Interviewing

Guide: How to Succeed at a Virtual Hiring Event

June 29, 2020

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Success at a virtual hiring event is about preparing beforehand, arriving on time, looking your best, and leaving the hiring staff with a great impression. This guide will help you prepare for success at your next virtual hiring event.

We know the spread of COVID-19 is having a profound impact on the way we work and live. Here at Indeed, we’re here to help you navigate your job search every step of the way.

(If you’re an employer hosting a virtual hiring event, visit events.indeed.ca to post it on Indeed.)

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What is a virtual hiring event?

A virtual hiring event is a group interview where employers accept job applications and conduct virtual interviews in group and individual formats. Many employers are moving in the direction of virtual hiring events as new developments arise with COVID-19, and this is a unique opportunity to meet them without leaving your home. They may also lead to job offers on the spot, significantly reducing the waiting time in your job search.

Friendly reminder: To find hiring events on Indeed, type “Indeed Hiring Events” in the “what” field, and your location in the “where” field on the Indeed homepage. Each hiring event's description will indicate whether it is virtual or in-person.

Virtual Hiring Events on Indeed

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Virtual hiring events tips

Read the event description

Within the description of a hiring event, employers will leave important clues about what to expect. For example, employers will indicate if they plan to make offers on the spot or if this is the first interview within a series of interviews.

They may also include job requirements, such as necessary certifications, requirements of the job or other details that will help you determine if it’s the right fit for you. They may also let you know what you need to prepare, have with you and wear to the interview.

Research the company

Virtual hiring events are designed for employers to virtually meet many candidates at once. Researching the company before the interview will help you stand out from the crowd.

Find the employer’s company page and read about what it’s like to work there from current and former employees. If the company has a retail or dining location, you may want to visit before the event to get an understanding of the day-to-day operations. Check out their social media profiles and visit the company website.

Update your resume

Review your resume to make sure it’s relevant to the jobs being offered at the virtual hiring event. One way to do this is to reflect on your past work experience while you read the event description. Consider how the job requirements match your qualifications, skills and experience. Make changes to your resume so the employer can easily see that your background meets their requirements.

Resume Format

Practice your answers

Interviews during a virtual hiring event may be shorter than traditional interviews. Practice a short summary of yourself (one minute or less) to quickly share with employers what you have to offer.

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Video interview tips

The day of the interview you’ll be responsible for finding a quiet location with a good internet connection and a computer or laptop with a webcam. Review this checklist as you’re setting up:

  • Ensure that you won’t be interrupted, either by locking the door or by alerting others that you can’t be disturbed (a note on the door of the room as well as the door to the outside may be helpful).
  • Clear your desk space except for a notepad and pen/pencil for you to take notes.
  • Have a copy of your resume and any other notes ready to reference.
  • Set out a glass or bottle of water for yourself.
  • Check that your webcam is working.
  • Check that your audio is working.
  • Close any windows, tabs or applications on your computer that you’re not using.
  • Check your internet connection and make sure you’re not downloading anything in the background.
  • Set your phone to silent.
  • Check that the background behind you is neutral and free of clutter.
  • Adjust the lights in the room. If things appear dark or dim, you may want to bring in an extra desk lamp to brighten the space.

If you don’t have the necessary technology, you may want to consider the following:

  • Explore the resources available at the public library in your area. Some libraries have private rooms you can reserve and may be able to loan you the equipment you need.
  • Ask friends if you can borrow equipment.
  • Rent equipment.

Dress appropriately

You should dress professionally for a virtual hiring event—the same way you would for an in-person interview. Research the company culture before your interview so you have a good idea of what’s appropriate. If you’re unsure, a button-down shirt with neutral slacks is a good option.

To look your best on camera, avoid bright colours and patterns and opt for softer colours instead. If you are wearing a tie, wear a solid colour rather than a patterned one. If you wear glasses, adjust the lighting in the room to reduce glare from the lenses.

Position the camera so that you are looking up slightly and centred on the screen. While it’s likely that the interviewer will only see your upper half, it’s still a good idea to wear professional pants or a skirt in case you need to stand up for any reason.

Video interview body language

Eye contact is very important during an in-person interview and you should convey that same level of attention during a virtual interview. Avoid the instinct to look directly at your interviewer on the screen while you’re answering a question. Instead, when you speak, direct your gaze at the webcam. When you do this, your eyes are more likely to align with the interviewer’s eyes on the other end. When you’re listening, you can look back at the screen.

Throughout the interview, maintain a good energy level and convey optimism with your body language. One way to achieve this is to have good posture. Sit in your chair with your back straight and your shoulders open. Feet can be planted on the floor and arms can rest in your lap or on the desk.

When you’re listening, nod and smile when appropriate to communicate that you’re giving them your full attention. Use hand gestures when it feels appropriate and keep your movements close to your body. Avoid fidgeting or letting your gaze drift away from the device.

Be prepared to wait

One common piece of feedback about virtual hiring events is that there can be some waiting. As the name indicates, these events are open to many people at once, and this means you may need to wait your turn to be interviewed in the virtual lobby. Typically, candidates are interviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.

To help employers get an accurate count of attendees, you should RSVP ahead of time if you can. Try to arrive a little early or as close to the virtual event start time as possible. Note that employers may not be able to meet with everyone in the available time frame. In this case, they may ask you to interview another day.

Knowing that there may be a wait, be prepared with something to do in that time, such as reading a book or magazine. Remember: you want to be in a good mood when you do meet with a potential employer. Have things that will help you stay calm, comfortable and energized in the run-up to that meeting.

Troubleshooting

With technology, there’s always a chance things could go wrong. Here are some backup plans to have ready just in case.

If your video or audio stops working:

Before the interview, ask the interviewer for a phone number where you can reach them if you experience technical difficulties. If the video cuts out, call them at that number. Ask if you can continue the interview by phone or if you can reschedule.

If noise interrupts the conversation:

If noises (sirens, construction, etc.) interrupt your video interview, apologize for the interruption and ask for a few moments until the noise has subsided. You may want to mute the microphone if the noise is severe.

If someone enters the room unexpectedly:

If family members, housemates or pets enter the room while you’re interviewing, apologize to the interviewer, ask for a few moments, mute your microphone and turn off your camera, and then step away to deal with the interruption. Make sure that the room is secure before beginning the interview again.

Follow up after the event

As you’re finishing up your conversations, ask recruiters at the virtual hiring event for their email contact. After the event, send them a follow-up email. It’s a simple, polite way to thank them for their time and it may help you stand out from other candidates they’ve met. Send a follow-up thank you email later that day (or the next day if your interview was in the evening.

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