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What not to do during a virtual interview

Among the many things that have witnessed a massive change due to the Covid-19 Pandemic is videoconferencing. Before the pandemic, this tool was the last resort for people unable to meet in person. However, during Covid times it has become a lifeline for businesses struggling to keep going and not let the bottom lines plummet.

During just a single one-week period in March, global users downloaded a record 62 million video conferencing apps at the beginning of lockdowns. And businesses are unlikely to ever go back.

Video conferencing isn’t just for collaboration but has also become a key part of the recruiting process.

According to research, two-thirds of job candidates actually prefer video interviews. In a recent survey by tech firm Talview, 80% of respondents said their hiring process is fully remote, while 39% have increased their use of video conferencing software, like Zoom, for the interview process.

Video conferencing tips for interview

However, virtual interviewing comes with its own set of challenges. It is too easy to get overwhelmed with technology and forget some essentials of conducting oneself while on video. Especially if one is talking from a home setting, the chances of some gaffe or technical hitches occurring go up. 

The social media platforms are full of on-air oops moments that people on formal calls have suffered. So here are a few pointers on how to conduct oneself in a virtual job interview.

Technical goof ups

Always ensure that you have the details of the interview timings etc, right beforehand. Check that your gadgets are in perfect running order that means, see that your laptop/desktop is up and running, the internet connection is fast and uninterrupted, your apps are running in order, and your microphone and sound quality is good.

Do a dry run beforehand with a friend or family member to check all is functioning properly.

To avoid any last-minute panic, open up for business at least half an hour to 15 mixtures before.

Keep all your important papers, documents or references handy so that you do not have to scramble for them if asked a related question. Put small stickers with relevant markings for smoother access.

Dress for the occasion

Just because you are on a virtual call, you do not need to take things easy. Dress formally; loungewear is not allowed. A proper tie and shirt or a formal suit for men and a skirt suit or pantsuit for ladies. Go by the company culture and if semi-casual is the dress code, then follow that. But error the side of caution.

Clean and clutter-free

If the climate is hot a summer dress is appropriate. Do not be dressed for show only; meaning wearing a formal shirt or top, but you are relaxing in track pants or shirts or no shoes below the desk. You never know you might need to get up from your chair inadvertently. 

Remember to keep the surroundings neat and clean. A cluttered room with inappropriate props and messy things scattered gives the impression that you are not serious about the interview or you do not care enough to maintain a clean space.

Relaxed and motivated

Also, be relaxed and comfortable but remember it is an interview so being a little focused goes a long way. Your smallest gestures will be noticed and exaggerated. Fidgeting with your hair or your clothes, moving your eyes away from the monitor to check your phone will make you seem disconnected and distracted.

Since the whole process is talking through screens, the protocol becomes difficult. In an in-person interview, your canvass is wider, and your interaction is distributed with the person and the environment. However, here the focus becomes more concentrated, so the best way to deal with it is to maintain a conversational tone. Do not let it be a question and answer session with awkward pauses in between. 

 Try to be a little more forthcoming with your answers. Your ability to interact in this manner will demonstrate your communication abilities, a most valued soft skill in today’s times.

It is difficult to be at ease in such a formal setting, especially when you appear for a job interview. So the advice is to practice a little. Get your friend to conduct a mock interview and preview it to see how you appear on screen and what areas need improvement.

Diana Coker
Diana Coker is a staff writer at The HR Digest, based in New York. She also reports for brands like Technowize. Diana covers HR news, corporate culture, employee benefits, compensation, and leadership. She loves writing HR success stories of individuals who inspire the world. She’s keen on political science and entertains her readers by covering usual workplace tactics.

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