Job hunting has become an increasingly online affair over the past decade and the coronavirus outbreak is accelerating the remote hiring trend. It’s forcing millions of us to change the way we live, work and are recruited.

Leading investment banks and international law firms have been using digital interviewing platforms to hire remotely for many years, primarily to cope with the sheer volume of student applications. Platforms such as HireVue are used to narrow down a very large and talented field of hundreds of thousands of graduates for a limited number of roles. Now, companies are compelled to use various phone and online formats as social distancing becomes the norm. Typically, platforms such as Skype, Zoom and Microsoft Teams are the go-to for recruiters.

An online / remote interview is as much an opportunity as a face-to face-interview and it’s imperative it is treated as such. Here are our top 5 tips for online interview success:

  1. Be prepared – be SMART

It may not feel like at when you’re sitting at home, but this is very much a proper interview and you need to be prepared. That means doing your macro and micro research as well as preparing and rehearsing powerful scenarios that demonstrate you align with the essential skills and experience required.

From C-suite to graduate, the Situation, Task, Actions ,Result (STAR) technique is the best framework for articulating your competence and structuring your thoughts. Remember, the aim is to have clearly defined examples of your behaviour, expertise and achievements rather than a pre-prepared script.

Post-it notes around the webcam will enable you to refer to your hidden agenda items – your key interview points – whilst the interviewer thinks you are looking straight into the camera.

  1. Be professional

Your home environment needs to be comfortable and professional. Just as conference rooms are normally designed to minimise distractions, try to create a similar effect in your home ‘office’.

If you are one of the many parents having to rise to the challenge of home schooling right now, it makes sense to schedule your interview carefully for a time when you won’t be disturbed – no matter how much the kids have promised to be quiet.

It’s vital to look professional too. We always advise investigating what your target industry norm is when it comes to workwear. Choose clothes that are smart, polished and comfortable without being too formal. Get into work-mode and dress the part to help you get in the ‘zone’ – even for a phone interview.

  1. Get technology to work for you

A common issue when speaking to someone via video conference is a mismatch between how you think you appear on screen and the reality. You may be convinced your camera is angled the right way, that your background is neutral, lighting perfect and that you’re making virtual eye contact with your recruiter. Unless you test it fully, who knows what your interviewer is seeing. It’s always worth placing a video test-call to someone in advance to be 100% sure.

  1. Be positive

You may be out of your comfort zone if you’ve never had an online interview, but once you’ve got to grips with the technology and practised beforehand, the same rules of any face to face interview apply. Be positive and provide intelligent, focused answers to questions to prove you are committed, motivated and proactive no matter where you are in the world or what challenges there may be. Positivity and the ability to overcome adversity is key.

  1. It’s a two-way conversation

This is your time to find out if the role and company are the right fit for you, just as much as it is for the recruiter. So, when asked if you have any questions, you have the chance to impress with some prepared questions, based on the company and industry research you have undertaken. It’s a great opportunity to show you have really done your homework, your intelligence and of course your passion for the job, company and sector. Let them see that you have already pictured yourself in the role. If you can believe it, so will they.

If you’d like specific advice on interview techniques, including online interview training, then please call us on +44 20 7100 6656 or email us. We have a team of interview coaches ready to help you get that role – virtually of course.