Landing an interview for the job you want feels amazing… until you start overthinking the interview process, and the panic sets in: what if I mess up and say the wrong thing? What if it doesn’t work out? The thought of interviewing for a job can feel intimidating, but with a little preparation and a healthy dose of effective communication, you can set the scene for a great experience. While virtual interviews can present some unique challenges, following these tips will help you overcome them and allow you to make a great first impression:
Clarify the Plan
When scheduling the interview, make sure you’re clear on the procedure. Will the interview take place via Skype, Zoom, or some other platform? Will you need any information, such as a password, to gain access to the meeting? Knowing what to expect will give you peace of mind and help you prepare appropriately.
Test Your Tech
If you need to download a platform such as Skype for your interview, be sure to do it well in advance so that you are ready to go on the day of your interview. If you already have the software you need, or the interview will take place via an online platform, check to see if any updates are needed for the software or your browser to make sure you’re not surprised by any glitches at an inconvenient time. If possible, do a trial run to make sure everything is operating as it should. That way, you won’t have to stress about tech issues on top of normal interview jitters!
Assess Your Surroundings
Once you’ve decided what space you’re going to do your interview in, assess your surroundings. What will be within your webcam’s field of view? Tidy up any spaces that your interviewer will be able to see. No one is judging you for that pile of laundry you haven’t quite gotten around to folding yet, or that stack of mail piling up on the coffee table – we’ve all been there. However, you want your interviewer’s attention entirely focused on you and all the things that make you a great fit for the job, so for the sake of minimizing distractions, simply move any such things out of view. Also ensure that there is adequate lighting so that your interviewer can see you – fuzzy visuals can make it very challenging to focus.
Hone Your Personal Presentation
As casual as things may feel when you’re sitting on the computer at your dining room table, don’t forget that a virtual interview is still a professional meeting and should be treated as such. Dress as professionally as you would for a normal in-person interview – it will not only help you make a great first impression, but it will also help give you confidence as you interact with your potential employer. Maintain positive body language by sitting up straight and making sure that your facial expression conveys that you are engaged in and interested in the conversation. Sometimes the audio quality of virtual meetings isn’t great, so it is important to speak clearly and concisely and minimize background noise to ensure that you are heard correctly. If for any reason during your interview there is a bad connection on either end, work with the interviewer to reschedule.
Know Your Stuff
Just like you would with any other interview, prepare yourself to talk about your strengths and experience in relation to the job requirements and have a list of good questions. One of the best ways to do this is to review the job description and conduct a bit of research on the company before your interview. You may even want to practice answering some common interview questions to give you an even stronger sense of preparedness for your interview. Ultimately, your interviewer just wants to get to know you and learn more about the amazing things you bring to the world of work – so be yourself, be positive, make it clear that you’re excited about the opportunity – and go ace that virtual interview!