The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes with it, including an unparalleled increase in the use of digital tools and online meetings. At Compass, we predict that digital job interviews are something that will continue to be used in the future to some degree, especially for cross-border and long-distance hiring purposes.
Therefore, we have asked our Managing Partner in Norway, Bjørn Erik Graff, to give you his best advice on what you should do in order to have the best possible online job interview experience and enhance your chances of getting the job.
First of all, prepare as you would before a physical interview by researching and preparing questions in advance. You can read our 4 things to remember when applying for your dream job if you need a refresher.
Prepare your space
We don’t care if your surroundings are messy, or if you do the interview wearing your slippers. What we do care about, is how you come across on the screen. Therefore, you need to choose your space carefully.
Keep your background clean and uncluttered
Choose a blank wall or one with a few pictures as your background. Too much clutter will pull the recruiter’s attention away from you and your sales pitch. If you’re not able to find a blank background, go for a simple virtual background instead.
Know your lighting
Let the recruiter see you in the best possible light – both literally and symbolically. Keep a source of light in front of you instead of behind you in order to avoid looking like a silhouette. If possible, use cool rather than warm light in order to give off a modern, clean look.
Make sure you’re not disturbed
Sit somewhere you won’t be disturbed or distracted during your interview. Ask your roommates or family to stay out of the room, while you are interviewing, and keep your phone on mute. The job interview is no less formal just because it takes place on a screen, and the recruiter expects your full attention.
Make sure you’re ready for everything
During virtual job interviews, you may encounter some unexpected situations that you need to prepare for.
Become an expert in the platform
Whatever platform (Microsoft Teams, Zoom etc.) is chosen for the interview, you need to master it. You will look unprofessional and waste valuable time if you experience problems with sound or video, that you could easily have avoided. So, if you don’t already have it, download the interface and practise making calls with family members or friends. This way, the risk of you doing a whole interview upside down is much lower.
Make a single page with bullet points highlighting your most relevant projects and achievements, making it easy for you to remember your most important keywords. But keep in mind, you should only refer to them minimally and never read aloud from them. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.
Take a deep breath
If you suddenly feel overwhelmed or stressed during the interview, you can always ask the recruiter for a moment to gather yourself and take a deep breath. Chances are, the interviewer will appreciate your ability to keep calm under pressure instead of beginning to fumble.
Keep yourself in mind
Now that you have most of the external factors under control, it’s time to take a look at how you present yourself. If the following things don’t come to you naturally, you should rehearse them.
Not need to monitor how fast or slow you speak. Don’t talk so slowly that the recruiter falls asleep, nor so fast he/she fails to keep up with you and loses interest. Many people begin to speak faster, when they are nervous, making it even more important to practise this. If you keep a steady, normal pace and take time to pause before important points, you will connect better with your interviewer as well as radiate confidence.
Remember to use your hands
It’s easy to forget your hands, when you are sitting in front of a screen, but studies show that candidates, who do well at virtual interviews, use their hands frequently during their interviews to emphasize points or show feelings. Your body language impact what you say and how you come across. For example, you can connect more easily with the recruiter, if your posture is open and inviting and you don’t cross your arms.
Look at the webcam, not yourself
Eye contact is the first step to building trust. Place yourself close to the screen, no more than 0.5 metres, and make sure your head and shoulders dominate the screen. Instead of looking at yourself, when you talk, you should look directly into the webcam, thus giving the recruiter an impression of eye contact. If you find it difficult to do, it can be helpful to turn off the video mirroring, so you’re not able to see yourself.
For better or worse, virtual interviews and remote hiring are here to stay. By remembering these tips, you improve your chances significantly of landing your dream job online.
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