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How to ace your virtual psychology job interview

Published on: 13 Nov 2023

Covid-19 may feel like a long time ago now, but many of the changes we made during the pandemic have remained.

In recruitment terms, that probably means your next job interview for your psychology role is going to be remote.

That means no traffic, not having to take annual leave (probably), and interviewing from the comfort of your own home. Brilliant?

There are some tricky issues to navigate, though.

Whilst you’ll still need to take the usual steps to prepare for the interview, you’ll also have to think about Zoom skills, Wi-Fi connection and where in your home to join the call.

Plus, it’s going to be harder to gauge your employer’s culture and values if you’re not visiting the building.

Most importantly, though, not being in a room with your interviewer means you’ll have to work that bit harder to hold their interest. 

For our top tips on how to up your virtual game and ace that interview for your dream psychology role, read on.

1.    Dress to impress 

Whatever your employer’s dress code, and however you define business casual, it still makes a good impression to dress smartly in an interview.

Look comfortable, but look sharp, and groom as you would as if you were meeting them in-person.

2.    Set up your background

Your background also matters.

Try to limit the ‘visual noise’ of your background. If possible, find a blank wall or a room without distracting clutter. If that’s tough, you can always choose a simple virtual background.

Make sure the light source isn’t behind you. And have a word with your housemates (or your neighbour’s cat) to try to keep distractions to a minimum.

3.    Master the platform

You’re probably fairly comfortable with video calls already.

But if you’re not sure how you come across, set up a practice session with a friend and ask them to be honest.

If you talk at a good clear pace and look like you’re actively listening, you’ll increase your chances of being heard and warmed-to.

Rehearse using the platform beforehand.

Make sure the settings are right, test your broadband connection and try the link at least 15 minutes before the interview starts.

You won’t get any brownie points for ‘arriving’ early, but make sure you’re ready to join at the start time on the button.

During the interview, just like in a face-to-face context, eye contact is crucial. That means looking at your webcam, not at your yourself. Consider turning off video mirroring to learn good habits.

4.    Build rapport

It’s a hard truth, but virtual interviews are usually duller than face to face ones. According to Harvard Business Review research “Your main challenge during the interview itself will be keeping the conversation lively.”

You won’t get the handshake you would in a face-to-face interview so look for other ways to be personable and establish rapport as the call begins.

During the interview, ask questions which spark conversations and find shared interests or passions. This could mean connecting with the interviewers about previous psychology events you’ve attended, CPD courses you’ve completed or your psychology degree at university. 

Be animated in your delivery - sitting up straight and ‘talking with your hands’ will help.

Remember to be attentive, so you’re not missing social cues.

And, whilst a ‘cheat sheet’ of notes is a good idea, keep them brief and clear so you’re not visibly distracted when you look at them.

Good luck finding your job in psychology

Don’t forget to do all the preparation you’d do for a face-to-face interview for a psychology role. That includes planning answers to commonly asked questions, researching the company or organisation, and reviewing the job description and any other documents they’ve sent you.

Find your next role in psychology today.