If I’m going to talk about job interviews, I recommend you watch this movie: The Internship. You have no idea the effort I’m making to avoid the Spoiler Alert, but this film reflects the vicissitudes and challenges of labor insertion in change and innovation scenario; pretty much like the context where we find ourselves now because of the COVID-19 emergency. Suddenly we seem to have poor abilities to conduct ourselves through an interview, so being prepared is always a good option.
If you got an interview it’s because your CV stood out among many others and / or meets the exclusive requirements. It’s defined as THE tool of the personnel selection process, being one of the most influence factor on the final decision, since it assesses the suitability or not of the applicant for the vacant position. We can also speak of the job interview as a sustained dialogue with a defined purpose: contrast with the profile by searching based on personal characteristics, skills, experiences. Comparing scenarios, for the company the interview implies: an opportunity to meet the applicant and observe how he performs; while for the applicant means an evaluation scenario, an opportunity to show resources, and the actual moment of application for a job.
The interview can be reflected based on different temporal moments that will imply different levels of responsibility for the interviewer and applicant: Preparation / Interview / Reflection. The interview itself is made up of three basic #stages: WARM UP, moment in which the interviewer makes the frame and breaks the ice; DEVELOPMENT, space for the applicant to shine and show their best version; and CLOSURE, implying discourse rounding, doubts evacuation and following steps. On the other hand, when facing a job interview there are different #styles: STRUCTURED style, for example a questionnaire; SEMI-STRUCTURED full of triggering questions and themes; and finally a FREE style used as an initial kick for open dialogue to begin.
Like it or not, job interviews will confront us with asymmetric relationships, being the interviewer the one directing the interview, evaluating how the applicant organizes the information and structures the discourse. Therefore, in the interview we’ll find different styles of questions: CLOSED, they are answered with a single word. OPEN, allowing you to expand on the subject. SOUNDING, they seek to know a certain situation. HYPOTHETICAL, situations to be solved related to the position or the company. PROVOCATIVE, evaluating reactions through the surprise factor (It should be clarified here, if as a candidate you don’t feel comfortable with the question, you have the right not to answer). And what would those questions be?
What is your current work situation? Why did you apply for this job? What do you know about our company? What do you value more in a job? What would your dream job be? What are your salary aspirations?
Please remember that we are human beings and we don’t have to know the questions by heart, but knowing them is just a good practice to have a better performance during the instance: Respecting the questions, Re-asking if not understood, Taking your time to respond, Avoid going overboard.
It is important that you also know that explicit and implicit aspects of the applicants will be investigated. Explicitly: the Training, Career Path, Soft Skills, Technical Competencies, Motivation and expectations. Implicitly: interviewers evaluate your Digital Print, Reaction to unforeseen events, Adaptation, Flexibility and Technological Competences. When I talk about #Digitalprint I mean your Professional Brand: How is your CV and LinkedIn profile? How is your virtual self? How is your profile image? Which username did you assign? These small guiding questions can help present you with another imprint to the job interview.
Now then: recruitment is going through an adaptation to remote modality, therefore virtual interviews will be part of the new HR normality. Will this rule out face-to-face interviews? I encourage myself to say no… face-to-face and virtual are two modalities that will coexist after the tremor, leaving the way of interviewing to each company discretion. The need for face-to-face meetings is part of a company culture, with technology companies being pioneers in remote interviews implementation using virtual tools. It should be noted international recruitment has positioned virtual interviews as primary alternatives long before the global pandemic.
Job interviews can be carried out under two modalities: face-to-face and virtual, which in turn have different classifications. In both cases, there are three formats to consider: INDIVIDUAL between the interviewer and me; with a PANEL of several interviewers and me; and GROUP, one or more interviewers with more than one applicant, is also known as the Assessment Center (sometimes group interviews are informative, situational assessments or used for mass screening). Sharpening virtual interviews, we have two specific formats: LIVE, through a video call which has become popular or also through phone calls which are frequently used to assess language level; and DEFERRED as for example the recording of a video under a slogan.
The question we are asking now is: What happens to non-verbal communication during virtual interviews? Albert Mehrabian, Psychologist and Engineer, is one of the pioneers in theories of non-verbal communication. In 1967 he introduced the 55-38-7 rule, referring that Body language occupies 55%, Voice tone occupies 38% and Words occupy 7% of our communication. Therefore, in virtual interviews we can begin to strengthen aspects related to silence management and eye contact, but also regarding voice tone and words: Speak slowly and clearly, modulate and breathe, make correct pronunciation, lean on technological resources: raise / lower the volume, set image quality, etc.
Let’s review one thing: virtual interviews are an opportunity to meet the applicant in a limited time, where their technical capacity and soft skills will be evaluated, as well as the possibility of joining a work team. Your attitude will be essential … that’s why: PREPARE yourself as if you were going to a face-to-face interview, in the end it’s still an interview. Be AWAKE, don’t wait until the last minute to turn on the computer. Be SPONTANEOUS and authentic … I know may sound cliché, but being yourself is always going to be better than being someone you aren’t. Last and not least: I almost always hear “I send my CV and they don’t call me”. If they called you, APPRECIATE the time invested by the interviewers.
