Life as we know it changed when the pandemic was announced. Our day to day lives have been turned upside down but the good news is that humans are experts at adapting.
One way our lives have changed is how we are invited to conduct job interviews. Gone are the days of meeting in person, and welcome to the era of the virtual interview. While virtual interviews keep both parties safe when it comes to controlling the spread of COVID-19 they are no less nerve wracking than an in person interview.
Some of us may have never done a virtual interview and the first few can be scary. Here are some tips on how to present yourself during a virtual interview:
Find a quiet area in your home. The day before your interview (or a few hours before if this is a last minute interview) find the quietest area of your home for where the interview can take place.
Make sure you have a stable internet connection. Try to conduct your interview in an area closest to your internet modem.
Make sure your background is free of distractions. Try to host your interview with a blank backdrop and remove all clutter.
Make sure you are not distracted by anything. Just like you don’t want your interviewer to be distracted by your background, make sure there is nothing around that will distract you or cause your eyes to wander.
Perform a test call before to see if any background noise is detected. Call a friend or family member over the platform you will be using for the interview. Ask them if they can hear any background noise. This is also a great way to ensure your internet connection is stable.
Dress as you would for an in person interview. Just because you are in the comfort of your home does not mean the dress code is casual. Dress as you would for an in-person interview (that means shoes too). When you dress for the role of meeting in person (even though you aren’t), you will present yourself in a professional manner.
Monitor your body language. Without being able to exchange a handshake it can be hard to convey your enthusiasm. Maintain eye contact, don’t look around too much, sit up straight, nod to acknowledge what the interviewer is saying.
Practice answers to common questions. Have a friend or family member ask you common interview questions if they can, or just recite them on your own. Here are some examples:
Why did you leave your last job?
What attracted you to this job?
Why do you think you are the best candidate?
Be prepared to explain any COVID-19 precautions you are practicing. This will put employers at ease, and this is a fair question for you to ask too! Here are some things potential employers may ask you:
Are you practicing physical distancing?
Are you following our local health guidelines?
What are you doing to keep yourself safe?
Follow up after the interview. Following up shows enthusiasm and interest in the job. Send a follow up email a few hours after the interview (or the following morning if your interview is in the evening) to circle back — employers will appreciate this.
Remember, we as humans are great at adapting. As you start to do more virtual interviews they will become easier and almost like second nature — you got this!