Working remotely is here to stay and this means we will be interviewing virtually as well. Many people are looking at new opportunities and will be interviewing for the first time online. If you are going to be interviewed, here are some tips and best practices to ensure you are presenting well and ahead of the pack.
Mind your space
Being in the right location for your interview is number one as you build your virtual presence. It also contributes to having more effective virtual communication as it lessens possible interruptions and distractions.
- Have a clean and organized background. Check your surroundings and what your camera can capture behind you. You may also opt to use a virtual background but always keep in mind that less is more, so stay away from loud and distracting virtual backgrounds.
- Be in a quiet and productive space. This will allow you to think better and focus on the task at hand – impress your interviewer.
- Lighting and framing. Check your lighting and make sure that it brightens your face. This way you will be seen by your interviewer clearly. Also check your framing with your camera. Put your laptop on the right level, just enough to see your face and chest. Not too near or far, your camera is not tilted so as not to capture either your forehead or chin.
- Test your meeting platform and connection. Prior to your interview, familiarize yourself with the meeting platform. Check out the features and use them to your advantage. Also do a speed test to check if your internet connection is enough to sustain smooth virtual communication.
Pro-tip: Use your camera or try to share a screen with a video to maximize the speed test. It is the upload speed that you want to check.
Anticipate what may come
- Keep notes handy. To make sure you are on track with what you want to say keep your notes where you can easily refer to them. Ideally in 4 flash cards with key words and placed on the level where you can read it and still be able to look at the camera.
- Breathe and stay calm. Interviews may be nerve-racking, but stressing creates more challenges. Take a few deep breaths to calm your nerves, settle and focus, then connect to your platform.
Pro-tip: Do not refer to your notes too often. Use it as a reminder of the items that you want your interviewer to know about you.
Practice. Practice. Practice!
Nothing beats well-rehearsed content. You may not be able to cover everything that will be asked of you, but as you practice you will be able to figure out how you want certain ideas to be delivered.
- Time yourself. Measure the time that it takes you to state your point. This will help you eliminate the use of fillers, making your delivery more refined.
- Use gestures. Your body language adds to the impact of what you are saying and how you come across.
- Make eye contact. It may seem a little bit weird to create eye contact over virtual meetings, but you can actually do it. As you practice, switch your camera on so you can see how you actually look. Try looking right into your camera and avoid looking at your own reflection. This way you command the attention of your audience and ensure them that you are sincere in what you are saying.
Pro-tip: Switch off the mirroring function on your device to focus on looking straight to the camera.
Lead meaningful conversations
Interviews entail a lot of back-and-forth dialogue. Encourage meaningful conversations by leading the topic.
- Ask questions. Show that you are genuinely interested in what the interviewer is saying by asking questions. This allows the conversation to be more fluid. As the situation is different this time, ask questions about the office, its employees or their culture.
- Find common interests. Another way to keep the conversations engaging is to find common interests. When you discover that you and your interviewer both like or dislike similar ideas, you get to be more passionate with your answer, which will also reflect your overall character.
Pro-tip: When asking questions, make sure that your tone is not condescending or disrespectful. Keep in mind that you are there because you want to possibly be shortlisted for that company.
Remember that quote: “Que Sera, sera”? Whatever will be, will be. Applying these best practices will aid to eliminate some unwanted distractions and allow you to be more credible and presentable when answering questions during your interview.