If the last couple months have taught us anything, it’s that we must be equipped to succeed in a digital world. While office encounters may have halted, job opportunities haven’t! Here are Top Shelf’s top tips for success in your next virtual job interview:
1. Preparation is key
Leading up to the interview: Do. Your. Research. Know the company you are applying for inside and out. This will show not only your preparedness, but your dedication, desire and passion to work for the company.
First impressions count, so dress to impress… on your top half at least (we won’t tell if you’re still wearing PJ pants)! A crisp button up or blazer go a long way in asserting professionalism.
Your surrounding environment is just as important – a messy office or overly distracting background can take away from your presentation. A well-lit room with an uncluttered background will do the trick (although a couple of plants never hurt anybody)! Do yourself a favour and minimise distractions; leave the dog in another room, redirect the postman in advance and remind those you live with not to disturb you… you’ll thank us later.
Don’t stop there. You need to prep your tech just as much as you prep yourself. It’s no secret that technology is an unpredictable and notoriously unreliable beast. Test your microphone, camera and internet connection 15 minutes before your interview. If you’re unfamiliar with the video interview platform (Zoom, Teams, etc.), give it a test run with a friend or family member the night before to familiarise yourself. Take every measure to ensure your computer doesn’t steal the spotlight from your shining moment.
2. Rewriting the communication playbook
Virtual meetings have completely shaken up how we communicate – eye contact and body language are now confined to the dimensions of a screen and your camera’s capability. When speaking, look at someone’s face on your screen rather than the camera lens for the most natural demeanour. And those hand gestures and firm handshakes? Redirect these through a confident attitude, straight posture and polished presentation.
To avoid those awkward audio delays, always leave a moment or two after someone talks to ensure you don’t interrupt someone. Headphones are another great way to ensure your voice is picked up in the microphone as fast as possible.
3. Make the most of your environment
As painful as virtual interviews may be, there are a couple of cheeky hacks that you may as well make the most of. Sticky notes are your new best friend – use them for little titbits of information you may normally forget, or as positive reminders and words of encouragement you can stick on your screen (but less is more).
The benefits of interviewing from the comfort of your own home are just that – you’re in your own home! Take a couple of moments the morning of your interview to take some deep breaths and get in the zone. Don’t forget a glass of water and charger for your interview space. Make the most of the comfort afforded with interviews in your own space.
4. Leave them thinking
Be proactive during your interview. Ask questions. Spark conversations. Find common interests and don’t be afraid to laugh! The recruiter will appreciate your enthusiasm and sincerity.
These are challenging times but taking the initiative to ace your online interview will set you apart from the rest and equip you for an everchanging digital work-reality (pants optional)!