One of the biggest changes in the world of science
recruitment in recent years - indeed, in any recruitment field - has been the
rise of the virtual interview.
Virtual interviews can be defined as "any
form of interview that uses information and communication technologies
(ICTs) such as email, discussion board, real-time chat or video chat system
such as Skype."
While many of the usual principles of how to handle a job
interview also apply for a virtual interview, the latter also comes with
certain distinctive challenges - so don't forget the below advice when faced
Get comfortable with
Particularly when you are being interviewed for more
technical science jobs, it is important to get the associated technology in
order and not appear overawed or intimidated by it - any attempted small-talk
about how weird it is to be interviewed 'virtually' is likely to create the
If technical issues do occur - as can happen with even the
best preparation - respond in a professional way, asking the interviewer to
repeat the question if necessary and politely asking if you can disconnect and
reconnect if the problem is persistent.
Also keep signalling acknowledgement - such as by saying "yes"
or "hmm" or nodding the head - so that the interviewer is in no doubt
that you can hear them.
Project the most
There are so many issues of professional presentation or
lack thereof that can arise in a virtual interview if you do not thoroughly and
Dress remains as important in a virtual interview as it does
in a face-to-face one. Indeed, with one
recent study suggesting that simply wearing a suit affects the way you think,
it is advisable to dress smartly even for a phone interview.
Other presentation issues that can arise during a virtual
interview include your cat walking into the shot, unmade bedding in the
background, harsh lighting or an unflattering camera angle - again, all
problems that need to be ironed out in the preparation rather than during the
Be sure to adopt the
right interview manner
In all of your anxiety to project the desired impression of
a competent candidate, it can be easy to forget such apparent basics as
actually looking into the camera rather than your image on the screen, keeping
a straight posture and being subtle in reference to any notes that you have
placed nearby to aid you.
Remember, too, not to over-rehearse - in a virtual interview
as much as in a 'real' one, a natural manner can go a long way to making you a
more engaging interviewee.
There are so many other important things to keep in mind
when being interviewed 'virtually', from choosing a professional username if
this is required for any videoconferencing technology you use, to keeping a
printout of your CV and other key documentation nearby.
If there's one thing that definitely applies to virtual
interviews as much as it does to 'normal' in-person interviews, it is the great
importance of preparation - so never underestimate it if you are called to such
an interview by a recruitment agency.