By Megan Hanik, Candorful Interview Coach
Candorful can do a lot to help you Nail That Interview. With dedicated interview coaches that provide sound, real time feedback, as well as tips and tricks to help you prepare thoughtful answers and questions…there is no doubt that Candorful’s services are helpful to transitioning military and their spouses.
There is also a lot that you can do to control your environment to make a good impression. A virtual interview setting presents several nuances that you need to control to make sure you’re putting your best foot forward. Before scheduling your practice interviews with Candorful or before any real professional virtual interview, follow the checklist below so that your time can be spent focused on you, your abilities, and the value you bring to the job.
- Always log onto the provided virtual meeting link 10 minutes prior to the interview to work out any technical issues
- Is your Wi-Fi connection strong?
- If you are dialing in from a phone for audio, does your phone have a full charge?
- Use earbuds for sound so that you can block out distracting environmental sounds or echoes that may occur. Considered wired earbuds vs wireless. While this may seem counter-intuitive, wired earbuds mean you don’t have to worry about losing your Bluetooth connection or losing charge.
- Ensure you are NOT on mute and if you are dialing in from a phone for audio, ensure you are not on double mute. Make sure your video is on (if appropriate). All-in-all be sure you know how to toggle mute/unmute and video on/off on the technology that your interviewer is going to be using.
- Check the volume so that you can hear the interviewer.
- Position the camera so that it is focused from your chest to just over the top of your head (but not too high).
- No one wants to do an interview with your forehead.
- No one wants to look up your nose while you interview. Stacks of books can help lift devices.
- Practice this to see what you and your environment look like.
- Look into the webcam. This is easier said than done. If you’re looking at the screen and into the face of your interviewer, you won’t have the appearance of eye contact. When answering questions, do your best to answer them into the web camera. You CAN bounce between looking at their face and the webcam.
- Consider your background environment. Especially if the job is allowing telework, it is important to demonstrate that you have dedicated space within your home to be productive (the space does not have to be large, however it needs to be professional).
- DO NOT conduct an interview (even if it is practice) from your bed, outside, or in a shared space. Never from your bed. No, just no.
- DO NOT have a cluttered background.
- Be cautious when using a virtual background. We highly recommend that you find a professional background within your home, even a plain wall, over a virtual background.
- If you are TRULY in a situation where the only option is a virtual background be sure it isn’t busy or distracting.
- Check to see your clothes are a contrasting color to the background because you can be “sucked into” the background and become a talking head. Purchase, iron, and set up a green screen. Making a virtual background work reliably can be harder than you might think.
- Practice with lighting. Your face needs to be lit so your interviewer can get a clear look at your facial expressions.
- Be careful of backlighting (like a window) because you will look like a dark silhouette to your interviewer.
- Play with lamps in front of you (behind the device/computer screen).
- Think about whether the new light is hurting your eyes too much if it is a long day of interviews. It’s one thing to suck it up for a 30 minute first round, but a 4-hour series of interviews can leave you uncomfortable.
- Remove distractions. Pets, kids, phones, noise – Again, your interviewer needs to know that you can carve out time and space to focus on your work. Be sure that pets and kids, as much as we love both, cannot be seen or heard during the meeting. You owe this to yourself.
- It’s important that the interviewer is able to focus on you and not the dog barking or begging for food, children hanging on you, or the friends/family walking in the background.
- Be sure that you have the sound on other phones and devices near you turned off (extraneous devices not involved in your interview).
As virtual interviews become the norm, it’s important to think through how you will be judged, not only on your performance, but on how you present yourself. And don’t ever assume that interviewing virtually means you should dress down. Be sure you know what the right clothes are for the culture of the company (ask your HR contact) and wear a really nice version of their recommendation. Virtual interviewing doesn’t mean a baseball cap and T-shirt. It just doesn’t.
So, follow and practice the steps above before your interview begins. Make your surroundings and technology work for you. This way, all you have to do is NAIL THAT INTERVIEW!