In the past few weeks, 80% of American’s have been sent home, leaving many to work from home while we wait out the COVID19 pandemic. This has given us unprecedented access to each other’s homes. The background of your Zoom or Webex gives your colleagues a peek into what life is like when you’re not working. This can be good, but it can also be disastrous. Here are a few tips to help you ace the virtual interview (even when you’re not in the interview).
Background matters! Curate the background of the video your in. No, I’m not talking about the fun background options on Zoom (do not use this during an interview or work meeting!). I’m talking about what the viewer can see behind you during the video. Turn on your webcam prior to the meeting, sit in front of your computer, and see what is behind you. It’s ok if you have to be at your kitchen table but put the dishes away, make sure the counters are cleaned off, and there’s good lighting. If possible, avoid video calls from your bedroom and find a quiet space.
A note to all who are creating video for social media right now-
These public videos are part of your interview process even if that’s not their intended purpose. They are now being seeing by hiring managers who are researching you online before inviting you to the interview. Videos that include dirty dishes, inappropriate books, a mess of toys or laundry, or your unmade bed show a messy life and employers will be turned off. A blank wall is a far better option than a mess!
Download the software for the interview ahead of time. This is true even if you’ve used it before. Video providers are updating their software hourly in some cases so be sure you open it and download any necessary updates at least 15 minutes before the call. This will prevent you from being late to the interview.
Treat this as a face to face interview. Prepare. Make notes. Have an email, with your resume attached, open and ready to send to anyone else who might join the call. See our previous articles on acing the interview for more great tips
Dress appropriately for all videos, especially interviews. What would you wear to a face to face interview? Wear that to the virtual one. Even if the interviewer is casually dressed, dressing appropriately for the interview denotes respect. We’re putting so much content out these days and staying at home has caused many of us to get a little too cozy in our yoga pants. Image matters. You don’t have to be in a suit for every video you record but be presentable.
Follow up. With so many people working from home, it’s hard to send handwritten thank you notes but there’s no excuse for not emailing a thank you. Do it as soon as the interview’s over to avoid forgetting.
Putting effort into the interview, giving thought how you will be perceived, and thrive to put your best foot forward. It will make all the difference!
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