare for the big day
Make sure that you have a copy of your CV in front of you and at the ready. If you have applied through an agency, ask them for a copy of the CV that they sent to the company for you.  At TXM Recruit, as well as advising you through the process, we will send you a full interview confirmation email, including a copy of the CV that was submitted on your behalf and a copy of the job description for the position that you are interviewing for.

Having spent time preparing, make sure that you have your notes to hand so that can refer to these with ease. 

Think about questions that you will want to ask and have a list ready so that you don’t feel on the spot, if the interviewer(s) ask for these.

Cheesy as it may sound, dress for success!  Whether your interview is face to face or via technology as a virtual call, you will feel the best version of yourself if you look the part and make an effort.  A virtual interview is still an interview and you want to show that you’re taking it seriously and mean business!  Plus, in lockdown it’s a good reason to get dressed up!

What to consider during the job interview

  • Let’s face it, an interview is daunting at the best of times, let alone if it’s going to be conducted virtually, so get yourself ready and prepped for all eventualities and be on time! 
  • If it’s going to be a face-to-face interview, plan your journey and make sure that you know where you are going.  Have you got enough fuel? Have you allowed time for traffic?  Give yourself enough time so that you can have a few minutes of calm and get your head together before the interview starts – no one wants to be rushing into an interview!
  • If your interview is a virtual one, make sure that you’re set up with plenty of time. Is your laptop charged? Test out any links before hand in case you need to create an account, download any software or your internet decides to go awol! 
  • Set your laptop up so that your camera angel shows the whole of your face. Think about the lighting and your surroundings – what’s behind you that the interviewer(s) will be able to see?  Is your microphone switched on? 
  • Create a calm space and set expectations with your household by letting them know that you will need some uninterrupted time. 
  • Arrange your space so that you have any notes that you might need, within reach without causing chaos!
  • Remove distractions such as phones and make sure that your interview won’t be disrupted by children or pets! That said – we’re all going through such crazy times at the moment, that we are all in similar situations, so create rapport by sharing experiences, good and interesting but remember to remain professional at all times!
  • While body language is of course harder to convey via a virtual interview, be aware of your posture and eye contact.  Convey enthusiasm or agreement by nodding and talk clearly and smile. You still want to be engaging, show your personality and be yourself so that the interviewer(s) can get a feel for your personality.
  • Confirm next steps and the recruitment timeline so that you understand what will happen next and can gain clarity if needed.

Follow up post-interview
It’s always good to follow up the next day to thank the interviewer(s) for their time.  You can use this communication to ask any further questions that might have arisen too.

If your interview is through a recruitment agency, give them your feedback on how you think the interview went and let them know of any questions you have so that they can answer or ask the company for you. 

TXM Recruit’s consultants always endeavour to follow up with both candidates to gain their feedback and then with clients to provide as much support and guidance through this process as possible.

For more hints and tips on how to conduct a successful job interview, contact one of our experienced recruitment consultants and let us support you on the next stage of your journey! Alternatively, do check out our COVID-19 Support Hub for more useful resources that may help you right now.