Job interviews are an important part of any application process, but for many, they come with quite a bit of nerves. At first glance, the thought of a virtual interview might sound like an easy way out. After all, the interview is done in the comfort of your home. But “virtual” shouldn’t mean “cop-out.” In fact, if you don’t properly prepare, a virtual interview will amplify already present pre-interview anxieties. The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) agrees that taking pre-interview steps are important, especially in a virtual setting. You can read more in their recent post. If you’re actively looking for a job in the construction industry, keep reading. Today, we break down our top three tips to nailing virtual interviews.
Tip #1: Prepare for the interview as if it were in person.
We all have grown accustomed to more casual daily attire, even during office hours. But even if your fellow jobseekers tell you that sweatpants are perfectly appropriate virtual interview attire, stick with a professional outfit from head to toe. Sure, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to get up from your seat during the interview. But, it’s better to be prepared than to run into that awkward scenario. And, as the saying goes, “You have to dress for the job you want, not the one you have.” In addition to professional attire, show that you care about the interview by freshening up as if you were meeting in person. This includes everything from grooming your hair, including facial hair, to brushing your teeth. Yes, we promise, it will make a difference on-screen.
Once you get yourself ready, you’ll want to make equally purposeful preparations for the surrounding area that will be in-view in the interview. This is one of the benefits of interviewing at home: you can create a space that you’re completely comfortable in. Now, that isn’t to say you should set up on the couch or in your bedroom. Instead, use the opportunity to create the perfect environment for you, complete with the perfect temperature and comfortable cushions.
Once you have an idea of where you want to complete the interview, eliminate the pre-interview jitters by practicing. Write out a bulleted list of what makes you the best fit for the position. Make sure it’s legible for easy reference that won’t require you to read word for word off the screen…which leads us to our second tip.
Tip #2: Take the extra steps to avoid any technical difficulties.
As you practice your prepared responses, experiment with your set-up to be sure that there is nothing that will be distracting on-screen. Turn on your camera and take note of what your interviewer will see. As with any other interview, you want the focus to be on you, not the surroundings.
Does your angle show off a messy room? That will communicate much more than your responses to their interview questions.
Does your surrounding decor awkwardly pop up behind your head, creating an unflattering illusion? This will pull your interviewer’s attention away from your responses.
Not only does this virtual interview need to look good, it needs to sound good, too. Check that your mic works well and that you have a strong internet connection. We highly recommend you plug your device to a power source to avoid any hiccups mid-interview.
Speaking of best practices during the interview, we recommend that you keep yourself on mute unless you’re actively talking. And, when you’re not on mute, try to keep your interview space free from any other external sounds. Doing simple things like muting your cell phone or moving into a different room away from your pets will help your interview run smoothly.
Tip #3: Present yourself in the best light.
Our third and final tip for virtual interviews is about much more than creating a virtual interview space with good lighting. Whether it’s a thirty minute interview or more than an hour, remember that you are always on camera. A virtual interview puts you on display even more than an in-person interview. Your actions will be more easily noticed – and judged. Maintain excellent eye contact, avoid covering your mouth or touching your face, and keep your elbows off the table to show professionalism and genuine interest. You’ll need to take extra care to maintain good posture throughout the interview as it will be even more evident to your interviewers. Yes, it’s easy — and common — to slouch over time. But slouching will communicate to your interviewers that you are uninterested and poorly suited for the position. Try sitting at the edge of your seat with your feet planted on the floor.
To all of you job seekers out there, we at I Build America – Ohio wish you the best of luck! We are eager to continue to grow Ohio’s construction industry and make high-quality progress state-wide all year long.