There are no excuses for IMPUNCTUALITY in virtual interviews, “I didn’t find the bus”, “I got lost in the building”, they don’t run anymore. You just have to turn on your computer during the scheduled hours. That’s why it is super important that the agenda was previously coordinated, clarifying day and time (check your agenda so that the interview doesn’t overlap with other activities that you can have, such as personal meetings, classes, webinar, etc.), as well as the contact way and / or tool to use. By this I mean, don’t wait for the interview day to “discover” the app they will use. In addition, be online in advance, it’s better that you wait for the interviewer and not the other way around. Another thing, virtual interviews changed HR dynamics, don’t be scared if they are short.
I ask you a question: Are you ready to have an interview? I’m not talking about general preparation, I’m talking about those aspects that can affect your concentration / distraction. Start by doing a self-checking from the physiological needs (don’t delay meals, go to the bathroom, etc.) In other words, don’t trust the fact that you’re at home, even if it is virtual, it is still a job interview and interference anticipation contributes to you being 100% focused. Also, a glass of water nearby can help a lot if you get dry mouth. Also, remember to turn off / mute mobile devices, during the interview it isn’t time to receive notifications. Finally, a notepad and handy pen can be useful if you need to write down important information for the next steps.
Let’s start with clothing: neither pajamas nor gala, the recommended style is Business Casual, which involves casual clothing adapted to the work context. Professional image doesn’t go out of style. Looking professional is never a risk and dressing correctly is essential in an interview, regardless of the interviewer’s view or modality (virtual or face-to-face). Therefore, a Business Casual style is recommended for virtual interviews. What does this mean? Casual clothing adapted to the workplace. Other details to take into account: your clothing contrasts with the background, taking care of the informality of being at home, omitting noisy accessories, and above all dressing from the waist down … yes. If an unforeseen event arises and your clothing is exposed, it’s better to be prepared to avoid an uncomfortable moment.
I dare say that we usually have peace of mind when we are with the computer, but we say we have a video call … and the track explodes! Location is super important for two reasons. First: chose a neutral space in your house, quiet, with few distractions, where you feel comfortable. A smooth or neutral background is ideal, tidy, against light, with adequate lighting, front camera, for greater visualization of your face and gestures; and above all free of noise, that is why it’s important you warn at home you will have an interview. Second, with video calls we are opening the privacy home doors, therefore, being responsible with our environment is important, since we are taking care of people privacy who live with us.
Finally, there will be things you need to have in advance. I recommend three: Search information about the company, on the web or social networks, review the history and philosophy of the company. It’s not a minor detail to know if we share the values of the place where we intend to work. At the same time a contact phone / Mail, in case of mishaps or changes. Your prepared profile, that is, the CV at hand as well as a list of questions for interviewers. Counting on this you won’t forget what you want to say or know. Regarding the application, it is essential to know: What position did I apply for? And who interviews me? Don’t lose points for having no idea what’s happening on the other side of the phone.
You snooze, you lose.
The applicant will demonstrate their technological skills during the virtual interview … remember everything you wrote in your CV about your computer skills, well, it’s show time. Good practices regarding: DEVICE: PC or cell phone? Let’s see, we start from the basis you will use what you have and is most practical, but using the computer is recommended since the screen is larger and you’ll have better quality sound. Whatever the option, position the equipment at torso height so as not bending over the camera. Check the battery is charged and just in case have the power cord handy / connected. MICROPHONE: Do microphone tests before; better use headphones so sound is cleaner, since the microphone of the pc takes the audio from the environment. CAMERA: check the On / Off function, set the image quality by adjusting the height of the camera. Maintain an optimal distance that allows you to see your hands, gestures and face. Remember to look at the camera instead of looking at your image on the screen.
How is my internet connection? In order to have a better experience during the virtual interview, I suggest (in case you have) you shut down programs or app demanding bandwidth such as Netflix, YouTube, etc. Maybe nothing happens, but just in case … I also recommend disabling automatic installations of your operating system. To measure the speed of your Internet connection visit: Speed Test.
Knowing the app they will use for the interview is key, don’t wait for the interview day to download the app and see how it’s used. Lean on some basic tutorial focusing on: Setting up your profile, name, photo, notifications, sounds, etc; update the version, this prevents security risks and a fast operation of the tool.
📌 In Uruguay 2020, these are the popular apps:
#Zoom is virtual meeting and video call software, accessible from desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets.
#FaceTime is a video phone appl for iPhone, iPad, Mac and iPod touch.
#WhatsApp is an instant messaging app for smartphones, in which messages are sent and received via Internet, as well as images, videos, audios, audio recordings (voice memos), documents, locations, contacts, gifs, as well as calls and video calls with up to several people at the same time, among other functions.
#Skype is a Microsoft software, which allows text, voice and video communications over the Internet
#Meet is a video communication service developed by Google. Together with Google Chat they became the new version of Google Hangouts.
Microsoft #Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform that combines persistent workplace chat , video meetings, file storage (including file collaboration), is the evolution and upgrade of Microsoft Skype for Business.
📌 Other Apps: VideoLink2, Blue Jeans, Join.Me, Mash.Me, Mikogo, Meeting Burner, Paltalk, Tox, Webex, Jitsi, GoToMeeting.
If you read this entire article I have to say: thanks!, and remember being prepared will never be a risk, on the contrary … it will be helpful to show your best version.
Complete webinar (Spanish language, no subtitles), materials and reviewed sources for the article available here