Published April 6, 2021
How to master your next job interview, virtually
Mastering a job interview is all about making a great impression and showcasing your experience and talent. This can be daunting enough in person but with many professional interactions such as job interviews moving online due to Covid-19 making a stellar impression virtually can be even more challenging. Not only do you have the interview itself to think about but also your video call etiquette and how you come across virtually. These simple tips will get you prepped for that interview and will ensure you put your best foot forward, despite the obstacles.
Making sure your video call software works for your interview is just as important as showing up on time so ensure your tech is up to scratch. There’s nothing worse than trying to have an important conversation with someone when their audio isn’t clear and vital information can get lost in translation, or just lost altogether. Ask a friend or family member to jump on a video call with you well ahead of your interview so you can check everything is working and resolve any tech issues.
Curate your space
Not all of us are lucky enough to have a fancy home office but that doesn’t mean you can’t make the best of what you have. Having clutter-free surroundings is very important on a virtual interview as you don’t want your prospective employer to be distracted by anything in your background and you want to give a good impression (FYI, laundry or an unmade bed in the background of your shot doesn’t give a good impression). If you don’t have an office set up your shot in a clutter-free area of your home, preferably with a neutral background and natural light. Having a bookshelf or a piece of art in your background is a nice touch and may also provide a talking point to break the ice.
Remember the importance of on-verbal information
It can be said that the way we present ourselves is just as important as what we say when making a positive first impression. Body language, mannerisms, tone of voice and the way we dress are what are known as thin slices of non-verbal behaviour and can have a huge impact on how people view us. Studies have even shown that these can have an impact on the likely hood of you getting the job.
Don’t let the fact that you’re not physically in the room with your prospective employer negatively impact your body language and how you present yourself. In fact, body language is more important than ever as it’s so much more obvious to the viewer when you become disinterested or distracted on screen. Sure, you’re in your own home and you want to look comfortable and at ease but you wouldn’t slump over your desk or cross your arms in a face to face interview so make sure you don’t do it on camera. Make sure you respond to what is being said with your body language by making eye contact, nodding in agreement etc. And, of course, remember to dress for the occasion. Leave your loungewear for another day and throw on some smart workwear that probably hasn’t seen the light of day in a while!
Prepare as you usually would
It’s tempting to have tabs of important information open on your computer to refer back to when being interviewed virtually but in reality, it doesn’t work. It’ll be evident to your interviewer that you’re reading off the screen, making you look ill-prepared, and will be distracting to you. It’s unlikely that you would read from notes in a face-to-face interview so don’t do it in a virtual one. Ensure you have prepared well in the usual ways. Research the company or organisation, go over your CV and application beforehand, prepare answers to any likely questions etc.
…And always have questions to ask
It’s the golden rule of interviews but it’s so often forgotten. You always want to show prospective employers that you’re invested in the process, the prospect of the role and of course the company so have a bank of questions you can ask them at the end of the interview. Check out our top questions to ask a job interview and why here.
Chances are your prospective employer will have interviewed multiple people in one day over video calls so stand out from the crowd by sending a follow-up email within 24 hours. In the email, you can thank the interviewer for their time and let them know that you’re available to answer any additional questions they may have. Making contact in this way will keep you fresh in their head, set a positive and professional tone for you as a candidate and will let them know that you’re enthusiastic about the role.
As we have adapted our working lives to the repercussions of Covid-19, interview processes have followed suit. While we have adapted these processes to suit the new normal ultimately, the goal of any job interview has stayed the same, to make a great impression. It’s a little more difficult to do this virtual but it’s definitely not impossible. Follow these simple tips and you will master that virtual job interview.