COVID-19 has caused quite the storm in most areas of our lives, and our careers have not been spared… From complete career pivots, to seeking new opportunities and upskilling, it’s all happening – and it’s happening online… Go Hustle spoke to the CEO of specialist recruitment agency Great Seed Talent, Zola Thekiso, for her take on the best way to prepare for a virtual job interview.
1/ Check your data and connectivity
For many in SA, this is still a pretty major concern. You defs don’t want your interview to be interrupted due to insufficient data or a super-wonky connection. So, prepare ahead of time and be creative – if money is a challenge or you can’t use, say, a coffee shop, reach out to fam and friends.
2/ Test your tech ahead of time
Ensure you have the correct applications and test them to make sure they work seamlessly. Check that your camera and microphone are working too. Dial a friend the day before for a “test run”, then dial into your virtual job interview a few minutes ahead of the scheduled time. Tip: Leave a 60cm distance between yourself and your computer screen.
3/ Research the company (and bring notes!)
Research the company and the person interviewing you. Have a thorough understanding of the job role, and why you’re the best person for it. When preparing, try not to rehearse so much that you sound robotic. Just because you aren’t physically in a room with the interviewer, doesn’t mean your personality needs to disappear too. The key: Be natural.
Zola suggests printing the job spec and your CV, and making notes about the company and interviewer, including any questions you may have. Keep your notes close and refer to them if you must, but try not to get distracted or fidget.
4/ Choose your location wisely
Choose an environment that is quiet with no distractions. Zola suggests a plain background – a wall works well, or a bookshelf, but it needs to be neat and uncluttered. Imagine an office setting. As a good rule of thumb, a desk (instead of a couch or bed) is better, as it will keep your laptop stable and help you sit upright.
Our homes generally have darker lighting, so sit close to a window for natural light, switch on the room light, use a study lamp or ring light. It’ll look more professional.
5/ Make sure your outfit “works”
You need to dress and be groomed as you would for any interview. Look the part! Psychologically, dressing up will inspire you to focus and be serious about the opportunity. The interviewer will view this similarly.
6/ Practise using body language to connect with an interviewer
Let your personality shine through. Body language, and gestures like smiling, become more even meaningful when you’re not face-to-face, explains Zola. Personal branding is more important in virtual interviews. You want the interviewer to remember you – show and tell them why you are the right person for the role.
7/ Come armed with questions, personal stories and examples to share
This is a two-way conversation – be relaxed and ask questions, or give your observations on the organisation and how you see it from the outside. You are interviewing the company as much as they’re interviewing you.
Share a personal examples of how you handled a work challenge or added value to a company – this allows you to build a connection, so you’ll be easily remembered by the interviewer.
8/ Say thank you
After the interview, send an email to the company/interviewer within 12 to 24 hours to thank them for their time. This way, you’re also showing interest. Mentioning something you connected on during the interview will encourage them to remember you. Also, it’s the polite thing to do.
Great Seed Talent is a people development agency specialising in recruitment, training, career coaching and employee engagement.