While we all reel under the lockdown, pandemic fear, and the current call for social distancing, it’s likely that your next interview could be a video or a telecon interview. While most Indians spent hours on the phone every day, not everyone understands the dynamics and rules of virtual professional calls. Post the COVID phase there will be a large shift of companies who will encourage virtual work setups, hence during your interview, you are not only being evaluated for your skills, competencies, your past achievements, and future capabilities but also your ability to contribute virtually and the ability to showcase the same in the event that you are hired. Plus, we all know that interviews are like first dates, first impressions count.
So how do you reflect all this, in a span of 30 minutes or less, in the absence of your most confident smile, firm handshakes, and professional body language?
It begins with your Resume getting shortlisted. It’s the most critical milestone. If you haven’t written your resume well, you don’t get a shot at the interview. Typically, employers sift through one CV in 10 seconds at the most. So how can your resume talk in those 10 seconds? A relevant headline, keywords, your experience, and passion that is in line with the employers' vision and the role can help you get shortlisted. Prepare your CV with the armor of research. It may also pay to bring out your experience in remote working infrastructure as employers may be looking for people who can delivery remotely even when the lockdown is eventually lifted.
So your interview date and time is set, all you need to do is set up an alarm and wear a nice dress or shirt, right? wrong!
It’s a blunder to not prepare for the virtual interview. If you haven’t taken care of the obvious, chances are you will not be selected despite your knowledge and capability.
Here’s a checklist of things you must do before your online interview so that you ‘Shine Online’:
Dress as if you were interviewing in person, from head to toe (including shoes) Sit in a professional environment like a chair and table. If that’s not possible and all you’ve got is a bedside or a sofa, ensure you keep the laptop or phone on a table so that it doesn’t move. Invest in a headphone or earphone so that you can eliminate all background noise. And make sure the lighting is right.
Want to make it onto an interviewer’s nightmare list? It's easy, keep the door to distraction and technology glitches open. Therefore, connect on a test call with a friend or family and check how loud your A.C. or fan is or how fast in the bandwidth. Make sure you tell your family/roommates to not use the internet at that time, so that you get full bandwidth and that they don’t disturb you as well.
A lot of people assume all technologies are the same, they are not! Employers have moved beyond skype and zoom. So get a sense of the platform that is going to be used, download and test it well before time. The time available for the interview should not be spent fixing technical glitches. One of the students in my webinar shared how he did every preparation he could, but logged in at India time whereas the employer was in the U.S. So paying attention to these minute details like time zone is important.
And finally when you get the checklist for prep out of your way, its time to make a connection. Michael Ellsberg, author of ‘The power of eye contact ‘has this advice: “The kind of eye contact you want to have during a job interview is neither too aggressive nor too weak. It’s walking this perfect middle line that is called confidence. On a video platform, this takes some practice, but look at the camera as much as possible, not the picture of the other person.
Tell me about yourself! A standard interview question but even when asked online, the employer is not interested in what’s written on your resume. He is keen to understand what you bring to the table. So practice some anecdotes, quotes, relatable news headlines, or a short script that includes the information, the strengths that you want to convey that would make him more interested in you!
Almost everyone feels nervous when preparing for an interview, and it’s because you’re not sure what to expect. That’s normal. There are some common expressions when you start your interview and while they may sound silly, they are effective. For eg. I really appreciate being considered for this role. Keep statements like these in your back pocket to pull it out whenever it makes sense. Express your enthusiasm for past projects and future possibilities. Do smile, its meant to show that you’re a pleasant person. Equally important is closing. Convey that you really want and are well suited for the job, and reiterate why
Of course, no matter how much effort you put in to prepare, stuff happens. When it does, the best thing you can do is to apologize and quickly move on. We've seen Chandler Bing in Friends using humor to cover up a mistake during job interviews, that’s a great strategy too. We all have had our embarrassing moments at the workplace.
And finally, don’t feel bad if you don’t make the cut. Behind every successful attempt, there are several unsuccessful ones. Just ensure that what you do today, is bringing you closer to where you want to be tomorrow!
Stay home, stay safe and find a way to shine online. Good luck!