Even after over two years of the novel coronavirus pandemic looming upon us, the remote working culture is here to stay!
The job market has changed considerably over this time, and so has the means of communication. Online meetings are a regular affair now and have made us rethink the way we communicate with each other. Even the job hunt scenario has undergone a drastic change, and with everything having moved online, the most important aspect of making sure you can thrive in the remote working space is acing your job interview.
While online interviews don’t differ much from in-person interviews, there are some technical and logistical considerations you should be aware of. These are fairly simple etiquettes that ensure your meetings go smoothly. So let’s explore them all one by one!
Here are some tips to help you get through your online interview with ease.
1. Do a test run and minimize technical difficulties
Technical difficulties don’t discriminate — they can come in the way of even the best of interviews. Obviously, on most occasions they are unexpected (and you can only hope that your interviewer is considerate about the matter), but it’s always best to take precautions. Here are some things you can do.
First, if you’re not used to online interviews (or online meetings in general), test the application or software the interview is being held on. This is general practice anyway, but spend some more time on the application if you’re using it for the first time. Check audio, video, connectivity, etc.
If you can, also arrange for a backup connection that you can immediately switch to if something in your interview goes wrong. (Fun fact: this also demonstrates that you’re good at planning, can quickly make contingency plans, and you’re solution-oriented. Always a plus!)
2. Dress properly
Just because you aren’t physically going for your interview does not mean that you can dress however you like. Dress just as you would for an offline interview: in comfortable but formal clothes. Get ready the same way you would when you’re going to meet someone in person. Make sure your clothes are crisply ironed, you look good, and you are presentable.
Not only is this a show of courtesy and professionalism, it also affects the tone and atmosphere you set for the meeting. For many people, being dressed appropriately is also a way to gear yourself towards the formal nature of a job interview. It will help you concentrate and put you in the appropriate mood.
In the absence of physical meetings, these kinds of little cues are all the more symbolic of you and your work ethic.
3. Choose an area that is quiet and well-lit
When you’re doing an online interview, the place you pick for it is of some importance. Ensure the place you pick is quiet and away from noises in the house. Also make sure that the place is well-lit — preferably natural light during the day.
You don’t want the interviewer to be distracted by the noise at your end and by the mess on your table. More importantly, you don’t want to constantly think about the mess at your end, which will ultimately lead to you stuttering and forgetting what to say during the interview.
4. Try to keep your body language appropriate
The responsibility to keep your interviewer invested in the interview falls on how you conduct yourself physically too. For example, if you slouch and sit, fidget one too many times, look here and there, etc., then they would invariably think that you are not interested in the interview at all.
Be conscious of your posture at all times. Sit up straight and make eye contact with your interviewer. These are simple things that can greatly improve the impression an interviewer has of you. They also allow you to build rapport with the interviewer, help all parties involved feel more comfortable, and make the whole experience personal and interactive.
5. Be punctual
Just like an offline interview, punctuality is of immense importance. Being punctual tells the interviewer that you are reliable and trustworthy, you value their time, and care about the job and organisation.
With an online interview, there are slightly more risks involved. You could get cut off at any moment, lose connection, or face other technical glitches. This could interrupt the flow of the interview process or might even cut into the time of the interviewer. You definitely don’t want that!
Keep all relevant applications and documents open and make sure you’re ready at least 30 minutes before the interview begins. This is so that you will have a buffer time if a technical difficulty or emergency arises.
If you’re scheduling interviews with people in other countries, account for time-zone differences and be generally respectful of their time and schedule.
Bonus tip: Revamp your resume
With such a large-scale shift in the work landscape, it’s important to reevaluate what skills have gained more relevance in the digital era.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, skills like communication, technological soundness, efficiency in digital tools, etc. have become a lot more crucial to ensure harmony and efficiency in the workplace. Take a look at your resume and see how you can highlight skills like communication, business writing, and digital literacy. While these are skills that would be quite common by now, they can also be very helpful in showcasing that you’re savvy and you know how to keep up with an ever-evolving (digital) world. Show recruiters and interviewers that you are adept at navigating the changed working atmosphere.
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