Workers around the world are feeling the heat of COVID-19. Although it may seem like the job market is slowing down, many employers and businesses are scaling up. Industries that provide essential services are growing their teams to better support our communities. Tons of businesses are also operating remotely which means that finding a new job isn’t as hard as it may seem. The biggest change: job searches are moving to the digital world.
In the spirit of social distancing, employers and recruiters are opting to interview potential candidates virtually. How great is it to do job interviews from the comfort of your home?! There’s no need to wear pants and you definitely won’t be late! Right? Not exactly. Employers are still taking job interviews seriously and so should you. While virtual interviews may seem less formal than traditional interviews, properly preparing to ace it is just as important.
set the scene
A major difference between an in-person interview and a virtual interview is the environment. When you visit a potential employer, you get the chance to assess the work environment: does it seem friendly, inclusive, and open? In a virtual interview, your employer can draw conclusions about your abilities as a worker based on your space. Before hopping on a video call, consider what your space says about you. Is there clutter in the background? Are there questionable photos or posters hanging on the wall? Are there disruptive noises? For a successful interview, you need to set the stage. Pick a well-lit space, remove distracting elements from your background, organize your desk, and get a good set of headphones if you need them. The chance to make a good first impression is completely up to you!
test your tech
There is nothing worse than spending the first few minutes of your job interview asking “can you hear me?” Take some time before your scheduled interview to ensure that your tech is functioning properly. Call a friend or family member for a trial run. Make sure your internet connection is strong. Focus on video and sound quality. Check for things like choppy audio, pixelated image, and delays in transmission. Testing your equipment beforehand will give you the time to fix what you can or adapt to the situation. If you do experience technical difficulties, consider moving to a room where the internet connection is better. If push comes to shove, you can kindly request a telephone interview instead of a video conference call. The key is to be proactive.
dress for success
We know you’re thinking it: dress shirt on the top and sweatpants on the bottom. This may seem like the ideal virtual interview outfit, but it might not be the one that gives you the most confidence. Think about how you dress for an in-person interview. You wear something that makes you feel professional, strong, and amazing. How you feel about yourself often translates to how you perform in an interview setting, so make an effort to plan your interview outfit from head to toe. We don’t advocate going too far in the opposite direction either. A full suit-and-tie combo in your bedroom is not the most realistic or authentic look. Find the perfect balance between professional and comfortable by opting for a nice shirt or sweater on top and dress slacks on the bottom. Let’s face it, you don’t want to accidentally flash your sweatpants.
pay attention to social queues
When it comes to communication, body language plays a big role. Nonverbal cues like physical behaviour, facial expressions, and mannerisms direct the conversation when you’re face to face with someone, but are less obvious through a screen. In a virtual interview, you need to pay closer attention to social cues to keep the discussion comfortable and productive. Notice things like eye contact and nodding. This will give you an idea if your interviewer is engaged or distracted. Pay attention to pauses in speech. Those will be your cue to jump in with a comment or question. Nonverbal communication doesn’t come as naturally in a virtual conversation, so be extra attentive to how you present yourself. Sit up straight, keep your eyes focused on the conversation, and try not to fidget. With a little mindfulness, you can overcome the limitations of a digital discussion.
send a thank you email
Once you’ve wrapped up the interview and changed back into your pajamas, write a quick thank you email. A virtual job interview is still a job interview, so following common social courtesies can help you land that job. Take this opportunity to highlight why you’re a great candidate, but keep it short and sweet. Remember, you’re expressing your gratitude not making a sales pitch. Match the tone of your email to the tone of your conversation. Was the interview more formal and structured? Keep your email professional. On the other hand, if you had a casual chat with your interviewer, then don’t hesitate to throw in a few informal exclamation points.
Regardless of the format, your potential employer is still trying to decide whether or not you would be a good fit for their team and their company. Treat your virtual job interview with the same respect and attention you would an in-person interview. Take the necessary steps to prepare and you will feel cool and confident during your call.