With Covid-19, or coronavirus upending countries, communities, and economies globally, employers are being forced to restructure their graduate recruitment processes. We understand that this can induce a degree of stress in candidates. The process is different and even if you have experience with interviews and assessment centres, this can feel like an entirely different ball game. As such, we decided to put together our top tips on how to successfully navigate a virtual assessment centre and interview, so if you’re looking for a play by play on how to excel and get that graduate scheme, keep on reading!
It’s important that you treat your interview or virtual assessment centre as if you were there in person. Your assessors will be judging you as if you were, so it’s important you give the same impression regardless of being separated by a screen. By this, we don’t just mean to schedule your day so you don’t have any distractions the day of your assessment centre, virtual or otherwise. We mean, you should set some time aside with no distractions to actively prepare for your virtual assessment centre in order to be fully prepared.
Your environment is key to making a good impression, so ensure it is free from background noise, and you are well lit so your assessor can see and hear you clearly. You want your assessor to be able to focus on you entirely, and take in what you’re saying in order to best demonstrate your capabilities.
Following on from this, try and make sure you have a plain background with no distractions. This may seem small, but will play a role in making sure you make a good impression and what you’re saying is absorbed.
We recommend opening the video/audio test options and ensure your computer is suitably set up for your interview or virtual assessment centre. Check your microphone is working correctly, and your camera is displaying you clearly. You want to make as good of an impression as possible, and communication is important not just in what you say and how you say it, but you’re also more likely to make a positive impression if your assessor can see you properly.
Further, make sure that if you’re using a laptop, it is plugged in and charging. The last impression you want to give is that you were not forward thinking enough to ensure your laptop doesn’t die in the middle of an interview or assessment. You also want to check your internet connection. While these issues are sometimes inevitable, you do want to reduce the risk of a poor internet connection causing the meaning of what you’re saying to be lost or for your assessment or interview to cut short unduly early.
First impressions count, and your first impression will be how you present yourself. Just because your interview or assessment centre is virtual rather than face to face now, doesn’t mean the process is any less formal.
As such, just like you are making sure your environment is plain, clean, and tidy, you should ensure you are dressed professionally and presenting yourself well and formally.
Leading on from this, make sure you smile. Smiling will make you come across warmer and more engaging to your interviewer. It will also shift your tone of voice to sound more positive. You also want to create the illusion of direct eye contact. As such, look into the camera, rather than looking at your screen.
This follows on from our point about how to engage your assessor and remembering to treat your interview or virtual assessment centre as if it were face to face. In a face to face interview or assessment centre, you would not be able read from a script or notes, so treat your virtual assessment centre the same way.
We understand that it’s tempting to read off of notes or a script, but it is noticeable, and will result in your being less engaging.
Equally, ensure your phone and all notifications are switched off and away from you. Not only will this distract you, but it will not give the best impression to your assessor. You would not have these distractions or notifications in person, so make sure you don’t have them when completing an interview or assessment virtually.
We understand that you may be nervous and wish to complete your interviews and assessment centres as soon as possible, but given the ever-changing situation with covid-19, flexibility is key. As such, ensure you strike a balance between remaining engaged with your emails from employers, but try to understand that everything is a little up in the air. As such, employers and recruiters may take a little longer to respond and lock in dates.
These are our top tips for navigating your way through interviews and virtual assessment centres amidst coronavirus. Do you have any questions? Or any tips or thoughts not included in this article? Let us know in the comments!
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