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If you’re underemployed right now, and you’re worried about landing a new job, you’re not alone. Thirty million Americans are currently out of the workforce due to the coronavirus pandemic, and with cases increasing in many states, there appears to be no end in sight. The “new normal” of COVID-19 means working remotely for many people. If you’re fortunate enough to land an interview in the next few months, chances are strong that you’ll have to do it virtually on a video teleconference platform such as Zoom. If you think one of these online interviews is in the cards for you, don’t fret; here are four great tips for underemployed workers to help you ace those virtual interviews.
Understand the Platform
If you score a virtual job interview, one of the first things you should do is ensure you gain some quick proficiency in whatever video teleconferencing platform you’ll be using. It can be nerve-wracking for interviewers and prospective employees if you can’t figure how to get the audio or camera working for the first five minutes of allocated interview time. Additionally, if the interviewer is on a tight schedule, every second you waste trying to figure out the platform eats into the time you have to convince the company to hire you.
To avoid tech problems on the day of the interview, make sure you know exactly what type of platform the interviewer is expecting you to use. If you’re unfamiliar with it, download the software and attempt a practice run; link up with a friend or family member and make sure you can get the system to work. If you can navigate the tech on interview day, you’ll likely have a leg up on your competition.
Control Your Environment
By now, you’ve probably seen some of those “rate the room” sites and social media accounts that zero in on the backgrounds of video teleconferences. Critiquing the space around teleconference participants has become quite the trend in the COVID-19 era. However, while it’s frequently done for entertainment, ensuring your background and overall environment are on message is an important part of a virtual job interview.
When you prepare for a virtual interview, take note of what’s visible on camera other than you. Ensure that your background and everything else in the camera shot amplifies the image of professionalism and confidence that you’re attempting to project in the interview. Remove anything from the camera shot that you believe is frivolous, inappropriate, or controversial. Besides helping to project a professional demeanor, removing items like this from the background will keep your interviewer from becoming distracted and losing focus on you.
Project Your Professionalism
One of the biggest differences between a virtual and an actual job interview is the lack of personal presence; you simply aren’t there in the room with your interviewer. To compensate, you must strive to project professionalism and confidence in the virtual interview. It can be challenging to make a personal impact when you’re merely staring at your computer, but you can do it.
Ensure you dress for success for the interview and that you look as professional as possible; get rid of your unemployment beard or your overly casual wardrobe, at least for the interview. You should also focus your eyes directly at the camera, and ensure you aren’t constantly glancing all over the place at items of interest in your room. Keeping your gaze firmly into your camera will help you establish a connection with your interviewer. A little bit of attention to appearance and control of your eye contact can help you project a confident, professional demeanor.
Do Your Homework
Since your virtual interview will deny you any advantages you’d otherwise have in person, ensure you compensate by being as knowledgeable about the position and the company as possible. Prior to the interview, do as much research as you can. Read everything you can find about the company online and watch any videos or social media content it might have posted. If possible, talk to people who work there already. The more you know about the job, the better.
During the interview itself, ensure that you demonstrate your knowledge of the company and the job you’re trying to get. Work a question about the office or the job into the conversation, or mention something you’ve learned about the office in response to the interviewer’s questions. If your interviewer believes you have a good understanding of both the company and the job, it could give you a leg up on other underemployed workers competing for the same job.
Nail That Virtual Interview
Navigating virtual interviews is a critical skill for underemployed workers right now. So, if you’ve scheduled a Zoom call on your job search, consider the advice here, and you’ll be ready to conduct your virtual interview with poise and confidence.