Despite the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in increased numbers of job losses, layoffs and furloughs with over 22 million Americans filing for unemployment as of April 2020, the concept of a job hunt has now taken on new meaning, especially at a time when several companies have announced hiring freezes with a handful of others in certain industries going on hiring sprees.
Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic started playing out, businesses have had to deal with different kinds of challenges. While moving to a complete remote work model was a challenge for a few teams, for others, shifting their end-to-end hiring process online started taking priority.
The Good Thing About Virtual Interviews
Virtual interviews are beneficial in many ways. Not only do they help save time by speeding up the interview process, it also allows recruitment managers and HR heads to coordinate more interviews within a shorter time frame.
Most MNCs have been used to a virtual hiring and remote onboarding process, because they have had to implement this over the years to cater to globally distributed teams. However, for candidates and hiring teams who are new to the concept, the initial challenges like adjusting to new technologies that are typically used during a virtual interview, managing the software and from the candidate’s point of view – getting the right message across over a computer screen can prove to be stressful at the start.
But at a time such as the now where learning to thrive while being remote is crucial to business continuity, it is just as important for both, hiring teams and candidates to adjust to the new normal by getting more accustomed to the concept of remote hiring and virtual interviews.
What can Candidates Do To Ensure a Better Outcome?
During a face-to-face interview, something that everyone who is part of the workforce has had to undergo at least once, the basics have remained the same for long. Showing up on time, adhering to a corporate dress code (though this depends on the industry and set-up of every individual office), being presentable, are the common must-have points that carry forward to a virtual interview too. In addition, here are a few additional things that candidates can focus on more, to ensure a better outcome from their next virtual interview.
Dress the Part
Time and again research has proven that your appearance influences how you think and feel. Dressing the part for an interview is not only important to influence your own state of mind but also that of the person interviewing you. In short, the virtual interview should feel like an actual face-to-face interview, at least for the candidate. Every industry and corporate office has a different sense as to what qualifies for “appropriate” work wear. Doing some research on the corporate culture of the company you are about to have a virtual interview with is one way of ensuring you dress “appropriately,’’ however, in most cases, sticking to business casuals could be a good enough option.
A quick point to remember here -> avoid being overdressed!
Test your Tools
Hiring managers, HR leaders have their own schedules to follow and as a candidate, if you are busy struggling to log into a virtual interview because you aren’t familiar with the meeting tool and its features: you could be getting into the bad books of the interviewer before the interview begins!
In order to get ready for a virtual interview besides dressing the part, it is crucial for candidates to test run their software and associated devices. Check your audio / video settings, ensure the microphones, additional plugins if any and latest downloads if needed are ready and working fine.
This test run will also allow you to evaluate if you need to make any additional adjustments to the physical space you are going to use for the virtual interview. During the test run, try to see that your lighting is fine (it can’t be too dark, the interviewer needs to be able to see you well), for instance.
Learn to Maintain Constant Eye Contact
A study conducted jointly by the University of Wolverhampton and the University of Stirling found that participants who maintained eye contact during video calls had better results in terms of being remembered. While doing your test run, call a friend or family member and record a conversation with them. Assess yourself through the recording of the test call to see whether you’re being able to focus directly at the camera while communicating your points across.
Ensure you have Stable Connectivity
Frozen screens, dropped calls, poor network connectivity have been common problems for a chunk of the workforce while they’ve been working remote the last few months. However, during a virtual interview, as a candidate, you have to avoid (as much as possible) these same instances. A wired internet will always have better stability when compared to an over-the-air transmission. Before your interview begins, disconnect any other device from accessing your internet so that the bandwidth is more focused on this one important call.
Last but not the Least; Ensure you have a Professional Looking Set-up
The good part about a face-to-face interview is that it allows you to visit the office of your potential employer, reducing the need for you to set up your personal space at home for the same purpose. However, during a virtual interview, it is likely that the interviewer will ask you to have your camera on. Certain tools like Zoom allow you to create a fake background setting but during a virtual interview it is important to ensure your actual living space is as close to a professional set-up as possible, a work table, lamp, the basics should be in place to also give the interviewer the right idea –> that you have the right setting to work from home for elongated periods of time if there is a need to.
If you have already have a work space set up or a small work corner that can be set up at home for the virtual interview, you don’t need to look for another space for your virtual interview.
Virtual interviews and the new normal’s version of this elongated work from home due to the Covid-19 threat are here to stay. The benefits of undertaking more crucial tasks such as hiring, onboarding and even training virtually serve several benefits, from ensuring better savings operationally to increasing overall team productivity and output.
Before you get set for your next virtual interview, remember the most important thing -> be on time! As a candidate, it pays to login five minutes before the beginning of the call so that you can be prepared for last moment issues, if any!