I have some good news and some bad news.
The bad news? Interviews are taking increased steps. One in-person interview and then you have your answer is a thing of the past. We are looking at a minimum of 2 interviews for most positions.
The good news? You will likely get involved in the remote interviewing process. The remote process takes form in one of three ways.
- A phone interview – usually a screening interview with basic questions such as ‘Why are you interested in this position? What are your strengths? What are your weaknesses?’
- A recorded video interview – this interview type has prepopulated questions you record yourself answering then submit your video for review
- A virtual interview – these are typically hosted via video conferencing and what this post is going to focus on today.
Why is remote interviewing good news? Think of it like a sport. Some teams just play better on their home turf. You might feel much more comfortable speaking to someone out of the comfort of your home versus going into a new building and meeting with strangers face to face.
But going virtual doesn’t mean it is any less formal than an in-person interview. I’m here to give you some tips on how to prepare for a virtual interview so you can maximize your success.
Tip 1: Practice
Practice, practice, and then practice some more. Have mock interviews with your friends and family and the mirror. Record yourself answering mock questions and then do a playback looking for these areas of improvement.
Are you talking too fast or slow? – The average speech is approximately 115 words per minute. There is a lengthy process to figuring out how fast you are actually talking, but, as I said, it’s lengthy. A simple method is to ask whoever is performing the mock interview how your speech rate is and if you are easily understood.
Are you looking at the camera or yourself on screen? – When you have a virtual interview, it will be tempting to look at the person on the screen, but that makes it seem like you are looking down. This is where it all gets a little tricky because when looking at the camera, you are ‘making eye contact’ but you can’t watch the other person’s reactions. You are safest doing a combination of the two. Practice by hosting a video conference with someone so you can find a good balance of looking into the camera and watching the interviewer
Are you using body language? – According to a study done by The Harvard Review “89% of successful candidates used wide hand gestures for big and exciting points, while moving their hands closer to their heart when sharing personal reflections.” If you aren’t one to talk with your hands, consider getting in the habit.
Tip 2: Prepare Your Space
Decide where you are going to take the interview in your home. Set up your computer or phone and sit down as though it is interview time. Now, look around the screen. Do you have a fan blade coming out the top of your head? What on earth is that on the wall behind you!? Do you have adequate lighting so your face can easily be seen?
Keep it simple when preparing your space. A clear wall or one with few décor is ideal as we want to keep the recruiter’s attention on you, not on your background.
Make sure you have decent lighting. I find natural sunlight works best is you are facing a window, not having the window at your back. Ring lights or a lamp with the shade removed placed behind your screen is another viable option.
One aspect of your space you might not have considered is your actual internet. Are you in a spot where the bars go down just a touch? Test your speed where you plan to interview because slow internet speed = poor communication. You can simply Google “Internet Speed Test” to do so, and make sure you are checking both your download and upload speed. Download will be how well you are getting a connection and upload is how well you are sending your video.
Tip 3: Be Professional and Confident
Since you are working out of your home for a virtual interview, it might be tempting to show up in sweats with a coffee in hand. DO NOT DO THIS.
Other quick tips to be professional and confident include:
- No food or drink during your interview. You wouldn’t bring in a bag of McDonald’s to an in-person interview, so why are you thinking about eating during a virtual one?
- Wear professional attire from your head to your toes. Why not just a nice shirt and some boxers? We’ve all seen the videos where people stand up to shut the door after someone barges in only to discover they’ve got shorts on with their suit jacket. Plus, when you dress for the part, you’ll feel more confident and professional, keeping you on your best behavior.
- Know your technology. No matter which platform the interviewer is using, take some time to practice using it so you don’t have any issues when it’s show time.
- Take a deep breath (or 2) and roll your shoulders back and down before you join the meeting. You might not realize how anxious you are until you do these two things that are instant de-stressors.
- Show up on time, ideally 5 minutes early. There are virtual waiting rooms you can hang out in and double check your camera, network connection, and background.
Ready to land more interviews?
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