Virtualization of the workplace has taken over our work lives. Interviews, meetings, appraisal discussions, conferences, training programs—everything has become global and virtual thanks to technology. It’s amazing how two or more people can connect over the web, regardless of their locations and time zones.
Having conducted 500+ virtual interviews using web cams over the years, I often come across candidates who are hardly prepared or know what to expect. While web cam interviews are no different than in-person interviews, it’s better to be prepared on what to expect.
Here are 5 Ps that can come handy for a virtual interview newbie or otherwise:
It always helps to practice with a friend prior to your virtual interviews. This is especially important if this is your first web interview. Ask your friend to give you honest feedback on your body language, eye contact, lighting, and anything that might be a cause for concern.
It’s wise to be available and free at least 15 to 30 minutes prior to the actual interview. Check the internet connection, camera, audio, power, etc. Look for a spot with a lot of light. It helps to have a quiet and neutral background to avoid any distractions for the interviewer.
Take care to eliminate distractions like your mobile phone, any other programs open on the computer, and external noises. If you have kids or pets at home, ensure they are in another room with supervision. Use headphones if it makes you more comfortable.
It’s important to dress appropriately. Web interviews are no different than in-person interviews. How you dress reflects your personality and also leads to positive first impressions. Ensure you wear something business-formal yet comfortable.
Another important factor that reflects your personality is your username and profile picture. While using applications like Skype or Google Talk, ensure your profile name and picture are professional. You can either change it appropriately or maintain a separate account for professional purposes.
How you present yourself during the interview is the real test. Angle the camera so the other person can see your upper torso, not just the top of your shoulders and head. A good posture and being relaxed is key.
Ensure you open the interview with a pleasant greeting and maintain eye contact with the interviewer. If there is more than one interviewer, ensure you provide each person with equal eye contact. It’s worthwhile to have a copy of your resume and a notepad ready to make notes. However, make sure that you don’t look away from the screen frequently—use your reference material sparingly.
Ensure you thank the interviewer/s. Drop a follow up note to the interviewers or the recruiter to check on the next steps and feedback.
Remember practice makes perfect. You will always learn something from your experiences to improve on your next virtual interviews.
About the Author
Srividya Vichare is Talent Acquisition Lead for Wipro Technologies, a leading information technology, consulting and business process services company. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.