6 Tips To Ace Your Virtual Job Interview, According to A Hiring Manager

6 Tips To Ace Your Virtual Job Interview, According to A Hiring Manager
Image by Anna Shvets / Pexels

Before the pandemic, job hunting meant going to career fairs, attending interviews in formal attire, and signing contracts in-person. Now that we are encouraged to stay home, the employment process has shifted to virtual, like everything else. More companies are conducting job interviews through video communication platforms like Zoom and Skype, which is not only convenient for employers and job seekers, but also lessens the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus.

Nikka, 25, lost her job in a travel agency in June 2020. The company decided to fully close, leaving her and 15 other employees jobless. “My family needed me, and though I was at my lowest during that time, I knew I needed to step up my game and prepare for this tedious process of job seeking,” she shares. Nikka decided there was no time to waste and immediately prepared to look for another job.

Like Nikka, many of us who were affected by job losses know we need to put our game face on whatever the circumstances. But how do you stand out among many applicants through the computer screen? OneLife.ph spoke to job seekers and asked for tips on preparing for that very important interview and successfully landing a job during the pandemic, with insights from a professional hiring manager.

Choose a quiet room and a plain background.

The busy living room is the last place you want your online interview to be held. Instead, choose an area that is free from background noise or far away from the center of activity at home. It is also best to position your camera in front of a plain background, or a wall with minimal accents like paintings or photos(posters of your favorite bands may not be the best idea).

Be familiar with the video platform.

To avoid embarrassing delays caused by technical issues on the day of the interview, Nikka suggests downloading the prescribed video software days before. “I downloaded Zoom when they confirmed the interview schedule. I familiarized myself with the settings and controls, para hindi na magkaroon ng problema sa oras ng interview mismo.” She says that since conducting online interviews is relatively new, expect that there might be glitches. Though this is quite common, show preparedness by learning the app beforehand.

Research about your company and the position you’re applying for.

Twenty-two-year-old Malen landed her first job in September 2020, and she emphasizes the need for preparation. “The interviewers know if you really want the job or not. And if you do, you have to familiarize yourself with what the company does, what the position entails, and a bit of information about your interviewers as well.” Malen says that there is nothing worse than going to an interview unprepared, because your hiring managers will know it.

Prepare answers to common interview questions.

A quick Google search will give you an idea about the most common interview questions, such as: “Tell me something about yourself that is not on your resume,” “Why do you want to be a part of our company?” “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” and the like. Jot down concise answers to these questions, so that when they are asked during the interview, you will know what to say. Be careful, though, and make sure you are not just reading your answers. It’s a plus to be ready with an answer, but don’t sacrifice spontaneity either.

Dress to impress.

It’s a no-brainer that you must dress professionally for a face-to-face, in-person interview, and it’s still the case even if you’re just meeting your potential employer online. Just because these are being done virtually is not an excuse to wear your pambahay.

For Pamela, a 32-year-old hiring manager for an advertising company, dressing up for an interview is a sign of respect. She says your interview outfit does not have to be fancy; a simple blazer over your blouse is enough to look professional. It is also not required to wear work slacks or trousers, since most of the time, the camera will only capture your image from your waist up.

“For online interviews, I would suggest avoiding attires that are too bright. No orange or bright red, because the camera has a hard time adjusting its exposure,” she says. “Also, avoid wearing the same color as your background, kasi baka mamaya mag-mix yung colors and you will just look like a floating head.”

Be honest, and be yourself.

This might sound cliché, but this is the most important part when preparing for a job interview, whether in-person or virtual. Recruiters greatly appreciate it when interviewees are honest about their experiences (or lack thereof), instead of being arrogant about them.

“Honestly, wala namang mali kung wala ka pang previous work experience. You were selected for a job interview because you passed the initial screening, which means that hiring managers saw something in you that is admirable,” says Pamela. “Believe in yourself that you have the potential, and work hard to be better than your previous self.”

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