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Virtual Interviews – Your Chance to Stand Out from the Crowd

Virtual Interviewing (VI). Not everyone has heard of the concept, but it’s a growing part of recruitment and the interview process, so Evolve Selection as a leading independent recruitment agency and CSO have compiled a comprehensive account of Virtual Interviewing.

With a wealth of benefits for employers, VI is quickly becoming the choice of format for first stage interviews. Prevalent within Graduate Recruitment already, numerous employers have taken to using the method across many different industries. Our personal experience of VI within the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare industries has driven us to share the secrets of a successful approach to completing a VI. Hopefully this insight will help you understand the concept, how to prepare, how to conduct yourself and how to make best use of the experience afterwards.

What are Virtual Interviews?

Virtual Interviewing is a broad term. Specifically, VI is referring to pre-recorded interviews used to simulate a normal interview scenario. This generally takes place with pre-recorded questions followed by the candidate’s chance to answer. However, the advice and tips given throughout this article can easily apply to the similar concept of Digital/Video Interviews.

Both interview formats allow the Hiring Manager to see you and hear you, so it’s important to bear this in mind when completing one.

As well as this, it is vital to remember that in most cases this is the first stage of an application after your CV has been reviewed. The reason you have been invited to complete this before attending an assessment centre or face to face interview, 99 times out of a 100, is because the Hiring Manager wants to compare you against other applicants. So, the key is to ensure you STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD!

How to Approach a Virtual Interview?

Your approach to a Virtual Interview should be broader than simply logging onto your PC and hitting the start button. You need to prepare as well as you would for a normal interview, but take a few more considerations into account. This includes; before, during and after the VI, so we have broken this down to preparing in advance, completing the VI and how to follow up after the VI.

Preparing in advance

What to think about in advance:

  • WIFI – It’s really important to ensure your WIFI is reliable, has a solid strength of connection and isn’t slowed down for any reason. The worst scenario is that you begin the VI and it crashes halfway through. If you struggle for connection at home, maybe you could use a family members or friends WIFI. Failing this, your local library normally has this facility free of charge.
  • Technology – Every piece of VI software is different. Some will be mobile friendly, whereas others may be optimised to specific requirements. No matter what software you use, you should take the opportunity to test the software before answering the questions. Most VI software allows you to complete practice questions. Also, make sure to use the optimum system to get the best results. 
  • Environment – This isn’t something you have to think about normally when attending an interview, but with VI you need to think about the environment where you complete the VI. The room should be professional, quiet, have a neutral appearance (a plain wall works best!) and very importantly for picture, be well lit (natural lighting behind the camera is ideal i.e. window). 
  • Yourself – We cannot stress this point more. Think about how you are presenting yourself. You wouldn’t go to an interview in a T-shirt and your pyjama bottoms, so don’t complete a VI in them! Treat it like a normal interview, dress to impress in formal attire and give the manager the first impression you want them to take away with them. Remember your posture too! Sit forward, think about how you’re coming across and look enthusiastic! 
  • Content Preparation – The more you prepare, the better you will do. Again, a very important point. Go the extra length and prepare as much as you possibly can! If you are working with a recruiter, then ask them what you should research. If you have applied directly, then research the company, practice your competency answers, research the products or offerings and don’t forget to remind yourself what is on your CV! Believe it or not, people forget the content of their CV daily and it doesn’t represent well on you. 
  • Practice – You can’t practice enough! “Practice makes perfect” is the best attitude you can take here! Think about timings, speech, content of your answer and how you are coming across. 
  • Memory – If you want to STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD, then don’t read from a script. You wouldn’t read from a script in a face to face interview, so you can’t in a VI. It really doesn’t look good. Learn your answers and don’t worry if you make a mistake or two as you’re better representing yourself naturally than giving robotic answers. 

