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Ace your virtual interviews: tips to help you shine online

One reason we humans thrive as a species is our ability to adapt. (That, and our opposable thumbs…) All around the globe, we have radically adapted to life under lockdown. This has required gaining – and perfecting – whole new skillsets.

For jobseekers, this has meant getting up to speed with interviewing remotely. If you are not used to video conferencing, this can seem quite daunting.

To help you, follow our guide full of helpful insights and practical tips:

Technology 1.0

In advance, check that your computer’s audio is working and test its webcam. Download the necessary app in advance. And test it.

On the day, close any unnecessary web browser tabs and applications and switch your phone to silent mode. Make sure your headset is plugged in and your microphone and camera are activated.

Make sure that the internet connection in your preferred location is stable. Most software gives you a chance to test this in advance.


​Have a pen, notepad and a printed copy of your CV, the job description and essential skills to hand.

You should be as smart and presentable as if you were interviewing in person. Dress professionally, avoiding bright colours. If you can, trial the outfit on a video chat beforehand to ensure that the textures and patterns won’t distract an interviewer.

Unlike in-person interviews, you should not “arrive” early for the interview. Instead, join the call precisely at the appointed time

Question preparation

For many of our candidates – even those who are used to video – a huge challenge is the length of these calls. Psychologically, it may seem harder to make the same ‘human’ connection as you try to make when interviewing in person.

The emphasis is on responding as effectively and concisely as possible to questions – particularly competency questions. Take time in advance of the interview to prepare responses to competence-related questions you might be asked.

To help you, here are frequently asked competency questions:

Why do you want to work with us?

Why should we hire you?

What are your weaknesses?

Can you give an example of any specific career accomplishments?

Can you describe a situation where your experience played a crucial or leading role?

How do you handle stressful situations in the workplace?

How do you keep track of everything you are responsible for on a daily basis?

If you could be any [brand / car / author / etc], what would you be and why?

Usually, we’d advise you find a quiet, private, well-lit place, free from possible interruptions. But right now, your choices are likely to be restricted so alert your interviewer that there may be some background noise.

Ensure the background presents you in the most professional way. A white wall is always a safe bet. If you have a ‘warm coloured feature’ (for example a wooden bookshelf) in the background, that would help create a positive ambience.

Have a strong light source pointed at your face if available. If none is available, try and use natural light instead. Avoid sitting in front of a window or somewhere with a backlight.

Body language

Sit central to the camera and make eye contact, looking directly at the camera throughout the interview. When listening, nod and smile to show engagement and commitment. Use hand gestures when appropriate.

To create a good impression during interview a positive tone is essential, as this shows confidence, in addition clarity of voice will also demonstrate good communication.

Do you work in commercial insurance?

Here are the top interview questions which candidates get wrong in interviews. 

1.    Explain public authorities extension on a building’s insurance.

2.    Provide overview of three buildings insurance extensions, with claims scenario.

3.    Explain briefly the point of ownership with ex-works, FOB, CIF.

4.    Define composite insurance.

5.    Describe joint insurance first loss.

6.    What is a JCT standard form of contract.

7.    Out of the nine main sections to the JCT suite of contracts, explain three options.

8.    Difference between property owners and public liability.

9.    What type of insurer is owned by a non-insurance parent company and is established with the express purpose of providing insurance cover for the parent company’s own risks?

A.    A captive insurer.

B.    A Lloyd’s syndicate.

C.    A mutual insurer.

D.   A proprietary insurer.

10.What is IPT?

11.What is the difference between gross profit and net profit?

For further essential guides to help you through the recruitment process click here.

You can find recent vacancies click here.

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