Let’s start by changing the narrative on job interviews. Interviews are great! They are an opportunity for you to explain why you want the job, why you’d be great at it, and to understand the employer’s vision for the role. Yes, virtual interviews can be challenging; however, by taking the time to prepare, you give yourself the best chance of overcoming the challenge, owning the opportunity, and making a great connection with the employer
Here are 8 tips for acing your next virtual interview and bringing forward your best, most authentic self!
1. Take your research to the next level
We all know that researching the company website and your interviewer’s LinkedIn page are table stakes. Go the extra mile to make yourself stand out. Look up relevant news articles on Google news, read up on market trends that will be impacting the department, and check out LinkedIn to see which articles your interviewer has commented on. Prepare questions for the interviewer based on what you find!
2. Think about your transferable skills
Read the job description, note the key characteristics and skills required, and think about when you have demonstrated these qualities in your past experiences. This is particularly important if you haven’t done the job before. If you’re interviewing for a role in banking client services, sharing examples of when you provided exceptional customer service as a Server would be a great idea! This way you can showcase the skills you have that can ‘transfer’ into the role and enable you to be successful.
3. Make each example unique
You have an amazing background full of unique life experiences. When showcasing your skills, make sure you switch up your examples. You can draw on experience gained from school, clubs, societies, sports, volunteering, and travel, as well as work experience. Variety helps interviewers get to know you further and understand your diversity of experience.
4. Act as you would for an in-person interview
Preparing for a virtual interview as if it were an in-person interview will help you focus and get in the right headspace, even if your physical space isn’t ideal! Minimize distractions in your “interview room”. Set up a space with a glass of water, your interview notes, and a pen and paper. Get fully dressed as if you were meeting in person – bringing your A-Game is a lot harder when you’re wearing sweatpants!
5. Get ready for your close up
You don’t want to be worrying about camera angles and lighting during the interview. Before your interview, make sure to prop your device so that the camera is at eye height and make sure that you are the right distance from the camera (you should be able to see your head and shoulders). Also check that you have a strong internet signal, fully charged computer, and good lighting. Knowing you have the aesthetic sorted in advance will allow you to focus on what you’re saying, rather than what they’re seeing.
6. Have a conversation with the interviewer, not yourself
One of the biggest challenges of a virtual meeting is being able to see yourself – it’s like interviewing in front of a mirror! Make sure you focus on the person speaking and resist the temptation to watch yourself. Being responsive to your interviewer will help drive great conversation. If you start looking away, fixing your hair, and acting distracted they probably will too!
7. Ask questions you want to know the answer to
It is important to have 3 – 5 questions prepared as this demonstrates your interest in the role and your ability to thoughtfully prepare for meetings. To maintain a great rapport with your interviewer, consider their scope of work and ensure you are asking questions they’re likely to know the answer to. Considered questions on topics you are curious about are great; however, avoid asking questions with the sole purpose of ‘looking smart’ as they can feel contrived. Keep your questions genuine.
8. Authenticity in an interview is really important.
Your best chance of finding a work environment that suits you is to be your authentic self during the interview process. Yes, you should strive to be the most enthusiastic, professional, interested, and engaged version of yourself, but still ‘you’. If they are the right employer for you, they will welcome your personality and unique perspective. If they don’t, then there’s a strong possibility you would have been unhappy in that role. Aim to find an environment that allows you to bring your whole self to work!
Whatever the result, be gracious when receiving the employer’s decision. If you’ve shown up fully prepared and with a great attitude, you’ve done all you can do! If you are not offered the role, for most companies it will be a “no for now” rather than a “no forever”. It is good practice to leave the door open for future opportunities – you never know what could be around the corner! The right role is out there - coming prepared to every interview will ensure that you have the confidence to ace the interview and join the team. Good luck!
Written by: Kathy Smart, Senior Manager, Commercial Accelerate Program