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6 Ways to Nail the (Virtual) Interview

Megan Mulroy, LPC

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused most jobs to move to online platforms to allow employees to work from home. That means that job interviews have followed suit. Job interviews can be anxiety inducing in the best of times and doing them exclusively virtually adds a new set of challenges.

I work with a lot of young professionals trying to advance their careers. Early on in the pandemic, I noticed a trend of people trying to wait the pandemic out and keep on working at unfulfilling jobs. Unfortunately, layoffs continued in large numbers and for many, the option to wait it out was taken away. If you were safe from a layoff, many people realized that they would be working from home for a while and if they wanted to make change, it had to be done virtually. Between researching Indeed.com’s How to Succeed in a Virtual Interview  and working with some clients through their interview processes, I’ve compiled 6  tips on how to nail the virtual interview

  1.       Dress Professionally (Yes, Even Your Pants!): We’ve all seen that news anchor who chose not to wear pants while being interviewed this year!  While there is a good chance you won’t have to get up during your interview, you never know what could happen that could take you away from your home office. Dressing professionally can also help you to feel more prepared and confident.
  1.       Minimize Your Mirror Screen: It can be really easy to look at yourself during interviews instead of looking at potential employers. Is my ponytail crooked? Is that spinach in my teeth? Why did I laugh like that? These thoughts are only going to cause you to become distracted and in turn, start to fidget. It’s important to make eye contact and give your full attention to the interview. Take away the option by minimizing or getting rid of your mirror screen. 
  1.       Test Your Technology First: Make sure whatever platform you are using for the interview works before logging on. If you are using Zoom or Google Platform, try sending a link to a friend and testing the microphone and camera with them. If the company sends you a platform that you are unfamiliar with it’s even more important to try logging and testing AV. Often times, companies will send a test link with AV platforms- use them! 
  1.       Set Up For Success: It’s important that you feel in control of the space you are interviewing in. Having a tidy space and a professional backdrop will make you feel more prepared and confident. The last thing you would want a potential employer to see is your dirty laundry or unkempt workspace. It might signal to the employer that you are unorganized and unable to effectively maximize your schedule or assignments.
  1.       Be Aware of Your Surroundings: If you have roommates or live with family, let them know what times you are interviewing so they can be mindful of their volume. It can be helpful to leave a sticky note on the fridge as a reminder as well. While most employers will be willing to give you the benefit of the doubt with noisy roommates, the sounds and distractions might throw you off and cause you to freeze up or say something you normally wouldn’t have.
  1.       Do All the Normal Stuff: Bear in mind that its still important to follow all of the regular interview protocols. Make sure to log on to the interview on time, come prepared with questions, and send a thank you note.

It can be hard in the best of times to manage the stress and anxiety of interviewing for new jobs. Contact Symmetry Counseling today to meet with one of our Chicago counselors in-person or via online counseling.

How to Succeed in a Virtual Interview. (2020, November 25). Retrieved January 16, 2021, from https://www.indeed.com/career-advice/interviewing/virtual-interview

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