Completing the Virtual Interview

So, what should you do when completing the VI:

  • Make use of Visual Aids – By using props, cards or research you can make your answer more interesting. It’s a great way to get the attention of the Hiring Manager and stand out from the crowd. 
  • Personality – Don’t be scared to be yourself. You would if this was taking place face to face. Hiring Managers don’t want to employ robots, so show them what you are about.
  • Treat it like a NORMAL interview – Don’t treat it any differently to meeting a Hiring Manager. Approach the interview how you normally would. Just imagine the Hiring Manager is at the other side of the table from you and convince them you are the right person for the job. 
  • Engage with the interviewers – Remember that when the Hiring Manager takes the time to review your interview, they will judge as they would if it was a normal interview. So, remember to direct your answers to them. Find out the manager’s name and introduce yourself. Make you answers personal to them and you will set yourself aside from other candidates.
  • STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD – You’ve probably noticed we’ve mentioned this a few times now. That’s because it’s the only way to succeed when completing a virtual interview. You could be one of two candidates or you could be one of 2000 candidates. So, the only way to beat them is to differentiate yourself from them. How though? 
  • Avoid monotonous answers – Most people can answer what they think the Hiring Manager wants to hear. But, can you be more creative? Again, this is where the concepts of props or images can really work – do something different!
  • Keep it structured – Make sure you keep your answers structured – being different doesn’t mean you should break from the tried and tested techniques. For competency based questions use the STAR technique. STAR doesn’t have to be a “boring” answer. If you can use examples that you can be passionate about, then your enthusiasm will shine through. 
  • Manage your time and leave seconds for introducing yourself and closing off! – We mentioned above about addressing the Hiring Manager, so steal 5 seconds on the first and last questions to introduce yourself and to close your interview – you wouldn’t walk straight into an interview without introducing yourself? And you would just walk out without thanking them for their time, would you?

After the Virtual Interview

  • How would you normally follow up an interview? Don’t just hope for the best! Follow up the Hiring Manager, agency or HR that you have been in touch with. 
  • Use the Virtual Interview to your advantage – Can you use the experience and your approach in the next stages after you have been successful? Of course! 
  • Build the rapport – You obviously did something to make yourself stand out from the crowd to get through, so build on that. If you used a theme in your virtual interview, then carry it on. 
  • Follow up the points you made – You most likely made points that were of interest to the Hiring Manager, so make sure that you bring these up and use them to your advantage. 
  • What feedback did you get? Can you build on the positives? – Find out what they liked about your interview, so you can build on this into the next stages. Play to your strengths! Don’t be scared to ask what they liked about you and what you did well. We are often too modest, and we need to shine to succeed at interview. 
  • Did you receive any negatives? Again, don’t be scared to ask if there is anything you can improve on. Find out if there was anything that concerned them and address it rather than finding out afterwards. Use the Virtual Interview as the chance to find out what you could do better and then do it – this shows the Hiring Manager that you are adaptable.
  • Learn from the process for face to face interviews – Virtual Interviews are a great time to see how you come across yourself. Often, we are our own best critics so think and assess your own performance and improve next time – whether it is another face to face interview or the next Virtual Interview. The best thing you can do is get comfortable with completing Virtual Interviews, as they will be ever more common now in recruitment processes and the search for a new position. 

From a job seeker perspective; whether you are looking for medical sales jobs, senior management positions, marketing, contract sales or trainee sales roles, the Evolve Selection team are here to assist you and guide you through every step of the recruitment process. Contact our highly experienced team on 0113 457 0777 to discuss your individual requirements; we’re always happy to talk with you in confidence, or email us at: recruitment@evolveselection.co.uk

If you are a pharmaceutical or healthcare company looking to expand your sales and marketing team, fill an ad hoc vacancy or discuss options for an outsourced contract sales team, Evolve Selection can help you achieve your goals. 

Evolve can also offer Virtual Interviewing Solutions; cost-effective recruitment tools which use innovative video technology to enable organisations to make fast, efficient decisions about the best candidates to hire. To discuss our Virtual Solutions, please call 0113 457 0776, or email us at: info@evolve-vs.com

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