Polly Symondson Recruitment | Be your best virtual self
Polly Symondson Recruitment, PSR, Specialist Regional Recruitment for the Charity Sector, Cheltenham, UK
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Be your best virtual self

Today we spoke with one of our candidates who is attending an interview next week. They informed us that they are now in self-isolation due to C-19.

The candidate feels fine and is keen to have a virtual interview, if the charity is willing to do so. Understandably the candidate was also feeling apprehensive as they have not had much experience of remote interviews before.

I imagine this is going to be happening a lot more in the coming weeks, so here is my guide for candidates in how to present your best virtual self:

Usernames – if you are sending the details of your Skype or Google accounts to potential employers, make sure your username is professional. We carry out a great deal of virtual interviews and so often this gets forgotten. @fluffyrabbit123 is great for Skyping friends, not so great for future employer.

Look the part – be smart, not too bright or patterned as this can distract on a small screen. Keep accessories to a minimum as again they can be a distraction. Don’t be tempted to have a smart top half and pj’s and slippers because they can’t be seen, and if your any reason you need to stand up during the interview, striped pyjamas will not be the thing you want to be remembered for. If you look the part it will help you feel the part.

Eye contact – very important in a face to face interview, tricky in a virtual one as you want to convey that same level of connection.  Top tip: Avoid the instinct to look directly at your interviewer on the screen when answering a question. Instead, when you speak, direct your gaze at the webcam. When you do this, your eyes are more likely to align with the interviewer’s eyes on the other end. When you’re listening, you can look back at the screen. Practice – its not an instinctive thing.

On the day follow these golden rules:

  • Ensure that you won’t be interrupted, either by locking the door or by alerting others that you can’t be disturbed.

  • Clear your desk space but keep a pen and notepad to take notes.

  • Have a copy of your CV or application form and the job description to hand.

  • Have a glass of water or a drink to hand.

  • Check that your webcam is working and check the distance and angle of the camera. You may have a lovely nose but I can guarantee it does not look its best from below.

  • Check that your audio is working.

  • Close any applications on your computer that you’re not using.

  • Check your internet connection and make sure you’re not downloading anything in the background.

  • Put your phone to silent.

  • Check that the background behind you is neutral and free from clutter. You can always see if the platform you are using allows you to blur the background.

  • Adjust the lights in the room. If things appear dark or dim, you may want to bring in an extra desk lamp to brighten the space.

Best of luck!