• S. Parris

Virtual Interviews 101 #COVIDSeries

As the pandemic continues to change our everyday lifestyles, society is readjusting some everyday tasks to be "COVID friendly"; including the interview process. Although many companies are back in business and the job market is in a much better place than it was in April, they're coming back with a brand new way of getting to know candidates. In my last post, I spoke briefly about the steps to get an interview using virtual networking & LinkedIn, but what happens next?


So, let's say you applied for your dream job using your SP Careers® resumé (let's just call it a dream job because I don't think any of us truly dream of labor), you aced your phone interview, and now your next step is an interview via video conference. If this is your first interview post-pandemic, you might have a bunch of questions around how this works. We're used to physical contact being the gateway to creating a lasting impression with interviewers (i.e. firm handshakes, eye contact, posture), so how are we going to make that personable connection on Zoom?


How to Dress


Although in video interviews the interviewer is mostly only seeing your upper half, dress professionally the same way you would for an in-person interview. Avoid bright colors and patterns, and stick to classic attire. With that being said, I know many candidates may feel comfortable wearing pajama pants or sweatpants on the bottom, but I highly suggest putting on a full ensemble in the event of unforeseen circumstances where you might have to stand up abruptly or possibly have a camera malfunction. Rather safe than sorry. Also, being that virtual interviews are so focused on only your face, make sure you are not wearing any distracting jewelry or make up; unless you're interviewing for a position in the cosmetic industry.


Body Language


One of the most important aspects of an interview is making appropriate eye contact with the interviewer. The best way to show the illusion of "eye" contact, is to look directly into your webcam when speaking & answering questions. This will create the appearance that you're eye-level with your interviewer, instead of watching yourself on the screen. In addition to eye-contact, posture is also very important. Being that you could possibly be interviewing from the comfort of your home, you do not want to look too comfortable; meaning: Don't slouch on a bed or couch, sit up at a table if possible in a well lit & quiet area. Avoid distractions from family members, pets, and televisions during this time and mute yourself when you aren't speaking to cancel out any possible background noise.

Make sure to show you're actively listening throughout the interview by nodding when necessary, smiling and looking at the screen. They'll mostly only see your face, so don't be afraid to smile and use your face expressions to your advantage. With that being said, avoid any fidgety movements such as nail biting, playing with your hair, or leaning on your knuckles.


Preparedness


Now, while there are some things we cannot prevent; such as connectivity issues, being as prepared as possible will cause less inconvenience if such things happen.

~ Check your connection prior to your interview

~ Set up your laptop, phone or tablet in an area that will be least likely to have distractions or interruptions

~ Prior to your interview, email the person you're interviewing with providing them with an alternative phone number in the event you get disconnected


Ultimately, most interviewers understand and respect the challenges that come with navigating from home because they're also adjusting. But looking prepared and professional will make you stand out the most! Remember to ask questions & it doesn't hurt to practice answering some interview questions in your camera to get used to the concept.


Good luck!