The pandemic has meant that we have all got used to operating in a semi-virtual workplace. As restrictions have lifted, certain elements have remained in place as they have proven to be a more practical and efficient way of working. The virtual interview is one of those ways – it is a quick and cost-effective way for companies to assess candidates and go through the initial stages of elimination.

When applying for a sales position, this method should, in fact, prove an effective way for a candidate to demonstrate that their sales can translate into the virtual world as well, as so much groundwork in sales is done both on the phone and virtually these days. So, performing well in a virtual environment is a good skill to have.

Nonetheless, nerves can kick in and sabotage your performance, so our step-by-step guide should help you prepare for the interview in a way that will calm your nerves and allow you to give the interview your absolute best.

Step one – prepare in advance

Approach the virtual interview as though you were going into a sale – you are, in fact, selling yourself. Know what you want to say, take notes, and practice your answers beforehand. Sometimes the interviewer will send you an idea of the questions you will be asked. If they do, make sure you prepare your answers for these. But don’t read off your notes. It is important that you can demonstrate real knowledge and passion, and this will never come through if you’re reading from a script.

Step two – show up on time

The protocol for a virtual meeting is to hit the join button at the correct time – not too long in advance, and definitely not too late (even by just a few minutes). You need to be marked as waiting to join the meeting when your interviewer clicks in.

Step three – dress for success

Have you heard that phrase: “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have!” Tempting though it may be to put on a shirt and jacket on your top half and be lounging about in stained joggers or PJs still on your bottom half, don’t do this. How you dress will directly affect the way you act and present yourself. There are many studies that illustrate how the clothes we wear affect our behaviour, mood, and, more importantly, our confidence. They put us in the right frame of mind for the job at hand – in your case, impressing the interviewer.

Step four – demonstrate your sales knowledge

Have at your fingertips three or four sales successes of which you are particularly proud and be able to talk through these succinctly and knowledgeably.

Step five – make eye contact

Don’t forget that the camera is usually on the top of the screen if you’re on a PC, or to one side of your smartphone if you’re speaking on landscape. Look at the camera, not the interviewee. It will seem a little ‘off’ but your interviewer will feel as though you are totally focused on them.

Step six – stay focused and visually engaged

It’s very easy in a home environment to get distracted by things going on around you, even though you are meant to be on a call. Set up your surroundings to keep those distractions out. Shut the door, close the curtains, lock the kids in the garden shed, and take the phone out of the socket. For the next half hour or so, your focus should be 100 percent on the screen in front of you.

Step seven – stay responsive

Sometimes body language can get lost or misconstrued between screens, so make sure your responses are specific and clear. If a bad connection means that you lose the thread of a conversation, don’t panic. Your response to such situations is actually very indicative of how you would respond in real life.


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