The ‘new normal’ we are learning to love in these past few months is to roll out of the bed, switch on the laptop, and attend the Zoom calls. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our lives are moving online and companies are also making their hiring decisions based on virtual interviews. Online interviews are time saving and cost effective but some candidates hate the stressful situations to keep looking at the webcam and not to panic over typical interview questions. Don’t you dare think about ruling out a virtual interview just because you are not comfortable. Simply follow the below mentioned tips for an online interview and stand out from the rests.
It is advised that at least a day before the virtual interview, you have tested the technology that you will be using to connect with the potential employer. It will require either a computer or a smartphone, a software (Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, FaceTime or Google Meet) and a reliable internet connection. Check everything beforehand, get comfortable with the software and ensure your device is working properly.
2. Determine the perfect interview location
A perfect spot for an online interview is where the lighting is perfect and the background is generic. Especially, for first time interviews, ensure that you are looking confident and prepared with a proper setup. So, control the lighting; there should be not any shadows or glare on your face. Diffused lighting is fit for the purpose. You can even sit near a window for natural lighting, set the camera angle in a way that you visible above your waist. Besides, create or choose a professional looking background. A plain wall or a staged official background is advised.
3. Shut out all the distractions
Outside noises, sound disruptions, echo, or notifications on your phone or computer may distract you during the video interview. Portray yourself prepared and focused during the interview to successfully grab the next big opportunity for your professional growth. Ensure to shut out all the distractions which might interrupt the conversation.
4. Join the scheduled meetings early
Hiring experts suggest that you should arrive at the interview spot 15 minutes earlier than the scheduled time. The same principle goes with online interviews, where you should be logging into the video calls at least 15 minutes before the scheduled time, especially when you are about to make an international video call. If you are going to use the software (Zoom, FaceTime, Google Meet, Skype, or GoToMeeting) for the first time, it is always a good idea to log in early to get comfortable with the technology.
5. Make good impressions with your appearance
Your attire shouldn’t be flashy or suggestive. Dress professionally, check yourself on the screen and make sure your appearance is making a good impression. Remind yourself to sit in an upright position and maintain engaging body language throughout the interview. You can lean on a bit, but don’t slouch on the computer table. Even if you are giving the interview over a phone call, try to transmit your confidence and energy with your voice.
6. Look straight up in the camera
You must have known the importance of eye contact for a face-to-face interview. In the virtual environment, things go a little tricky, when you need to resist the urge of looking at the monitor during the video call. You should be looking directly into the camera so that person on the other side of the screen could make eye contact with you. It sounds difficult, but you can practice it with your friends during a mock interview.
7. Avoid weird situations
Virtual interviews are conducted on screens so make sure you are prepared for glitches, note-taking and communication gap. Ensure that you listen carefully the first time so you don’t have to interrupt the interviewer. Besides, note taking is a good practice to get reminded of critical points and highlights, but keep in mind continuous note taking also looks weird on screen. Have a backup plan if there are any glitches and overlapping sounds to avoid situations, which might trigger your weaknesses or interview anxieties.
8. Be authentic
Indeed, it is the most common advice to just relax and try not to be someone else during an interview. Shake off those nerves and try to be a genuine candidate. You have landed yourself on a job interview, so you are already halfway there. Now is the time when you showcase your strengths; your authentic self; and simply do not feel tongue-tied because probably you are overdoing the effort of looking like the most eligible candidate.
9. Establish a bond
Conversation using technology may feel flat and stilted. To overcome the lack of physical proximity, try to be expressive and build a connection. Don’t just focus on your smile, nod and body language, try to pay attention to the interviewer as well. Pick up the cues, try to sound conversational, establish a connection by talking on a neutral topic or a common interest.
10. Prepare some interview questions
You should not look like you are over-prepared for the interview, but hiring experts suggest that you do your homework by preparing for at least five issues other than the common interview questions. Mostly, at the end of the interviews, candidates are required to ask some questions, this is the moment when you can showcase your preparations and dedication towards the job opening.
11. Follow up
Last but certainly not the least. When the interview is about to end, seeking permission for a follow up is the perfect tactic to showcase your interest in the organization. But you should be showing your interest in a low-key manner so that you don’t look desperate for the job. Try patience, send a brief thank you note few days after the interview to remind the organization that you are interested.
Zoom calls are not just a buzzword, in fact, virtual interviews are becoming increasingly common in the hiring world. Given the convenience and economic benefits of latest conferencing technologies like Zoom, FaceTime, Google Meet, Skype, and GoToMeeting, it is most likely that virtual interviews are going to be the new norm. So, calm your nerves, follow the tips mentioned in this post, and prepare yourself optimally for success.