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Globally, COVID-19 has seen much of the workforce move from physical, face-to-face interaction to the virtual, online world.
As a result, recruiters and hiring managers are requiring candidates to get organised and prepared quick-smart, ensuring they are set up with the right technology, connections and etiquette to be able to conduct a job interview virtually.
FaceTime, Facebook Messenger and even Instagram Live and Stories have helped us to grow accustomed to communicating via screens (mainly on our mobile phones or tablets).
But while we stick to our social distancing and self-isolation for the foreseeable future, there are numerous considerations to be across when you need to conduct an online job interview.Importantly, just because you are not physically present does not make the interview any less formal.
So what are the common platforms used by recruiters and hiring managers when you can’t physically meet at an office or worksite?
It’s important to be familiar with these popular video interview platforms:● Skype● Zoom● Google Hangouts● Microsoft Teams
A simple Google or YouTube search can provide you with a quick introduction, tour and tutorial of how these platforms work. By doing so, you’ll avoid any additional stress that comes with navigating new technology – you’re dealing with enough pressure for the interview as it is.
Ahead of the interview, make sure you’re well prepared and ready to go. Here’s what to consider.
Check connection, lag, microphone, volume, lighting and outside noise. If you already know the platform that will be used for the video interview, create an invite with a friend, and test to make sure the link or app opens up and connects successfully.
Your interview attire should be what you would otherwise wear to a face-to-face interview. Some candidates think that just because they’re at home means they can stay casually dressed. That will not bode well with the recruiter or hiring manager. At the same time, only dressing your top half should be done with caution – people have been known to stand up or grab a glass of water, only to reveal they are not appropriately dressed for their bottom half.
You may get a dry throat from talking and getting up to leave the interview is not only rude but it will ruin the momentum.
A video interview from home means taking notes or referring to your CV and list of questions is generally acceptable, as long as you’re not fully relying on them or causing you to forget to interact.
Once you’re set up and ready to go, keep these tips in mind to perform your best during the interview.
Have you ever noticed the slight lag on video calls? That’s usually caused by low signal strength on either end, and can lead to awkward moments as each person tries to speak over the other. To help the conversation flow smoothly, wait a beat longer than you usually would before you speak – otherwise your interviewer might not have finished their sentence.Show you’re engaged and try to make a connection
Natural physical cues are diminished due to screens. Show engagement by nodding your head or responding every few minutes. You will otherwise appear bored or not focusing on the discussion. Also find a way to establish rapport so that the video interview is not so clinical.
It may feel strange staring at the little dot of your webcam, however you will come across as more engaged with the interviewer. Looking into the camera ensures the person conducting the interview feels like you’re making eye contact. On the flipside, it’s easy to get caught up staring at your own reflection on the screen which can make you seem aloof. If seeing yourself is going to be a distraction, try covering up your image with a sticky note.
The key is to make your home, or wherever you’re conducting the interview, appear as professional as possible. That means setting yourself up in a room free of clutter. You don’t want a bunch of family photos or your favourite artwork distracting the interviewer – keep a clear background to keep the focus on you. Additionally, test out different lighting options until you find the one that works best. It looks better when you’re facing a light source – if the light is behind you, you’ll be hidden in shadow.
Turning your phone on silent is just the beginning – think about anything else that could distract you during your interview. Shut down any internet tabs that might grab your attention and turn off email alerts. If you live with other people, make sure they know not to disturb you, and to be quiet. If you have a noisy pet, move it to another room.
Do you have contact details for your interviewer? These are essential in case of any technological mishaps. An added bonus is that you have an email address to send a polite follow up and thank you message a few days after your interview.
Of course, not all virtual interviews are by video – some job interviews are conducted by phone as well. Although phone interviews are sometimes scheduled in advance, they can also happen out of the blue – so it’s best to be prepared and answer the phone professionally at all times.
Here are our top tips on how to interview over the phone and prepare for a phone interview.How to prepare for a phone interview
Just like a face-to-face interview, it’s important to prepare talking points about your key strengths and weaknesses, and to research the company ahead of time. With that in mind, do the following:
When the time comes, follow these tips for a successful phone interview:
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