Virtual & Hybrid Interviews: Student Prep Guide | Varthana

How to Prepare for Virtual and Hybrid Interview Formats?

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How to Prepare for Virtual and Hybrid Interview Formats?

In today’s digital age, the way one connects and communicates has undergone a significant transformation. With the rise of remote work and online learning, virtual and hybrid interview formats have become more prevalent. Employers are now using virtual and hybrid interview formats to screen and hire candidates. As a student, preparing for these types of interviews is essential to secure internships, scholarships, and job opportunities. These types of interviews can be challenging, especially if one is not used to them. 

What are virtual and hybrid interviews?

One has to familiarize oneself with the format of virtual and hybrid interviews and understand it.

Virtual interview 

Virtual interviews are conducted entirely online. It is a process where the interviewee and the interviewer interact through video conferencing platforms such as video chat service, such as Zoom, Skype or Google Meet. One can do a virtual interview from anywhere, as long as they have a reliable internet connection and a device with a camera and microphone. A virtual interview can be live or recorded. 

  1. Live online interview – Here one has a real-time conversation with the interviewer, just like an in-person interview. 
  2. Recorded online interview – Here interviewees record themselves answering questions that appear on the screen, and the interviewer reviews the answers later.

Hybrid interview 

It is a combination of virtual and in-person elements where some participants may be physically present while others join remotely. For example, an interviewee might have a virtual screening interview with a recruiter, followed by an in-person interview with the hiring manager. Or, they might have a panel interview where some of the interviewers are present in the same room as the interviewee, while others join via video call.

Why are employers using virtual and hybrid interviews?

Virtual and hybrid interviews have many advantages for both employers and candidates. They can:

  1. Save time and money by reducing travel costs and scheduling conflicts
  2. Increase access to a wider pool of talent across different locations
  3. Enhance flexibility and convenience by allowing candidates to choose their preferred time and place for the interview
  4. Reduce environmental impact by cutting down on carbon emissions from transportation
  5. Improve safety and health by minimizing exposure to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases

Also Read: 7 financial habits that will help you in the long run

How to prepare for a virtual or hybrid interview?

To make a good impression and stand out from the competition, an interviewee needs to prepare well for the virtual or hybrid interview. This article aims to provide valuable insights and practical tips on how to excel in virtual and hybrid interview formats:

1. Read the interview instructions carefully:

When the employer sends an email with details about the interview format, platform, date, time, link, dress code and other expectations make sure to understand everything and follow the instructions accordingly. If there are any questions or concerns, do not hesitate to contact the employer for clarification.

2. Utilize Technology:

Take advantage of technology to enhance your virtual interview performance. Familiarize yourself with the features of the video conferencing platform, such as screen sharing and virtual backgrounds. Use these tools strategically to demonstrate the skills and showcase any relevant work samples.

3. Check the equipment:

Virtual and Hybrid interviews require a device with a camera and microphone, such as a computer, tablet or smartphone. Make sure the device being used is fully charged or plugged in, and the internet connection is stable and fast. Test the webcam and audio settings before the interview to ensure they work properly. An interviewee can also do a practice run with a friend or family member to check the quality of the video and sound.

4. Choose a suitable location:

 Find a quiet, well-lit and professional-looking place to do the interview. Avoid any distractions or interruptions from other people, pets, noises or notifications. Make sure the background is clean and tidy, and that it reflects your personality and industry. A virtual background can also be used to hide a real environment or add some flair to the image.

5. Maintain Eye Contact and be mindful of body language:

During the remote portion of the interview, the interviewee must be mindful of their body language and facial expressions since it may be more difficult to read through a screen. Maintain good eye contact by looking directly into the camera, sit up straight, and use hand gestures appropriately. Look directly at the camera rather than at one’s own image on the screen. This creates a more engaging and professional impression, allowing the interviewee to connect with the interviewer effectively.

6. Active Listening:

Demonstrate active listening skills by fully engaging in the conversation. Avoid interrupting the interviewer and provide thoughtful responses. Take notes during the interview to refer back to later, ensuring to address all key points.

7. Showcase Your Soft Skills:

Virtual and hybrid interviews heavily rely on effective communication and collaboration skills. Highlight your ability to adapt to new environments, work independently, and collaborate with remote teams. Share specific examples that demonstrate your soft skills in action.

8. Dress appropriately:

Even though not meeting the interviewer in person, an interviewee still needs to dress professionally and appropriately for the role and company culture. Choose an outfit that is comfortable, fits well, matches your style and makes you feel confident. Avoid wearing anything too flashy, revealing or distracting, such as bright colours, patterns or accessories. Remember to dress from head to toe, in case it is needed to stand up or move during the interview.

9. Research the company and its role:

Just like any other interview, an interviewee needs to do homework and learn as much as they can about the company and the role they are applying for. Visit the company website, social media pages, blog posts, news articles and reviews to get an idea of its mission, vision, values, goals, products, services, customers, competitors and culture. Review the job description carefully and identify how one’s skills, experience and achievements match their requirements and expectations.

10. Prepare some answers, questions and examples:

Anticipate some of the common questions that the interviewer might ask the interviewee, such as:

– Tell me about yourself.

– Why do you want to work for us?

– What are your strengths and weaknesses?

– How do you handle stress or conflict?

– How do you work in a team or remotely?

– What are your salary expectations?

Accordingly, prepare some answers, examples or stories that demonstrate your skills and achievements using the STAR method (Situation, Task, Action, Result). Practice the answers out loud or record them to check one’s tone, pace, volume and body language.

11. Questions to ask the interviewer:

Prepare some questions to ask the interviewer, such as:

– What are the main challenges or opportunities for this role or department?

– How do you measure success or performance in this role?

– What are the next steps in the hiring process?

– How do you support the professional development or well-being of your employees?

– What do you like most about working for this company?

12. Be punctual and professional:

On the day of the interview, make sure an interviewee is ready at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time. Check the equipment and internet connection again, and close any unnecessary tabs or applications on the device. Dress well, smile and greet the interviewer politely. Introduce oneself briefly and thank them for the opportunity. Maintain eye contact, speak clearly and confidently, and listen attentively. Show enthusiasm, interest and curiosity throughout the conversation. Avoid fidgeting, touching the face or looking away from the screen. At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer again, ask about the next steps and follow up with a thank-you email.

13. Follow up with a Thank You Note:

After the interview, the interviewee can send a personalized thank you note to express gratitude for the opportunity. They also can reiterate interest in the position and briefly summarize why they would be a valuable addition to the organization. This simple gesture can leave a lasting positive impression on the interviewer.

Also Read: Is it important to consider your interests when making career decisions?

Virtual and hybrid interviews are becoming more common and popular in today’s job market. They offer many benefits for both employers and candidates, but they also require some preparation and practice to succeed. Preparing for virtual and hybrid interview formats as discussed above and embracing the challenges and the opportunities that these new interview formats present is essential for students navigating the modern job market.

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