Even though many of us are stuck at home, there’s no need to stop applying for academic or professional roles. Recruiters are still advertising jobs and shortlisting candidates for interview.
It may feel like the world has stopped turning during these worrying times. However, recruiters always need the right people for roles, both now and when restrictions are lifted.
If you get shortlisted for an interview it’s almost certain that – in the current climate – you will be interviewed via video conferencing. This is already a popular method used by recruiters so it’s smart to get up to speed now.
Don’t let the prospect of an online interview freak you out – we’ve put together this list of tips for the camera-shy among us to help you nail the interview and land your dream job.
Test the Tech
Once you are invited for an interview, find out which video conferencing app they will use. The most common are Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts.
Whichever app the recruiter is using, get to grips with it first. Don’t make your interview the first time you use the technology. Try it out with family and friends well before the interview date to make sure you’ve got the hang of it. Remember you will need a device with a functioning camera. Being comfortable with how the apps work will give you extra confidence on the day.
Create Your Space
Make sure your computer or device and camera are focused on a professional-looking space.
A blank wall or bookshelf as a backdrop creates a professional environment, encouraging your interviewer to focus on you rather than your ironing board or jazzy wallpaper.
Show Your Best Angle
Avoid the interviewer getting over-acquainted with the inside of your nose or the top of your head. Position the camera face on, creating the illusion you are sat across from them.
Dress to Impress
Don’t be tempted to wear your suit jacket or smart top and your pyjamas on the bottom. Dress professionally from top to toe, including smart shoes.
There might be a chance that you have to stand up and you don’t want to be caught short in a suit jacket and fluffy slippers. Don’t scupper an interview because you only got half-dressed.
Knowledge Really Is Power
An online interview is just like any other interview so you should come fully prepared. Research the post and organisation in-depth and prepare a list of questions.
Have your CV and qualifications to hand and ensure you have pens and paper ready to make any notes during the interview. Once the interview has started, it would look highly unprofessional if you were to nip off for something you’ve forgotten.
Manage the Menagerie
We’ve all seen that BBC interview with Professor Robert Kelly, whose young kids danced into the room halfway through a serious report on South Korean politics.
The first rule of online interviewing – lock the door. If your door hasn’t got a lock, ensure all children and pets are safely stowed with another adult. It’s also a good idea to put your phone and any other device/apps on silent.
Smile, Listen and Use Body Language
If you sit perfectly still, the interviewer might think the call has frozen. Sit forward, smile and nod but try not to wave your hands around too much because it could be distracting for the interviewer, especially if the connection is patchy.
There is usually a slight delay during video conferencing so make sure you give the interviewer time to finish their question before you jump in.
Look into their Eyes
Always look the interviewer in the eye to show you are listening intently. Don’t be lured by the image of yourself in the little corner window during the interview as this will show you are easily distracted.
The Show Must Go On
Even the most prepared person can come undone on the day of an interview and if that happens to you, don’t panic. Use it as an opportunity.
If you are disturbed during the interview for example or suffer a tech meltdown, remain calm and smile. Be positive, it’s a perfect chance to demonstrate your ability to keep a cool head under pressure.