Job-seeking looks different these days. With businesses practicing social distancing as much as possible, traditional interviews have morphed into virtual exchanges, with video taking centre stage. Here are ways to master the "new normal" of virtual interviews.
Practice the "route" to avoid technical difficulties
It's common practice to drive to the location before your interview to make sure you don’t run into any issues or get lost. The same is true of a virtual interview. Make sure the appropriate software tool is downloaded, you have an account and are signed in, and you know how to use the technology. Virtual meetings can also be frustrating if they are hampered by freezing frames, lagging audio and dropped calls. Help ensure that your virtual meeting goes smoothly by asking others in your home to avoid using high-bandwidth activities like online video during the time of your interview. If wi-fi is still an issue, use hotspot data as a back-up. Many wireless carriers have added bonus hotspot data for free for the upcoming weeks.
Pay attention to your presence
During an era of working from home in casual wear, remember to dress up, look professional and be confident. Presentation matters in an interview, and in a virtual interview that includes having an uncluttered and professional background. Sit up straight and hold an upright body posture. Notice your breathing and inhale from your diaphragm, which prevents you from hunching over. Practice how you're going to present eye contact, facial gestures and even your listening. Pay attention to how you are going to carry yourself, show enthusiasm and confidently lead with skills.
Conduct a mock virtual interview
Getting confident at interviewing takes practice, and this is also true for adapting to a virtual interview format. Practice by conducting a mock interview over video. Most college career centres provide services to alumni and often have services to conduct a mock job interview, and many are offering virtual services. If this isn't available, rehearse with a friend before the interview process.
Send a timely follow-up
A timely follow-up can help highlight and reinforce your best impressions after the interview. Send an email note to recruiters saying what made you feel connected to the position and how the interviewers helped you understand the role. This can reinforce what others thought of you. You don't need to say too much to stand out in the digital flood of information.
In video format, many of the same interviewing techniques apply, while new challenges arise at the same time. Don't expect perfection - interviewers are likely going through the same struggles. But preparation to adapt to the new medium will show another layer of skill and can work in your favour.