Written by: Amber Trail, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise
You’ve bought the right outfit. You’ve got your hair done. You’ve practiced your answers and you are ready to nail that interview. Except instead of meeting the interviewer in person, you’re meeting them via a computer, phone, tablet, etc. Strange, right? Alas though, virtual interviews have now become the new normal today.
So, the good news in all of this is that there is a golden rule with virtual-anything, pants are optional! No, really, they are. Although, as an HR professional, I still encourage you to wear pants or a skirt or dress for an interview. While COVID has created serious chaos in the world, there is one thing for certain - we can still do what we do, but it just has to be adjusted. Interviews are one of those things.
Since meeting in person wearing a mask and having to keep 6 feet of distance doesn’t sound so appealing, more and more companies are conducting interviews virtually through platforms such as Zoom (what a year for them!). From an avid recruiter to you, the reader, I wanted to give you a few tips if you plan on interviewing virtually in the near future.
Let’s set you up for success, even if you aren’t shaking hands with your potential employer in person.
1. Timing. Timing is everything. Especially if you have kids at home. Try to schedule your interview when you have someone else to watch those little ones or a time when you know you will have a guaranteed one to two hours of uninterrupted time.
2. Distractions. Try to reduce the distractions by shutting off your phone, staying in a room away from windows and preferably a room that has a door that can shut and lock if necessary.
3. Internet connection. Do you have a stable internet connection? If your internet is a little whacky sometimes, try to find a friend or family member that you would be able to come over for a short time to conduct your interview. If you can find a coffee shop with low/quiet foot traffic, go there and set yourself up. Always test out your internet connection prior to the interview because the last thing you want to happen is a dropped connection or a delayed one.
4. What are you wearing? Even though usually the individuals on the other end have no idea what kind of bottoms you are wearing, it’s still a good idea to make sure you are wearing something that matches your top. Think about this situation: what if you have to run to another room to grab something for your interview? You stand up and whoops the pajama bottoms you had on the night before with pink hearts are showing all over the screen! Just because you aren’t there in person doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dress the part for a virtual interview.
5. Prep yourself for success. Do not overly rehearse your answers. When we do this, we are more likely to get tongue-tied and completely ruin what we originally had planned to say. Write a list of bullet points you want to make sure you get across to your future employer. Include a list of questions that you want to ask. Always research the company before attending the interview because you never know if they might ask you to tell them about the company and its mission/values.
6. What’s your background? If you can’t find a clean space to conduct your virtual interview, use a virtual background. Don’t use one that is moving, like beach waves. Find one that fits your personality and style but is classic and simple.
7. Be you. Be natural and act like you normally would. Get in a space that makes you feel comfortable and portray yourself as you would in person. The chances are that you’re already doing the interview in your home and who doesn’t feel more comfortable at home? So at least you have that advantage!
Amber Trail. Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Amber Trail, MBA, SHRM-CP is the founder and consultant for her human resources consulting company, The HR Trail, LLC. With over a decade of HR experience and a master’s degree in Business Administration, Amber brings her passion and knowledge of human resources to small businesses nationwide. She realized that not all businesses need nor can they afford a full-time HR professional, and that's why she decided to create The HR Trail. To provide a variety of human resource consulting services such as recruitment, coaching, company handbook development, event planning, and more. Her motto is creativity + passion = purpose and she thrives on successfully helping small businesses accomplish their human resources needs!