So you’re interviewing for a job — congratulations! This is a big step, one which I, as an unemployed person, am uniquely qualified to guide you through. Whether you proved your chops on paper, fought on the ever-horrifying LinkedIn battleground or schmoozed at networking events, you now find yourself in the unique situation of coming to life for your interviewers.
While it would be easy to dismiss the in-person interview process, it’s actually incredibly important. The interview is often more about the interpersonal connection you make with your future employer and co-workers than your technical skills themselves. Here, I provide some tips to maximize your impact via Zoom, since we’re all at home anyway (and if you’re not, please stay home.)
As a burgeoning professional, looking the part is quite important. You want to feel as though you already have the job you want. And while there truly hasn’t been a better time to be without pants — because we are all home, remember — I suggest getting fully dressed in professional yet comfortable clothing for your interview. Interviewers won’t be seeing much via Zoom, but it speaks volumes that you’re willing to look presentable for work even if no one’s watching.
In terms of grooming, stick with the basics. Yes, brushing one’s hair can be a task (for me, at least) but unfortunately, sometimes it’s necessary. Using mouthwash and making your breath minty just to thrill yourself can also boost confidence. Feel free to wear some makeup if you’d like, but you look great without it, too.
Get (appropriately) personal
Since you’ll likely be conducting your interview via Zoom, you don’t have as much room to worry about the interpersonal skills that will leave a positive impression on your interviewer. Still, you should lead with some pleasantries. Never underestimate the value of a “How are you?” or “It’s nice to meet you” or any other warm comment that shows you have a personal investment with those you interact with. I know it sounds like something your mom would say, but your mom is right.
Also, this is harder on Zoom, but eye contact is also valuable. It’s a way to show engagement, confidence and interest in your conversation. If you are unable to make eye contact, asking questions actively based on information provided by your interviewer also shows active listening on your own end, which is a valuable trait in any employee.
Be prepared and engaged
Calendars make me nervous (responsibilities), but I do know it’s important that you are prepared for the date of your interview. Confirm the date, time and Zoom link of your interview with your future employer beforehand — ideally two or three days before the interview. Do some research about the company, its history and culture, and ask questions about the place you could end up working at. Re-read the job description of the position you applied for while you’re at it, and come up with general answers to possible questions you could be asked and prepare answers for them. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, go over some of your responses in the mirror or call up a friend and practice.
Make sure you have a notepad and pen at your side to jot down any questions that come up during the interview. In the immediate half hour before the interview, make sure to do a quick test of your audio and make sure your Wi-Fi is operational. You might also consider taking a deep breath and dancing along to the Shakira and J.Lo Superbowl halftime show to get pumped up, but the choice is yours. Or you could just drink some water.
So you made it through your interview — congratulations! There are a few things you have to do now: Follow up 2-3 days after the interview to check in regarding the status of your application, listen to that halftime show performance again and enjoy your last few days of unemployment — because you are getting that job, baby.
Contact Hanna Lykke at [email protected].