These days, as more people choose to work from home and increasing numbers of companies are happy to utilize remote workers or give flexible working conditions, it’s becoming common for business owners and recruiters to conduct job interviews online. This is particularly relevant to industries and job types such as project management, engineering, construction, IT, and management, where employees are often hired from around the world.
Virtual chats, using software such as Skype or Zoom, are regularly used to conduct initial interviews and final conversations where a shortlist of candidates must be whittled down. As such, it’s important to know how to go about presenting yourself in the best light possible online. Read on for three key ways in which you can set yourself up for a successful virtual interview today.
1. Prepare Properly
The first step is to prepare properly. Before the time of your online chat, research the business you hope to join and find out about its culture and history. Learn what you can about the person you would likely be reporting to, and be clear about what the role you’re applying for will entail exactly.
Once you know this kind of information, it will be easier to think about how to best present your skills, education, and experience to the people you’ll be meeting with. Be sure to convey how you will be the perfect fit for the role, and what you can bring to the company that other candidates cannot. It pays to examine some of the most common interview questions used in your industry and for your position type too, so that you can practice answering them beforehand.
Let’s say you’re going for a management-type role. If you have recently finished studying an accredited online MBA, for instance, it is important to find ways to demonstrate how the skills you learnt through your studies or via the practical experience you got during your degree can now be used in the job you’re interested in.
Give specific details about how what you picked up during your studies can be applied to a leadership role, and mention problems you were able to solve or outstanding results you achieved during your MBA that will impress recruiters and highlight your suitability. It helps to talk about any areas you focused on during your education too, and how this knowledge is relevant for the position at hand.
If you don’t have a specific business degree but are applying for a management role, you should focus on how your career experience gives you the knowledge and skills you need to excel as a leader. Prepare for your interview by practicing answering questions relating to topics such as how you dealt with challenging clients or employees, or tricky situations in the past; the types of cost savings you made or new opportunities you took advantage of in the marketplace; and any relevant training you have completed over the years.
Other ways to prepare well for an interview include printing out your cover letter and resume so that you have them on hand if you need to refer to their contents as you chat; and putting together a list of well thought-out questions you’d like to ask. Having questions already compiled will mean you don’t have to “um and ah” if you’re asked what you want to know. It will also show your interest in the role and your understanding of what the job requires and the culture the business has.
2. Don’t Forget About Your Presentation
Next, remember that your presentation is just as important during a virtual interview as it is in an in-person one. While the people you’re speaking with may not be able to see below your shoulders or waist, you never know if you’ll have to stand up during the chat to fetch a document or other item. As such, make sure you’re not just wearing PJ bottoms at the time!
In addition to wearing nice, clean clothing that will make you look (and feel) good, ensure your hair has been cared for and you are otherwise well groomed. As well, don’t forget that body language is an integral part of communication, and can be seen on video chats. This means you should smile often, have good posture, and avoid fidgeting. If your surroundings can be seen via the camera then also tidy up before the interview starts.
3. Ban the Distractions
Lastly, when you’re conducting an interview from home, your office or some other location, it is vital that you don’t get distracted during the chat. For example, make sure your cell phone is switched off or in another room where it can’t be heard by you or your interviewers; turn off email notifications and other distracting sounds on your computer; and find a quiet space where the conversations of other people, traffic noise etc. won’t interfere. If you’ll be at home for your interview and have children, ensure they will be cared for by someone else at the time so there’s no chance of them coming in to disrupt the interview in any way.