Searching for a job is never easy. Add a global pandemic into the mix and it just got a whole lot trickier. If you’ve managed to secure an interview, congratulations! You’re one step closer to success.
No doubt you’re a fully-fledged pro when it comes to video calls with friends and family (another Zoom quiz anyone?) but taking part in a virtual job interview is a whole other story. While you may already know the answer to “what is a webinar platform” and can navigate the basic of most virtual call sites, sometimes a company will use their own webinar platform, making life a bit more complicated. Unfamiliar platforms, bad lighting, noisy neighbours and dodgy WiFi connections can all cause problems.
At Virtalent, a virtual assistant service, we’re no stranger to a Zoom interview. In fact, we’ve been conducting them from day dot. So, we’ve pulled together our best pieces of advice to help you brush up on your virtual job interview etiquette.
- Sort your set up
Find a quiet, neutral space to take the video call. Get rid of any visual distraction on the floor and/or walls. Aim to position yourself in front of a professional background setting. This is usually a blank wall in your home. You want the interviewer to be fully focused on what you’re saying, not on last night’s dirty dishes or your golf club collection.
And don’t forget to shut the windows to block out any unnecessary noise.
- Test your equipment
Don’t leave it to the last minute. Download the video platform software and ensure you’ve tested everything ahead of time – your microphone, lighting, and your webcam. While this is essential, you would also benefit from taking an internet speed test to ensure that you don’t lose connection midway through your interview. If you notice that it’s slower than you’d like, you have sufficient time to get it fixed before you need it.
Doing this can ensure that you avoid any last-minute issues which might cause stress.
- Don’t be afraid to have notes in front of you
One big advantage of video interviews is that you can create an environment that makes you feel as relaxed as possible. If that means creating a cheat sheet or some post-it notes, then do it! Don’t worry too much about the employer seeing them – it just shows that you’ve taken time to prepare for the call.
Platforms like Zoom let you record your meeting so take some time to do a practice run. Watch it back to help identify any nervous tics and stammers. Another great way to practice is to ask a friend to dial in. This will help test your tech out and give you a chance to get a feel for it all.
- Speak slowly and clearly
Take your time to answer the questions. Speaking slowly and clearly will make you appear relaxed and confident. Chances are the internet connection will cut out for a moment in which case speaking slowly will ensure you’re easier to understand. Win-win.
- Wear earphones
Always, always wear earphones. Poor video quality can be forgiven but if the interviewer can’t hear you, your chances of progressing are almost zero. In-built computer speakers are usually much lower in quality so don’t risk it.
- Maintain eye contact
It may feel odd to start with but try and look at the camera when speaking rather than at the person on the screen. This is as close as you can get to eye contact and will help you connect with the interviewer.
A good way to make this easier on yourself is to stack your laptop on top of some books. This will mean your computer is eye level and you won’t need to overthink it too much. Alternatively, shrink the size of the window and position it as close as possible to your webcam. This will give the illusion that you’re looking straight at them.
And that’s it! Now go get’em. No doubt you’ll do great.
AUTHOR: Ellie Wilson, Co-Founder, Virtalent
BIO: Ellie is the Co-Founder of Virtalent, a fast-growing Virtual Assistant service in the UK.
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