In a recent virtual masterclass event on jobs, technology, and success, organized by Postgraduate Diploma In International Hospitality Management students, Australian online job seeker coach, Gillian Lana, shared her top seven tips on how to best showcase yourself in an online job interview. Record button tapped, over to Gillian.
1. Create a strong presence
In any job that you’re going for, you have to create a strong presence for yourself, whether that be online, on paper, or in person, and those three things have to be congruent. First of all, you’ll send your CV, how does that present? They’re going to look at your LinkedIn profile, how does that present? Then they’re going to see you either in person or in a virtual interview, and these three things all have to be strong. Never forget that it’s not just about the interview, it’s the build-up too that’s important.
“Before Covid 60% of hiring managers and recruiters used video technology. In 2021, 86% of organisations are using virtual technology as part of their recruitment process”
2. Optimize your equipment
Your best piece of equipment for an online interview is your laptop or your computer, your phone or tablet should be a backup. With a laptop, you can have eye-to-eye contact with the camera, which is your little green light. This is important, a lot of people look into the screen, but if you can look at the camera it makes a massive difference to the connection that the other person is going to feel. Remember: the green light is the person, to help, use a post-it note, cut a hole in it for the camera, and put on two eyes and a mouth.
Get the height of your laptop right, so that you feel comfortable. I have actually used an ironing board because you can lift and lower it to the right height. The more comfortable you are, the more confident and relaxed you’ll feel, allowing you to be yourself, talk naturally and focus on the interview questions. You don’t want to be worrying about whether your set-up is right.
Also, make sure that you plug in your device and close other programs on your computer. Have a backup internet connection, too, you can use your phone’s personal hotspot.
3. Consider your lighting and sound
Lighting is really important, you’re better off having a light coming from directly behind your camera shining at you, rather than a side light or downlight. To prevent echo, find a room that has a lot of soft furnishings, carpets, curtains, and cushions. A top tip is to get pillows and place them around your computer so it absorbs the sound. Use headphones for voice clarity and shut windows to reduce unwanted sounds.
“Within 10 seconds of entering a room, real or virtual, 50% of somebody’s mind is made up about you.”
4. Ensure a professional and consistent appearance
Always dress professionally, wear a darker color as you’ll appear stronger and sharper with a darker silhouette. Make sure that you look like your LinkedIn photo or your CV profile photo because if you don’t look anything like them in the interview, you’re risking a poor first impression.
5. Speak clearly
The way you speak online is very important, if you think you’re speaking slowly it’s probably around the right speed. We all will have an accent or maybe we’re speaking a different language, so that’s another reason to speak a little slower. Try some voice exercises to help regulate your voice so that you’re speaking at a good, clear speed.
6. Know your interview etiquette
Always wait for the interviewer to call you at the interview time, don’t call them as they might have a very tight schedule or be in another interview. Wait until it gets to the exact start time and if they haven’t called or joined the interview, send a text message saying “Hello, just wanted to let you know that I’m ready for the interview whenever you are”. Little messages like this are important, think about how it will sound and always be polite.
After the interview has finished, send your interviewer or contact an email to thank them for their time and reiterate your interest. This is really important and can make a huge difference.
7. Come prepared
Make sure you are addressing the criteria that were in the job description in your answers, and convey your professional attitude and soft skills as well as your technical skills and knowledge. Your communication is also very important, as the interviewer will be thinking about how you will talk with clients and staff – will you fit in?
Your interviewer will be looking to see if you are motivated and interested in the role and business, whether you’re enthusiastic and what energy you’ll bring to the team. This is why it’s really important that you feel comfortable with your setup and that you’ve got everything right so that you can just go in and be yourself.
At the end of the day, interviewers want somebody who is authentic, believable, and genuine, and to who they can relate. You’re going to represent their brand so they need to trust you. Follow all of these steps and you’ll present yourself in the strongest possible way.