With offices closed and companies making permanent shifts to home working, virtual job interviews are here to stay. Switching into interview mode while sitting at the kitchen table isn’t easy but these guidelines, offered to students on Debrett’s online courses, will ensure interviews go without a hitch.
Practice makes perfect
If you find online interviews intimidating, enlist a friend to conduct mock interviews and offer an honest feedback. It can be uncomfortable at first but you’ll feel so much more relaxed when the real thing rolls around.
Beware the gremlins
Don’t let technical glitches ruin your interview: test equipment beforehand. Is your microphone working and your camera in the best position? Keep the lens level with your eyes, not your chin.
Set the scene
It’s not only about getting your best angle. Find a neutral backdrop; interviewers looking for somebody who can be trusted to work and represent the company from home will want an organised candidate. Don’t just tidy what’s in shot, a neat room will help you stay in the right frame of mind.
Dress for success
Sharp tailoring may not be necessary for an online interview so focus on looking smart and well-groomed. Avoid overwhelmingly sober top-to-toe black or too much white, which may ‘blind’ the viewer. Stripes and other patterns can create a shimmering effect on screen.
While the interviewer won’t be able to see joggers or pyjama bottoms, comfortable clothes may create a dangerous feeling of relaxation while smart clothes remind you what is at stake and why you are there.
Quiet on the set!
Before the call starts, make sure that everyone in your house is aware that your room is out of bounds. Mute your phone and shut down any notifications on your computer that are likely to ping.
Follow good onscreen protocols
Body language is as important online as in person and there a few tricks of the trade that can help:
- Maintain eye contact and don’t be distracted by your own image in the corner of the screen.
- Use your face to convey expressions and avoid expansive hand gestures.
- Don’t fidget!
- Remember great posture, keep your shoulders back and your feet planted firmly on the floor – you can even pop a post-it note reminder behind the computer screen if you’re worried about slumping.
- Lean into the screen for emphasis but don’t lean back in your chair.
- Respond to questions with a nod to show that you are listening but pause briefly before starting on your answer – this ensures you won’t interrupt or talk over the interviewer.