Ever since the deadly Covid-19 pandemic hit the ground, virtual job interviews and meetings generally have become more common. The problem is that it seems we weren’t completely prepared for this kind of lifestyle, so the faster we adapt, the better.
If you have previously sat for a virtual job interview, then you probably understand the intricacies that come along with it. Some may find them easier, while for others it is more terrifying. Whichever side of the coin you belong to, you sometimes have no choice. The good thing is that virtual interviews are more convenient, plus they save you commuting time and money. Here are 7 tips for virtual job interviews:
1. Dress for success, even remotely
I know of someone who was asked to stand up during an interview, just to make sure he was fully suited up. I will not share the outcome of this ‘test’, but what is clear is that interviewers actually care about how you dress for an interview. It doesn’t matter whether you take the meeting from a study room or your bedroom. Dress to impress from head to toe if you can.
Additionally, you want to make sure your outfit looks good on camera. Try it on in front of the same platform you’ll be using for the interview. Usually, the only way to see this is to try. Avoid reflective material which may interfere with the lighting or low cut tops which may look indecent.
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2. Think about your background
Try as much as possible to have a plain-coloured background. It may seem insignificant, but the interviewers may judge you for having a couple of dolls or decorations in your background. If your background is too cluttered, it will pull the recruiter’s attention away from you. A Harvard Business Review study found that unconscious biases were less likely to creep into the decision-making process when candidates had a clean backdrop.
3. Make eye contact with the camera
Typically, making eye contact with a person makes you seem more genuine and authentic. When you look a person in the eye, you communicate confidence and belief in your point of view. So what do you do when you’re not physically in contact with them? Make eye contact with the camera. With this in mind, make sure you’ve found a comfortable distance that allows you to look straight ahead rather than down at the camera.
4. Test your technology beforehand
Technology is bound to fail every once in a while, and that’s probably why you need to test it beforehand. Check your microphone, speaker and camera, and make sure they are working well. Have a backup plan in case your internet connection goes down or there is a power outage. Keep your devices charged and have data on your phone for tethering. The interviewers will probably understand when you have a technical hitch, but it’s always better to have an instant solution for them. You may even go the extra mile of having a friend video chat with you to make sure you can hear, be heard, see and be seen.
5. Limit your distractions
It goes without saying that your job interview should not have any distractions. Turn off your TV completely, and if you have kids, make sure that they won’t be coming to the screen during the meeting. Don’t forget to inform all your housemates about your interview and request them to be silent. If your house is likely to have distractions, then arrange to have the interview at a co-working space or an extremely quiet restaurant with a good internet connection.
In the event that there’s a chance of you being interrupted by something outside of your control, mentioning it at the start can prepare your interviewer and show them you’re proactive. It can also help settle your nerves about the situation.
6. Turn off all your notifications
It’s not a good look when your phone keeps ringing or buzzing during an interview. Leave it on silent until the end. Do not have your Whatsapp web on. Notifications can be extremely distracting. Sign out of messaging services, turn on do-not-disturb in any tool you can’t close, close out of social media sites, and close any browser windows or tabs that might surprise you with an auto-play video.
7. Light up from the front of your camera
Have you found yourself in a situation where you are not visible on the webcam? It sometimes appears as a silhouette, and this is definitely not what you are after in a formal job interview. Always have your light source in front of you. If you have a ring light, this may be the perfect time to bring it out. But since many of us don’t have that privilege, the best alternative would be to place yourself facing a window to take advantage of natural light.
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