At this point last year I was interviewing candidates in Spain and Italy. Of course they were some two months ahead of us in terms of the effects of COVID and lockdown. This gave me a strong sense of what we could expect over the coming months. A year on and here we all are staring at screens, attempting to build rapport with people we've never met in the flesh.
Although the situation looks brighter moving forward, I suspect virtual interviewing isn't going to completely vanish.
During this period I have 'virtually interviewed' somewhere between 120 and 150 candidates for various senior positions. Reflecting, I would unfortunately suspect that a few candidates have slipped through the net and not gained the chance to be interviewed by clients as a result of poor interview etiquette with myself.
The old adage still holds firm; first impressions very much count. Although any established interviewer shouldn't allow this to dramatically affect the final decision, candidates put themselves behind the eight ball before they've had a chance to really demonstrate their strengths. Inexplicably I've witnessed many candidates drop their guards due to us holding a virtual interview. Please, don't do this!
I hope the following adds value to anyone's job hunt:
- General housekeeping. Obvious though it may seem, please do a dummy run with someone who can critique how you come across. Are headphones better? What's connection like? Where is the imagine positioned (I've interviewed some of the most amazing nostrils recently)? Which part of the house provides the best backdrop?
- Eye contact and body language. Don't sit on your sofa with your smart phone as the device of choice. Ensure you look straight into the camera, rather than looking at your own image, when answering questions.
- Developing the above, try to read the interviewers body language and act on it. Are they fidgety? Are they intently scribbling info down as you're speaking? Do you need to cut your answer short? Structure your answers to ensure maximum and relevant impact (google the STAR technique)
- Preparation is key. As an interviewer I want to know you're taking the position seriously and have reflected on your suitability. Have you prepared intelligent, relevant questions that, oddly backhandedly, demonstrate your knowledge of the discipline you're being interviewed for.
Zoom fatigue is real and so please ensure you give yourself every possible advantage available to stand out from others. Best of luck everyone currently looking.
"I think you're on mute" can be complemented with an expressive emoting of "I can't hear you" just to make sure the other person knows they're still on mute. Sounds familiar?