Tips for successful virtual interviews
Congratulations if you have scored an interview over the Covid-19 period! It is possible that your interview may be in person if all social distancing rules are applied but more than likely, you may be invited to attend a virtual interview via Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype or other virtual applications. Here are some things to keep in mind to make virtual interviewing a breeze!
Ensure that you have practiced your responses to typically asked questions and for some unexpected ones as well! Be prepared to comment on why you are job searching at this time with a carefully prepared Reason for Leaving Statement and some up to date research and information about the organization you are applying to. In addition, have some insight into how the Covid situation could have specifically affected their business, which will show that you are up to date and understand the challenges they may be facing.
Find an appropriate space and background
When you are conducting a virtual interview, it becomes even more crucial to have a space that is conducive. Not only does this convey professionalism, but a space that isn’t well thought out can prove to be distracting and detract from your interview, no matter how well you perform. Ensure that you set up your computer camera ahead of time and check that you have a neutral background with minimal personal items. Avoid too much, “busyness,” happening in the background in the form of loud colours, either too bright or too dark lighting, and too many pictures or movement. Remember, the focus should be on you and your answers. Also choose a setting with as little background noise as possible. Using noise cancelling headphones or earpiece are good options to consider.
When being interviewed virtually, it becomes even more important to ensure that you are dressed professionally. Although your viewing party may only see what is visible via screen, it is important that your entire outfit is professional so that you feel and project professionalism. Be thoughtful about colours and lighting so that you appear at your absolute best.
Be aware of body language
When you attend interviews in person, there is the added benefit of proximity that can help to establish rapport. Many people report being more relaxed and comfortable at in person interviews where they can read and respond to body language. In the absence of physical proximity, be extra careful to minimize distracting body language such as fidgeting or expansive hand movements. Focus on conveying enthusiasm; remember to smile, (a smiley face sticky note on the side of your monitor might serve as a good reminder) and maintain eye contact by looking into your camera or just below it.
Don’t forget to follow up and say thank you
Just because you didn’t end the interview with a handshake does not mean the rules of etiquette don’t apply. Ensure that you follow up all your conversations, from phone screenings to Zoom interviews, with a thank you email.