As the coronavirus health pandemic wages on, the outbreak is creating long-lasting changes to the way we live and work, both out of necessity and desire. As business leaders recognize that employees can work relatively easily from home and do so productively, we are seeing a shift as most executives are encouraging remote work. As the workplace is changing rapidly, so is the process of getting a job. The new norm is virtual interviewing, via video conference. For those of you unaccustomed to video interviews, here are 5 tips to consider as you prepare for your first one or your next one.
#1 Test your technology
Similar to an in-person interview, get as much information about the video interview ahead of time. Ask your hiring manager or recruiter how the interview will be conducted? In particular, find out if there is a specific conferencing tool that the firm uses. After you confirm the video platform they use (e.g. Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts or FaceTime), download the software and take it for a test run. Also, test your connection speed and ensure your video microphone is set to a reasonable volume.
Remember, however, if your technology glitches during the interview, take a deep breath and get back on-line. This is an opportunity to showcase a wonderful soft skill – calmness under pressure. Once you are back on-line, apologize for the delay and move on with the interview.
#2 Dress the Part
Since you are video interviewing from home, it might feel reasonable to wear whatever you want for the interview. You aren’t leaving the house, right? Even though you may be sitting near your bed for the interview, you definitely shouldn’t look like you just rolled out of it. You don’t need to wear a suit, but you should dress “business casual.” This may mean a button-up shirt, blazer, and chinos while women may consider a blouse and blazer. Dressing up highlights your interest in the job. Additionally, studies have shown that people feel more competent when wearing formal business attire.
#3 Choose your interview space wisely
The downside of the video interview is that it gives interviewers a sneak peek into your personal life. As a result, make sure your space is free of clutter and distraction. Ideally, you should select a well-lit space with a neutral background, preferably near a window or a lamp. Be sure to log-in for your interview five minutes early and make any last-minute adjustments based on what you see on the camera.
#4 Connections make long-lasting impressions
During any interview (whether it is in-person or virtual), you want to be yourself. Ultimately, this is best for both you and your future employer, because ideally, you both want a good cultural fit. However, with that being said, it is important to make a connection with the person interviewing you. Don’t be afraid to chit-chat about a common interest for a minute or two. The recruiter might enjoy this break from the routine questions they plan to ask. Don’t force it though; it’s not always easy to connect with everyone, but if you can, it will set you apart from a candidate that has equal skills as you.
#5 Follow-up Right Away
Just like an in-person interview, it is critical that you follow-up within 24 hours of your interview. Send a thank you email to everyone that interviewed you. Nothing has changed on the thank you email front. Remember to highlight something you discussed during your interview: maybe something you connected on or even a challenge you could help their firm overcome. Following up shows interest and keeps you top-of-mind.
Mastering the art of the virtual interview make take time, but give yourself some space as you adjust to this new way of acquiring a job. As a final take away, remember that communicating confidence is a key so sit up straight, smile and make eye contact with the camera.
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